Home Inspection Articles

Mind Your A's and Q's? Air Quality Inspections Explained

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Jun 12, 2013 2:41:00 PM

June Newsletter


June is finally upon us - it's time to break out the sunscreen, barbeque tongs, lounge chairs, and...tissues? Unfortunately, sunshine brings allergens and this summer is being projected as one of the worst for pollen we've seen in a long time. As many people experience the joys of itchy eyes, runny noses, and sneezing fits, we thought it prudent to talk about the allergens present in your home. Over 64% of the 22 individuals we surveyed last month admitted they were concerned about the air quality in their home.

Air quality is an issue that encompasses many areas, so we reached out to our newest Specialty Service partner, LEAP Management Inc, to discuss air quality issues and how they are assessed. We spoke directly with inspector Lilja Palsson, B.Sc., Dip., Eng., CRSP. Lilja has a degree in Microbiology from the University of Waterloo, a post-degree diploma in Environmental Engineering Technology from Conestoga College, a certificate in Occupational Health and Safety from Ryerson, and she is also a Canadian Registered Safety Professional. 

Carson Dunlop: How does an air quality assessment work; what happens during this type of assessment?
Lilja Palsson:
"Air quality is a very broad term. When doing this type of assessment, I first talk to the client about their concerns. Are they experiencing allergic symptoms such as headache, sore throat, or respiratory distress? Is there an odor? After discussing what issues they're experiencing, I decide what kind of parameters I would like to sample for - perhaps air sampling and assessment for mold; or maybe a more sophisticated sampling device to determine the source of an odor. I'll run a few air samples and do a visual inspection to see if there are any issues that caught my eye (staining, spray foam, etc.)."

CD: What is the most common misconception homeowners have in relation to air quality?
"Homeowners tend to think that events such as flooding, sewer backup, installing spray foam, renovations, etc. will not affect the indoor air quality of their home. They often do not associate any illness or symptoms they are experiencing as being related to those events. The correlation between air quality and homeownerships and maintenance issues tends to go unnoticed."

CD: What is the weirdest thing you've encountered during an air quality inspection?
LP: "I did find gold in someone's attic while sampling vermiculite. A previous owner of the home had stashed an old cookie tin full of tacky gold jewelry that I found while taking samples in the attic. I brought the tin down for the owner and we looked at it. I think it was from the 1940s or so. She had the jewelry appraised - she didn't tell me the exact amount but she called to thank me and said that I paid for myself and more!"

CD: What simple, preventative maintenance can homeowners undertake to help preserve their air quality?
"In terms of preventative maintenance I would say always monitor your home for potential leaks, floods and other water issues. Replace your roof before it leaks; clean your gutters regularly; caulk your windows and replace them before they leak; make sure your basement is waterproofed before you finish it; use your washroom fan; make sure your bathtub is well-caulked; keep your home well-ventilated in the summer and sealed with the furnace running in the winter; if you add insulation to your attic, add ventilation as well - I really could go on, but I know this is an article, not a novel."

As a Home Inspection company our aim is to keep homeowners safe, warm and dry. Much like Lilja, we believe in the importance of home maintenance as it pertains to keeping families comfortable and secure in their homes. Carson Dunlop's Home Reference Book outlines many strategies for helping homeowners maintain their properties. To learn more about how this text can help you, please click here.

In addition, our Specialty Services program provides our clients and real estate partners with fast, easy and cost-effective access to qualified specialists, like LEAP Management Inc, all with a single call. To learn more, please click here or call 1-800-268-7070 to schedule an air quality assessment. 

Topics: Home Reference Book, Air Quality, Home Inspection, Monthly Newsletters, Specialty Services, Homeowner Tips

Getting Your Ducts in a Row: The Truth Behind Duct Cleaning

Posted by Thea Scrimger on May 16, 2013 11:58:00 AM


Homeowner Poll

With spring now in full swing, your "To Do" list might be getting a little long and you may be wondering if every maintenance item is necessary - is there anything you can skip?

Telemarketers may be intent on selling it, but do you really have to worry about your air ducts? We reached out to our Homeowners Association partner, AtlasCare, to research the reality of air duct maintenance and how to ensure they receive the care they need.

In a typical six-room home, up to 40 pounds of dust are created annually. When not properly maintained, the air ducts in your home can harbor all kinds of allergens, including cobwebs, dust, mold, fungus, and chemical pollutants.

Air ducts are the lungs of your home. Their purpose is to circulate fresh, clean air for you to breathe. There are all kinds of circumstances and contributors adding to or creating dirty air ducts. These can include:

  • Animals in your home that shed hair, fur and dander.
  • Construction in your neighborhood. Dirt and dust travel - if your windows are open you are inviting them inside.
  • Indoor renovations.
  • Excess moisture in the air which can lead to mold build up in some duct systems.

Dirty air ducts can also affect your energy bills. They cause your furnace and air conditioners to work overtime. This can result in increased maintenance and reduced performance for both of these systems. The strain dirty ducts put on these systems can also contribute to overly high hydro and gas bills.

We encourage cleaning your air ducts upon moving into a home, or if you have just completed a major renovation or remodeling project. Homes with family members who have allergies or asthma may be particularly sensitive to air quality issues, and duct cleaning on a more regular basis may be appropriate. Homes with smokers or pets that shed hair and dander may need more frequent duct work as well.

This simple maintenance will help ensure the longevity of these systems and the health and cleanliness of your home. if you are not sure of what to look for in a service provider, consider the following:

  • Is the company able to show proof of NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Association) membership and certification?
  • Is the contractor willing to conduct a thorough inspection of the heating and cooling system prior to performing any work?
  • Does the contractor agree to disclose any problems discovered during the inspection - NADCA's Assessment, Cleaning and Restoration Standard requires this.
  • Is the heating or cooling system fully operational before cleaning?
  • Will/did the contractor clean the supply duct work?
  • Will/did the contractor clean the return air duct work?

At Carson Dunlop we believe that a great Home Inspection is just the beginning, which is why we created the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association. This not-for-profit program provides our clients and real estate partners with fast, easy and cost-effective access to group discounts, benefits, and warranties to help protect their investment. To learn more about the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association, please click here.

Association partner AtlasCare provides Carson Dunlop clients and real estate agents with exclusive discounts on new installations, heating and cooling services and duct cleaning. AtlasCare is currently offering Homeowners Association members $80 off precision duct cleaning, with Benefect disinfectant and fungicide at no additional charge (a $49.95 value). To learn more please click here or call 1-800-268-7070.


Topics: Home Inspection, Monthly Newsletters, Carson Dunlop, Homeowner Tips

Pools: Keeping Everyone Safe, Happy and Swimming this Summer

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Apr 19, 2013 11:01:00 AM



Although it may be hard to imagine, warmer weather is coming - and soon. As the temperature rises, the benefits of having a pool seem to increase as well. Coincidence? We think not.

Pools can add a great deal to your home life. They provide many inviting opportunities: late night dips, diving competitions, luxurious lounging potential, and a great way to beat the heat. However, many fear the costs and headaches associated with owning a pool. This raises the question: "What should you consider when you're buying or owning a home with a pool?"

 We reached out to pool expert and Specialty Services partner, Lenni Walton, President of Premier Pool Group for some helpful information on pool inspections and maintenance.

Enjoy our interview with Lenni below to learn more about pools and how to inspect and maintain them.

Carson Dunlop (CD): How is a pool inspection performed?
Lenni Walton (LW): "We start with a quick visual assessment of the surroundings, including gates, fences and possible hazards. We check to make sure locks comply with local rules and are functioning properly. We then take inventory of the pool equipment and accessories, model and serial numbers recording the item's age. We also look for leaks, previous repairs, and any hazards that need to be addressed." 

CD: What common issues do you encounter?
LW: "We typically see issues related to the age and condition of the pool equipment. Too many chemicals in the water will shorten the life of the pool and its equipment. We see all kinds of leaks as well - did you know the most common shape for a leak in a pool liner is a crescent? Finger and toe nails can be ruthless. 

We also come across safety issues such as trip hazards posed by cracked and raised concrete, wall vacuums that do not have covers on them, and main drain cover plates that have loose screws or damaged surfaces."   

CD: What common mistakes do homeowners make?
LW: "Homeowners will sometimes take on repairs themselves, or try to cut costs by opening and closing the pool on their own, without the training or tools to complete the job safely and securely. Minor repairs done improperly can cause major floods, electrical problems, or gas issues. If you're purchasing a home with a pool, talk to the sellers to ensure they have been working with a professional."

CD: What can homeowners do to keep their pool operating smoothly? 
LW: "Have a professional check your pool at least once a month. Most pool companies perform weekly maintenance which includes testing the water and cleaning the pool. They can also help with chemical delivery and opening and closing. When it comes to pool care it is wise to work with a professional."


At Carson Dunlop we believe that knowledge is the best tool when it comes to protecting one of the biggest investments of your life - your home. Our Specialty Services program provides our clients and real estate partners with fast, easy and cost-effective access to qualified specialists, like Premier Pool Group, all with a single call. To learn more about the Carson Dunlop Specialty Services program, please click here, or call 800.268.7070 to schedule a pool inspection.

Topics: Home Inspection, Monthly Newsletters, Homeowners Association, Carson Dunlop, Homeowner Tips, Newsletter

Protecting Your Home Against Termites

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Mar 18, 2013 4:15:00 PM
Untitled 1Spring's arrival brings a smile to most, but warmer weather can also bring homeowner concerns in the form of unwanted guests. With the start of the spring housing market, we reached out to our Specialty Services partner, Orkin Canada, to help educate clients about termites and why it is necessary to be aware of these damaging insects.

One of the major things termites require to thrive is warm temperatures. As the temperature rises, it is important to recognize the conditions conducive to termite infestation and how you can protect your property. Dan Dawson, National Marketing Manager at Orkin Canada explains the magnitude of the threat posed by termites: "Subterranean termites typically cause the most structural damage and are most prevalent in the southern coastal areas, the dry climate of the Okanagan areas of British Columbia, southern Ontario, southern Quebec, and the Maritime provinces."

Enjoy our interview with Dan below to learn more about termites and how to protect your home.

Carson Dunlop (CD): What are the most common neighborhoods for termites in the Greater Toronto Area?
Dan Dawson (DD): "Termites can be found throughout the GTA. Though each species of termite thrives in different climates and eats different types of food, all termites require four things to survive:

  1. Food
  2. Moisture
  3. Shelter
  4. Optimal Temperatures

These conditions can be found in all buildings, regardless of their construction type. However, older homes typically face increased termite threats as wood rot is more common in them."



CD: What simple steps can homeowners take to prevent termite infestation?
DD: "Known as the 'silent destroyer', termites can be very difficult to detect. Like other pests, the best way to prevent a termite infestation is to reduce access to food and water sources. For termites, this means eliminating moisture and removing wood sources, including wood piles and mulch close to the home. Rotted wood is by far the most common way for termites to gain entry into the home. The soft, pulpy material gives termites easy access to both food and moisture. Tips to keep in mind include: 

  • Remove all wood debris in contact with the soil, and store any firewood away from the house and off the ground
  • Fix any leaks in pipes and drains. Damp wood creates ideal conditions for a healthy, large and robust termite colony
  • Make sure the soil around the structure is sloped away from the home and drainage from the roof doesn't collect near the property
  • Dense vegetation should never grow against siding or the foundation of a home
  • High humidity in the crawl space can lead to termite problems. Insulate or put down a moisture barrier to help reduce humidity and condensation 
  • Replace mulch that is close to the home with gravel. If mulch is used around the home, make certain to keep the mulch layer as shallow as possible. Thick mulch beds create soil moisture conditions that encourage termite activity

It is highly recommended to schedule an annual inspection with a licensed pest control provider to ensure that termites don't invade your home."   

CD: What are some signs that you might have termites in your home?
DD: "Termites are very hard to detect compared to other common pests. With the exception of annual swarms, when reproductive termites move to start to new colonies, they live entirely out of sight, chewing their way silently through the home's infrastructure. However, there are some signs of termite presence that can be found in and around the home, including:

  • Hollow-sounding wood: If wood sounds hollow when tapped, it may be because termites are eating the wood from the inside out.
  • "Swarmers" (a group of winged insects) or discarded wings: Reproductive termites called swarmers take flight to create new colonies. Subterranean termites typically swarm in the spring. A swarm of insects or groups of discarded wings is typically a sign of termite presence.
  • Mud tubes on walls: Termites construct mud tubes to travel between their home in the soil and the wood that they feed on. These tubes also provide moisture while they search for food.
  • Frass: Termites produce wood-colored droppings as they eat their way through wood rot. This is another sign of their presence." 



CD: What is the average cost and process for a termite extermination? 
DD: "Termites can cause the most structural damage of any insect and, based on the extent of damage, remediation costs can run well into the thousands of dollars. Once termites find their way into a structure, they can be very difficult to control, so preventative steps and measures are recommended. Treatment methods vary based on the species of termite, size of infestation, and other factors. The required chemicals for termite treatment are not for sale to the public and must be used under strictly controlled conditions. Your licensed pest management professional can set up the best corrective steps if you have a termite infestation."

As a professional Home Inspection consulting company, our aim is to help homeowners stay safe, warm and dry. We believe that knowledge is the best tool when it comes to protecting one of the biggest investments of your life - your home. Our recently launched Specialty Services program helps us to provide our clients and real estate partners with fast, easy and cost-effective access to qualified specialists, like Orkin Canada, all with a single call. To learn more about the Carson Dunlop Specialty Services program, please click here or call 800.268.7070.

Topics: Monthly Newsletters, Homeowners Association, Carson Dunlop, Homeowner Tips, Pest Control

Trees: A Thing of Beauty or a Liability?

Posted by Kaitlyn Yantzi on Feb 19, 2013 1:24:00 PM


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For many, especially those living in urban areas where green space is limited, having a tree in the front yard is considered a benefit - a luxury even. They provide shade in the summer and picturesque foliage in the fall. The only downside homeowners typically associate with trees is the amount of raking their leaves require. Few consider the damaging effect trees, more specifically their roots, can have on their property. As Greg Leger of Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drains Service explains, "When we receive a call regarding a 'clogged' or 'blocked' drain line, the problem is usually caused by tree roots."



Learn more about the primary cause of drainage issues in homes, and what preventative steps homeowners can take, from our Specialty Services and Homeowners Association partner: Roto-Rooter. 

Carson Dunlop (CD): What is the most common problem your technicians encounter? 

Roto-Rooter (RR): "Tree roots are the most common problem. If a drain line is found to be collapsed, often times it is due to roots having constricted and subsequently busted the drain line. Blockages of paper often get caught on very fine roots that have grown through a small opening or a shift in the drain pipes and create a back-up."

CD: What are warning signs homeowners can look for that indicate blocked pipes? 

RR: "Some signs of blocked pipes may include but aren't limited to:

  • Basement fixtures (for example toilets, showers, laundry tubs, etc.) taking a long time to drain
  • Musty smells coming from the floor drains
  • Small pools or puddles of water around floor drains
  • Sewage or storm water in the basement
  • Roots actually coming up from the floor drain - this is more common than many might think"

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CD: What is the average cost to fix a tree root induced draining issue; is it less expensive if caught early?

RR: "If caught early enough, snaking will usually still be a viable option. In many cases, roots are not too invasive - snaking the drain line annually can help ensure it remains clear of obstructions, until the point where the roots become thicker and end up collapsing the drain. With tree roots it is always the same end result: the roots will get in and the drain line will need to be repaired. Snaking and camera inspections are typically a few hundred dollars. More in-depth remediation tactics, such as excavation, can be upwards of several thousand dollars."

CD: Who has to pay for remediation - When is it the homeowner's responsibility compared with the municipality's responsibility?

RR: "Every neighborhood and city is different. It's important to know what applies in your area. In the city of Toronto, the homeowner is responsible for all of their underground drains from the inside of their home to the city property line; look for the water shut-off, this usually offers a guide as to where the property line is. However, in Durham region, three feet past the most outward portion of the home is the city's responsibility. In Barrie, the homeowner is responsible for the entire drain line from inside their home all the way to the city connection, which is commonly found in the center of the road. Not only that, the homeowner is also responsible for the backfilling, compaction and repaving of the city roadway."

As a professional Home Inspection consulting company, our aim is to help homeowners stay safe, warm and dry. Our Specialty Services complement our Home Inspections, targeting potential areas of concern which fall outside the scope of a regular Home Inspection. This new program allows us to provide our clients and real estate partners with fast, easy and cost-effective access to qualified specialists, like Roto-Rooter, all with a single call. 

In addition, the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association partners with companies like Roto-Rooter to help provide homeowners with the knowledge and the tools to protect their properties. As Homeowners Association members, Carson Dunlop clients receive a $50 discount towards plumbing, drain, sewer and water proofing services. To learn more about this partner, please click here. To learn more about the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association, please click here



February Poll


Last month, 23 homeowners told us what they felt was the most common material for residential piping. The majority were correct: copper is the most common material for residential supply piping. Here are their responses:

507[1]Congratulations to last month's winner: Michael Schmidt.


Carson Dunlop has recently launched a Specialty Services program. This program aims to facilitate requests or concerns which fall outside the scope of a regular Home Inspection. Now our clients are able to seamlessly book a Specialty Service with ease and save themselves the headache of trying to find a qualified provider.

The program is launching with the following services:

  • Asbestos Assessments

  • Indoor Air Quality Assessments

  • Mold Inspections

  • Pool Inspections

  • Septic Tank Evaluations

  • Sewer Camera Inspections

  • Water Quality Evaluations

  • Termite Inspections

  • Wood Energy Transfer Technology (WETT) Inspections

To learn more about our Speciality Services program, please click here or call 800.268.7070.


Topics: Home Inspection, Monthly Newsletters, Homeowners Association, Carson Dunlop, Specialty Services, Homeowner Tips

Protecting Your Home While You're Away This Season

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Jan 14, 2013 12:40:00 PM


Cold winters often prompt many to head for sunshine, sandy beaches, and warmer climates. In the excitement of exotic locales and getaways, finding your bathing suit and making sure to pack your sunscreen typically takes priority over residential maintenance issues. However, these areas are important. If you're planning on travelling this season, Carson Dunlop has developed a list of the top six items to focus on to help keep your home safe and secure while you're away.

1. Turn Down Your Water Heater: Changing the setting on your water heater while you're out of town can help reduce overall costs and energy consumption. New models usually come equipped with a "vacation setting" to help easily facilitate this maintenance tip. If your unit does not have this feature, simply adjust the unit to its lowest setting to achieve the same results. We encourage homeowners to avoid completely turning it off completely as restarting it when you return may require a technician - a bit of a headache, especially when you're jetlagged.

2. Lower Your Furnace Temperature: Having your furnace on, but at a low setting, will keep temperatures in the home consistent while saving money and energy. We recommend keeping it above 15 degrees Celsius or 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It's important to ensure that your furnace remains on to prevent freezing water, burst pipes and flooding.

3. Close Your Main Water Shut-Off Valve: While this may seem very conservative, shutting of the water prevents serious flooding if your furnace breaks down and the water in your pipes freezes. The main shut-off valve controls all the house water and is typically readily accessible near the front of the basement. Since this valve is not used regularly, it may be stiff and in some cases will drip when it is closed. Don't leave this task to the last minute in case you need a minor repair.

January Poll
Last month, 27 homeowners told us what setting they felt they should leave their furnace at while they're out of town. Here are their responses:


4. Add Water to Your Basement Floor Drain: The floor drain includes a trap to prevent sewer gases from backing up into your home. When plumbing systems aren't being used over an extended period of time, the water in the trap evaporates, resulting in unpleasant and unhealthy sewer gases entering the home. We recommend pouring water down the drain to fill the trap before going on vacation to ensure that the trap water doesn't evaporate while you're away.

5. Close Dampers on Wood Fireplaces and Stoves: A damper is a flap that allows smoke from a fireplace or wood stove to go up the chimney. While the damper has to be open when there is a fire burning, we recommend closing the damper while you are away to reduce heat loss and prevent pests from getting into your home.

6. Secure Your Home: Ensure your doors, windows and any other access points are locked. Cancel your newspaper and have your mail picked up by a friend or neighbor. Setting lights on timers makes it look like the home is occupied. 

As a professional Home Inspection consulting company, our aim is to help homeowners stay safe, warm and dry. For more tips, advice and information, visit our resource center

Topics: Home Inspection, Monthly Newsletters, Carson Dunlop, Homeowner Tips

Keep Unwanted Pests Out of Your Home

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Jan 7, 2013 11:28:00 AM

At Carson Dunlop, we reached out to one of our Homeowners Association Partners, Orkin Canada, to help provide homeowners with more information and guidance on keeping their homes rodent-free this season. As Dan Dawson, National Marketing Manager at Orkin Canada explains, "Rodents like rats and mice look for warmth and shelter during the winter because they are warm-blooded animals, making them notorious home invaders during the colder months."

>> Carson Dunlop: How might rodents enter a home?

Dan Dawson: "The smallest openings, cracks and crevices in your home can serves as rodent entry points. Rats can fit through holes the size of a quarter, and mice only need a hole the size of a pencil. Common places they might find these access points include cracks and crevices in your foundation and around doors and windows."

>>CD: What preventative steps can homeowners take?

DD: "There are several steps you can take to help prevent rodents from accessing your home:

  1. Check the interior and exterior of your home for entry points, and seal any unnecessary openings with weather-resistant sealant enforced with steel or copper wool so rodents cannot gnaw through.
  2. Make sure doors or windows are flush against their frames and the floor, and use weather stripping to fill in any gaps.
  3. Trim landscaping away from your home, as shrubbery can provide harbourage for rodents.
  4. Store food in tightly sealed containers, preferably made of tin or plastic, and clean up food and water spills immediately.
  5. Vacuum, sweep and mop regularly to eliminate food and water sources that might attract rodents.
  6. Keep trash cans tightly sealed and dispose of trash regularly."

>>CD: How can you tell if there are rodents in your home?

DD:"If you suspect you might have rodents in your home, look for the following signs:

  1. Droppings - Mouse droppings are about the size of a grain of rice and rat droppings are about the size of a raisin.
  2. Gnaw marks - Rats and mice gnaw even when they're full, so look out for places in your home that appear to be chewed or gnawed, particularly around cracks and crevices.
  3. Rub markings - Rodents feel protected when they crawl along baseboards or around pipe openings."

Unwanted Guest?

>>CD: What can you do if you have rodents in your home?

DD: "If you find yourself with a mouse or rat issue, do not come into contact with the rodents and the diseases they may be carrying. Instead, contact a pest management provider immediately - they will help you to resolve the issue and set up a proactive program to keep these pests at bay year-round."

As a professional Home Inspection consulting company, our aim is to help homeowners stay safe, warm and dry. The Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association partners with companies like Orkin Canada, to help provide homeowners with the knowledge and the tools to protect their properties. As Homeowners Association members, Carson Dunlop clients receive 20% off when booking a pest control inspection with Orkin Canada. To learn more about this partner, click here. For more tips, advice and information, visit our resource center.  

December Poll

Last month, 38 homeowners told us what sized entry point mice need to get into a home. Here are their responses:





























Topics: Home Inspection, Monthly Newsletters, Homeowners Association, Specialty Services, Homeowner Tips, Pest Control

Winterizing Your Home Can Help Avoid Cold Weather Woes

Posted by Kaitlyn Yantzi on Nov 16, 2012 11:01:00 AM
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 One of the great joys of living in Canada is the change of seasons. Autumn's colours and crispness will soon give way to winter's first snowfall. While people react differently to seasonal changes, all homes react much the same way: climate change is hard on homes and the freeze/thaw cycles can cause damage.

At Carson Dunlop we believe prevention is the key to a safe and comfortable season. Here are our areas of focus and suggestions to get you through the winter months:

>>  Roof - We are big believers in annual roof tune-ups, and fallis the perfect time for your roofer to address any small issues before they become big ones. The roof suffers the brunt of winter weather abuse. Correcting damaged shingles, loose flashings and torn valleys can prevent water damage from leaks and avoid expensive repairs. Tree limbs overhanging and touching the roof should be cut back, and missing mortar or loose bricks on chimneys should be repaired.

>>  Eavestroughs - We can't overstate the importance of having free-flowing, leak-free gutters and downspouts to get roof water away from the house and keep it out of the basement. If eavestroughs can't control the rain or melting snow, or if downspouts don't carry water at least six feet away from the home, the ground next to your home will get soaked. Saturated ground usually means a leaky basement. Poor grading is another common and easily-corrected cause of basement leakage. For more information on how to address this issue, check out our article on How Proper Grading Can Prevent Water Damage.

>>  Catch Basins - Make sure any catch basins in your driveway, garage and yard are clear. It's also a great idea to clear any storm grates in the street in front of your house so all that rain and melting snow can get into the storm sewers.

>>  Windows, Doors and Walls - Check your windows and doors for any wood in need of paint, and any joints that need re-caulking. The corners of sills are a common weak point. Check the caulking at pipes, vents and other wall penetrations as part of regular maintenance.

>>  Furnace - Taking care of your furnace is very important, especially in the winter. We recommend annual service plans for heating and cooling systems. If you haven't yet, schedule a heating system maintenance call, even if your system is relatively new. For more information on easy steps you can take to extend the life of your furnace, check out our article on Furnace Maintenance. 

November Poll

Last month 30 homeowners told us what area of the home they believed suffered the brunt of winter weather abuse. Here are their responses:

October Graph

The Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association

At Carson Dunlop we want to provide homeowners with the knowledge and the tools to protect their properties, which is why we created the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association. This not-for-profit program gives clients access to discounts on a variety of products and services. Association partners like Canadian Tire help members maintain and upgrade their homes. Canadian Tire Home Services is pleased to offer Carson Dunlop customers a 5% Canadian Tire 'Money' On The Card bonus when using their Canadian Tire Options MasterCard for the purchase of any heating and/or cooling system from Canadian Tire Home Services. To learn more visit canadiantire.ca/homeservices. Attractive financing options available. 
For more information on the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association and its partners click here or call 800.268.7070. 

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Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association

Canadian Tire
The Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association saves you time & money through our strategic partners, like Canadian Tire. Click here for more information.

Horizon Home Protection Plan

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Avoid the high costs of breakdowns with the Horizon Home Protection Plan. Click here to learn more.











Topics: Homeowners, Monthly Newsletters, Homeowners Association, Carson Dunlop, Homeowner Tips, Newsletter


Posted by Kaitlyn Yantzi on Sep 28, 2012 9:41:00 AM

Simple Furnace Maintenance: Changing Your Filter Will  Save You Money & Energy

For many homeowners, the old adage "if it's not broken, don't fix it" has become "if it's not broken, don't think about it." At Carson Dunlop, we understand why most homeowners have taken this approach, since it seems everyone is busier than ever before. As leaders within the Home Inspection field, we are encouraging homeowners to take the odd five minute break to think about their home since it can save you a lot time, money and frustration.  

 The furnace is one of the most neglected items in a home, until it breaks. Most homeowners are unaware that changing their furnace filter can save them money and improve the comfort of your own home. 

Setting aside a few minutes each month to check your furnace filter will provide you with the following benefits: 

  >>  Help to reduce heating and cooling costs

  >>  Improve the comfort of your home

  >>  Protect the heating and cooling equipment 

Let's adopt a new mantra when it comes to furnaces: "if it isn't broke, it's because I maintain it." This quick step once a month will allow for a better and more energy efficient lifespan for this system. 

We've listed a few considerations below to help with this process:

How often should I check my furnace filter? On a monthly basis to determine whether or not it needs changing or cleaning.  

Where is my furnace filter located? The filter is typically located in the fresh air return which can be placed on either side of the furnace.

What type of furnace filter should I purchase? The first thing you will need to determine is whether or not you should purchase a cleanable or a disposable filter. Most homeowners select disposable given how busy they are, but either one is an excellent choice. 

How much does a furnace filter cost? Furnace filters can range from $5 to $30 depending on the type of filter you select. Visit a local Canadian Tire or other home improvement store to see their vast selection. 
Helpful Tip: Write down the size of your existing furnace filter before going to purchase a new one.  

September Poll

A lot of homeowners are already on the right track when it comes to their furnaces - last August 83 homeowners admitted:

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Horizon Home Warranty: Added Protection

In 2011 Carson Dunlop launched the Horizon Home Warranty. The bridge between a Home Inspection and home insurance, this warranty aims to further support Carson Dunlop clients in making informed decisions in regards to their properties. 

The Horizon Home Warranty is cost effective, flexible and helps protect against sudden breakdowns or mechanical failures. Qualified service professionals are a simple phone call away to give you the added protection you deserve. For more information, click here or call 800.268.7070. 


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Topics: Monthly Newsletters, Carson Dunlop

Carson Dunlop Newsletter

Posted by Kaitlyn Yantzi on Sep 26, 2012 11:13:00 AM


90% of Homes Will Leak at Some Point:  

Help Reduce the Frequency and Severity of Water Entry into Your Home

While April showers bring May flowers, North America sees a lot of rain in August. High humidity and temperatures often cause heavy rainfall, storms, and flash flooding. Many homeowners are blinded by the sunny skies of June and July, and don't realize that this weather can translate to basement dampness and water damage.

Minimizing water leakage and maintaining mitigation strategies are tasks that require focus year round. Homeowners need to take steps to reduce the chances of water entering their basements, even when the weather might indicate otherwise. There are four key areas of the home to consider in order to reduce the frequency and severity of water damage: 

Grading - Ensure all grading is directed away from the perimeter of the house and foundation.

Gutters - Ensure all gutters and downspouts are in good condition to allow rain water from roofs to channel at least six feet away from the house.    

Roof - Ensure all roof surfaces don't allow water penetration into the house (focus on damaged or missing shingles, loose or missing roof flashings).   

Window Wells - Ensure they are in good condition as they are a common source of basement water leakage. 

Statistics suggest that 90% of homes endure some form of water leakage. Actively taking preventative measures, rain or shine, will help keep you high and dry.

As a professional Home Inspection consulting company, our aim is to help homeowners become more informed, safe and secure when it comes to their property. A Home Inspection itself is not a life-long guarantee; it is an investigation of a home during a specific point in time. It is not a shield to protect your home forever, but more like the tools to build one. For more tools, knowledge and advice visit our resource centre.  



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Topics: Monthly Newsletters, Carson Dunlop