Introduction

Periodically, MD Inspect Plus will send out an email newsletter.

Topics will vary from maintenance tasks you should perform around your house, details about different systems/components in your house and services offered by MD Inspect Plus. Not all topics will apply to everybody; however, if there is a topic you would like to see in the future, send us an email. The next Newsletter will talk about Attic Ventilation as it is a very complicated thing to get right and more is not always better.

The Quebec building inspection industry is being flooded with alot of new inspectors who are looking to get into the industry and make a quick buck. In all of Canada except British Columbia, anybody can print a business card and call themselves a building inspector (Saskatchewan and Ontario are looking at new regulations). With no training, no insurance and no standards of practice to follow, you never know what you are going to get for an inspection. In a real estate transaction involving real estate agents, surveyor, mortgage brokers, inspector and a notary, the inspection step is the only unregulated industry which hopefully in Quebec will change shortly.

My business is based on referrals, so if you have a friend, family member or co-worker thinking about buying a house, please pass along my information.

Sincerely,

Dan Janidlo PHPI, NCH
MD Inspect Plus Inc.
48 Valois Bay
Pointe-Claire, Quebec H9R 4B3
514-318-8067


Every house has it

RADON - the new buzz word in the Quebec real estate market. In some states in the US, a radon test is mandatory when you sell your house. In Quebec, there are only some very specific areas (Oka, St-Hilaire,) that radon is a known problem but radon is everywhere.
Radon is a radioactive gas that is colorless, odorless and tasteless. It is formed by the breakdown of uranium, a natural radioactive material found in soil, rock and groundwater. The only known health risk associated with exposure to radon is an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Full document available on the CMHC website.

In 2007, Canada lowered the acceptable level to 200 Bq/m3 (from 800) which more closely match the US and international standard (different countries range from 100 to 400 Mq/m3 so Canada went in the middle). The US use a different measurement system of 4 pCi/L (1 pCi/L = 37 Bq/m3) so the US value converted into Canadian values would be 148 Bq/m3. If you do research on the web, don't get confused about seeing some documents referring to 4 and others to 200.

In the US, the EPA have a map of the states with each areas categorized by the average radon level in that area - long story on why Canada doesn't have a map but the biggest reason is that radon hasn't been flagged as a problem yet so there isn't enough data to produce a good map (now that the level has been lowered from 800 to 200, it's going to become more of an issue). The problem with a map is that one house can be fine and a few doors down the street the level can be through the roof.

At the most recent Canadian inspector's conference (yes we have conferences), CMHC (and Health Canada) is recommending that people do a minimum 3 month test since the portable machines and short 48hr tests only give you a snapshot and not a overall value. Ideally, a 3 month test should be done yearly (but nobody does that) since there are lots of things that can change a reading in your house - earthquake (even the small ones we sometimes get in Quebec), new crack in your foundation, installing new windows, changing your roof, sealing leaking joints, etc...). The reason some home improvements can change your result is say you install new windows and you seal all the gaps around your windows, now all of the radon (and your heat) that was escaping around the windows can't anymore so it remains in your house.

If the 3 month test comes back with high results, then there are steps that can be taken to try to fix the problem and another test should be done. Simple things like sealing joints between the concrete floor and walls, sealing around sump pumps, installing better ventilation can help lower levels to safe levels. An extreme case is to remove your concrete floor in the basement to install a proper vapour barrier with a venting system. The short test should be done between September and April when houses are closed up more.

Every house has radon - a newly renovated home with a finished basement has been running tests for about the last year and it has readings of 70 to 84 Bq/m3 and it has proper vapour barrier under the concrete slab, the basement walls are finished to current code requirements and the house is well ventilated with a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) that runs 24hrs a day.
If you want to know more about Radon, don't hesitate to contact MD Inspect Plus.


SAFETY RECALLS - Incredible what's recalled?

In December 2010, MD Inspect Plus signed up for a email notification for recalls from the Canadian Government and over the last few month some unexpected recalls have occurred on items from reputable retailers (not just dollar store items).

Heath Canada maintains a database of all recalls and you can sign up to receive an email when a new recall is released. Go to Health Canada - Consumer Product Safety website to sign up. The emails contain only a brief description of the recall with a link to the full details so they don't take long to read.

You will be amazed at the things you will see on the list. Some of the most interesting recalls will be posted on the MD Inspect Plus' website.

Some of the more interesting recalls:

What's this?

What do you see in this picture?  Try to identify what you see. 
Hint:  Good electricians use them.


2011_02­_whatisthis