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About The House

Hugh Cairns: Attic frost

Dec 15, 2014 / 5:00 am

Q. How much attic frost is too much? A. After sticking my head into hundreds of attics every year, I can tell you that seeing some frost low on the underside of the roof sheathing in the dead of winter is nothing to be immediately concerned about. In fact, most people don’t even know...

Hugh Cairns: Mouse!

Dec 1, 2014 / 5:00 am

When I’m out inspecting it’s not uncommon to find evidence of rodents. Evidence can be found year round, but just like us humans, in the winter, rodents want to be safe, warm and dry. Rats and mice search out shelter and invade our homes through cracks and holes. Rats can fit through...

Hugh Cairns: It’s not going to be perfect

Nov 24, 2014 / 5:00 am

In my book, there are three primary outcomes from home inspections and they are all categorized as good. There are the inspections where a significant existing condition is communicated that the buyer may not be aware of, or where the conditions observed are anticipated and explainable (these...

Home inspection fees could soar

Nov 17, 2014 / 5:00 am

If you have had a home inspection or are about to have one, in probability it will be conducted by a member of BC’s predominant association of home inspectors, The Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors BC (CAHPI BC). Members of CAHPI BC perform home inspections in accordance...

Hugh Cairns: Excessive dryer lint build-up

Nov 10, 2014 / 5:00 am

A quick look at your dryer venting can be very illuminating. Up on the roof and out of the way this dryer vent is causing problems. Notwithstanding long drying times, clogged vents contribute to the danger of a fire. Considering what is at stake, dryer venting deserves more attention than it...

Hugh Cairns: Do this before winter

Nov 3, 2014 / 5:00 am

For homeowners, the end of Fall means that your home should be prepared for winter. Beyond yard cleanup and irrigation blowouts, homeowners should be completing their Fall maintenance inspections. If you’ve already done yours good for you, if you haven’t, the good news is there is some...

Hugh Cairns: Your aging hot water tank

Oct 27, 2014 / 5:00 am

How old is the hot water tank? Does it need replacing? These are some of the hot water tank questions that I am routinely asked while conducting a home inspection. They are actually simple questions with many different answers. The bottom line is that we should make calculated decisions to replace...


Hugh Cairns: Hot topic - WETT reports

Oct 20, 2014 / 5:00 am

Nothing beats a toasty fire on colder days. Wood burning inserts, wood stoves and fireplaces provide a house with warmth and ambience. It is estimated that burning wood (or pellets and other wood derivatives) as a primary or supplemental heat source accounts for about 10% of the energy used for...

Five reasons to service your furnace

Oct 13, 2014 / 5:00 am

In most homes, the furnace is the primary heat source. There is a lot at stake should break down or require replacement. Furnaces are a big investment, new furnaces cost well into the thousands of dollars, so why not maintain the one you have to its optimum service level. It seems that furnaces...

Hugh Cairns: Irrigating crawlspaces

Oct 6, 2014 / 5:00 am

Not every home is built with a crawlspace, but if you have one and an irrigation system it’s best to poke your head down there a few times a year to see what’s happening. Crawlspaces are usually situated below grade and below the first floor of a home where construction trades can...

Improved home inspector standards announced

Sep 22, 2014 / 5:00 am

The home inspection profession in BC continues to be the leading edge in consumer protection and home inspector standards across Canada and North America, and members of The Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors BC (CAHPI BC) are proud to play a large role in increased...

Hugh Cairns: Gutter drainage problems

Sep 15, 2014 / 5:00 am

Gutter Drainage Problems -What are the Signs? If you’ve had a Hugh Cairns Home Inspection then you know that water is the number one enemy of any home. You also know that once water enters a structure that it’s usually a costly fix. So when it comes to water, there is not much room...

Hugh Cairns: TPR valve leaks

Sep 8, 2014 / 5:00 am

As you can imagine a leaking hot water tank is not good news. Small leaks are a clear sign of a looming larger problem. When water is heated it expands. This is because when water is heated, its density decreases and as a result its volume expands. In the average 40 gallon hot water tank,...

Hugh Cairns: Hot water tank failure

Aug 18, 2014 / 5:00 am

A leaking hot water tank is not good news. While a small leak may seem somewhat of a nuisance, it can quickly turn into a big problem. Hot water tanks often have large storage capacities. Most tanks I inspect are in the 40 gallon range, which is a lot of water. It isn’t so much about...

Hugh Cairns: Carpenter ant damage

Jul 28, 2014 / 5:00 am

To read last week's article, Carpenter Ants, click here. In this case of this home, Camponotus vicinus have made themselves at home. The vicinus species have a black-red-black body. The other kind of carpenter ant, Camponotus modoc, is easily identifiable as a large black ant. Both...

Hugh Cairns: Carpenter ants

Jul 21, 2014 / 5:00 am

Carpenter ants are the most visible—and perhaps the most intimidating—of the wood destroying pests encountered in the Okanagan. Carpenter ants, as their common name suggests, are wood workers and classified as a wood destroying insect. Unlike their termite counterparts, Carpenter...

Hugh Cairns: Vegetation against house

Jul 14, 2014 / 5:00 am

Sure vegetation increases a home’s appeal, but it might add other things too. Vegetation growing on the house attracts insects to the house and they will make a home if they can, and get inside. Climbing plants growing on the walls will attach themselves to the siding material and, if...

Hugh Cairns: Inspection friends

Jul 7, 2014 / 5:00 am

It seems that most homes that I visit have animals. On the outside we see mice, rats, raccoons, snakes, chickens, horses, cow, critters and birds regularly. Inside we see pet snakes, tarantulas, ferrets, fish, hamsters, geckos and caged birds to name a few. But it’s cats and dogs that I see...

Hugh Cairns: bleach vs mould

Jun 30, 2014 / 5:00 am

Common bleach is cheap and readily available at our local supermarkets. When it comes to killing mould most consumers reach for bleach first. Household bleach is mostly made up of water with sodium hypochlorite added as the active ingredient. Sodium hypochlorite is used in water purification,...

Hugh Cairns: Grow ops cause grief

May 12, 2014 / 5:00 am

It’s no surprise that the preferable method for growing marijuana is indoors. Although it costs more to produce marijuana indoors than outdoors, it does have its benefits for the grower, but never for the homeowner or a mortgage holder. Grow ops often carry a stigma for the property owner,...
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About the Author

When you need advice or guidance with for DIY home improvement and repairs, Hugh Cairns can help you with the answers.

Home improvements can be rewarding and turn your home a nicer comfortable place to live and increase its value. Whether you are renovating your kitchen, converting a loft, giving a room a lick of paint or making improvements to your home’s energy efficiency this column is here to guide you with some useful information and key things to remember.

Do you have a renovation question or concern? Please feel free to send Hugh your questions. Contact him through www.subject2homeinspections.com





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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.




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