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About The House

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,...

Hugh Cairns: Beat the heat

May 5, 2014 / 5:00 am

I’m sure you’ll agree that the sun has some strength to it now as things are warming up. That means that you’ll be calling on your air conditioning system soon to keep you comfortable indoors. Now is a great time to uncover and test your air conditioner for proper...

Vermiculite insulation, now what?

Apr 28, 2014 / 5:00 am

So you’re in the process of buying an older home and your home inspector observes vermiculite insulation in the attic. The natural reaction for many is to immediately connect vermiculite insulation with the presence of asbestos. Bad move, the fear factor and uncertainty are sure to follow....

Hugh Cairns: At the altar

Apr 14, 2014 / 5:00 am

Here’s a little story that I offer up from time to time about the home inspection and home buying process. In the pews are the buyers’ family and the sellers’ family. Nestled among them are the buyers’ agent and the sellers’ agent a couple of lawyers, some appraisers,...

Hugh Cairns: Pool openings

Apr 7, 2014 / 5:00 am

If you are the DIY’er type like me, pool openings are kind of a revelation. Is the water going to be clear? Or is it going to be one of those green pea soup years? Over time, clearly, I had more success with early pool openings. I think that’s because algae growth likes warmer water...

Hugh Cairns: Make up air vents

Mar 31, 2014 / 5:00 am

Furnaces and hot water tanks are generally the largest sources of CO in the home because of the amount of fuel they consume. The amount of CO in combustion gas depends on the cleanliness and tuning of the burners, on the quality and quantity of combustion make-up air, and other factors. In the case...

Hugh Cairns: Termite time

Mar 24, 2014 / 5:00 am

When on the job, your home inspector focuses on the construction of a home and the permanently installed components. We don't inspect specifically for Wood Destroying Organisms (WDO) because it’s a field that requires a trained specialist. WDO’s are a nasty bunch. Termites and...

Prepare for the inspection of your home

Mar 17, 2014 / 5:00 am

It’s Spring and that means it’s the beginning of real estate season. For many it’s time to move on, while at the same time it’s a fresh beginning for others. If you’re selling, be assured that today’s buyer wants to know everything about your home. The vast...

Hot tub maintenance saves money

Mar 3, 2014 / 5:00 am

It may not be pool season, but it certainly is still hot tub season. A hot tub offers a chance to get away from it all and usually only steps from the inside of your home. Hot tubs can be a great source of fun, relaxation and a place where family and friends can come together. With all that...

Hugh Cairns: Pet urine in heat ducts

Feb 17, 2014 / 5:00 am

Now, I’m not an expert on pets and their owners, and certainly want to steer away from commenting on human and pet relations, but I can tell you that there are pet owners that live in homes where they can no longer, or turn a blind eye to the odors being created by their pet. Not too long...

Hugh Cairns: Asbestos in popcorn ceilings

Feb 3, 2014 / 5:00 am

Q. We are planning on removing the popcorn ceiling on the main floor and would like to know if it may contain asbestos. Also in your opinion is it better to remove it or cover it with new drywall. Thank again, Kelly and Debbie. A. There were many products used in construction that contained...

Removing wood chip insulation

Jan 27, 2014 / 5:00 am

Q. I have wood chip insulation in the attic and walls of older home that needs upgrading, at the same time I wish to replace the wiring. To remove the chips in the walls, do we go from the inside wood wall or the outer wood wall? - Marilyn A. I highly recommend that you include an energy...

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


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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