Heater Smells

Does Your Heater Smell Like Something is Burning?

As we approach the winter months, we turn on our furnace or heater for our homes for the first time in months. Oftentimes, there is a burning smell associated with turning on the heater for the first couple of times. You might wonder why this happens and if this is normal.

Heater Smells

The answer is yes, this is common every year and it is normal. However, it is preventable and a sign your HVAC system needs a service. Let’s take a look.

Zinc Inspections offers a variety of home inspections in Vancouver for both residential and commercial properties to detect these sorts of hidden problems.

A HIABC licensed home inspector can tell you if your washer and dryer components are up to code and venting systems are in good working order.

Heater Smells

Dirty Air Handler Filter

Why Your Heater Smells Like It’s Burning

Throughout the summer months, you might have your A/C system cranked up. During this time, a lot of dust gets blown through the HVAC system and collects on your filter.

However, dust may collect past your filter if your filter is not properly maintained. Your filter should be the right size, of good quality, and replaced frequently. If not, this can lead to dust collection on your evaporator coils.

By the time winter hits, if dust collects on your evaporator coils, dust can burn off once you turn on your heater for the first time. This is quite common, however, it’s a sign your HVAC system was not properly maintained.

Dust on Evaporator Coils

Effects of Dust Collection

While dust collection on evaporator coils may not seem like such a bad thing if it is burned off every year, it can actually have a lot of effects on your HVAC system overall.

For example, a thin layer of dust on your blower fan, which can be caused by dust getting through the evaporator coils, can significantly reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system. It could even cause your unit to freeze up.

Moreover, dust can contain mold and other harmful contaminants that should have been removed from the air.

Overall, improper HVAC maintenance can lead to many issues and reduce the life of your HVAC system.

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HVAC Maintenance

We recommend servicing your HVAC system twice a year, once before summer, and once before winter. During this time, your technician will ensure your evaporator coils are clean so when you do turn on your heat, there is no smell.

Also, we recommend replacing your filter every 30-90 days depending on the activity level in your home. If you have pets and children, consider replacing your filter more often.

Lastly, we recommend pouring vinegar down your condensation line every 30-90 days, again depending on the activity level in your home.

Final Thoughts

If your heater smells like it is burning, the most likely cause is the dust is being burned off. While it is not an immediate concern and is quite common, it is preventable and it is a sign your system has not been properly maintained.

 

Home Inspection in Vancouver has gained popularity because it is a relatively simple process compared to purchasing a home. A home inspection by a qualified home inspection specialist is when an experienced home inspector conducts a visual inspection of the outside, interior, foundation, flooring, lighting, walls, ventilation, and heating system of the house and prepares a written report for the customer. The highest qualified home inspectors in Vancouver are licensed through the HIABC.

Zinc Inspections is owned and operated by Ali Javaheri, a licensed member of The Home Inspectors Association BC (HIABC) with more than 15 years of experience in BC’s housing industry.

Contact Us at Zinc Inspections if you have any questions or concerns about your property:

778-835-5381

info@zincinspections.com

Auto-Shutoff Hose

How to Choose Washing Machine Hoses for Your Washer

Most homeowners don’t think about their washing machine hoses after they are first installed. Unfortunately, these inconspicuous and inexpensive plumbing components flood a lot of houses. Although it’s easy to grab the first set of washing machine hoses you see, it’s a good idea to review all of the choices. Selecting a good set of washing machine hoses is particularly important when a laundry room is located on the main level of the house.

Regardless of which set of washing machine hoses you choose, you should replace them about every three to five years. It’s also a good idea to check the hoses for damage or leaks about once a year as part of your regular plumbing maintenance.

Zinc Inspections offers a variety of home inspections in Vancouver for both residential and commercial properties to detect these sorts of hidden problems.

A HIABC licensed home inspector can tell you if your washer and dryer components are up to code and venting systems are in good working order.

1. Reinforced Rubber

Many people are familiar with the standard washing machine hose made of reinforced rubber. They are relatively inexpensive to buy and easy to find. The reinforcement comes in the form of a braided rayon or polyester mesh that makes the rubber stronger and less likely to burst.

Reinforced Rubber

If your washing machine is inside the house, these hoses are not recommended because they are the most likely to burst. Note that there are non-reinforced hoses available, so check that the label specifically says they are reinforced.

A standard washing machine hose made of reinforced rubber is a good basic choice when the washing machine is located outside the house.

2. Steel Braided

A stainless steel braided hose is the minimum recommended for indoor use. They are middle-of-the-road when it comes to price, but the added safety is worth the extra money. The braided stainless steel encases a rubber hose and provides a burst-resistant measure. These washing machine hoses have a lower failure rate than rubber hoses when properly installed.

washing machine

Note that in tight spaces when the hose may become bent or kinked, the braided stainless steel can dig into the rubber hose. Thus it’s best to look for a hose that has an elbow at the end to prevent this problem. A stainless steel braided hose is better than the basic rubber hose and meets a minimum standard when the washing machine is located inside the house.

3. Auto-Shutoff Hose

For a few more dollars you can have additional peace of mind using auto-shutoff hoses. These are also stainless steel-braided hoses that can be used indoors. These hoses have a shut-off mechanism at one end as an added safety feature. If the hose bursts, the connector can sense the water pressure change and it stops the flow of water.

Auto-Shutoff Hose

This auto-shutoff device can mean the difference between a little water on the laundry room floor and extensive flood damage. There are a few variations in appearance and warranty based on the brand.  Auto-shutoff hoses provide the best safety features for added peace of mind.

4. Washing Machine Hose Tips

Proper installation is the first step in avoiding hose failure and flooding. Follow these tips for installation and maintenance to help prevent costly flood damage.

Tips

  • Buy proper length hoses when installing a washing machine or replacing old hoses. Select a length to fit the space rather than trying to force a proper fit.
  • Allow enough space between the wall and the machine to avoid kinks in the hoses. Aim for 3 to 4 inches but adjust as needed to avoid sharp bends in the hoses.
  • Inspect washing machine hoses regularly. At a minimum, check the hoses once or twice a year. Keep an eye out for kinks, damage, rust, or snags in the braided stainless steel along with signs of a leak.
  • Consider purchasing a true washing machine leak detection system. They are easy to find at hardware stores and go by several trade names, including Flood Master or Intelliflow.
  • Shut off water supply valves when not in use and when you will be away from home such on vacation. The constant water pressure on the washing machine hoses can contribute to hose failure.
  • Replace washing machine hoses regularly. Read the manufacturer’s recommendations and install new hoses as suggested.

Home Inspection in Vancouver has gained popularity because it is a relatively simple process compared to purchasing a home. A home inspection by a qualified home inspection specialist is when an experienced home inspector conducts a visual inspection of the outside, interior, foundation, flooring, lighting, walls, ventilation, and heating system of the house and prepares a written report for the customer. The highest qualified home inspectors in Vancouver are licensed through the HIABC.

Zinc Inspections is owned and operated by Ali Javaheri who is a licensed member of The Home Inspectors Association BC (HIABC) with more than 15 years of experience in BC’s housing industry.

Contact Us at Zinc Inspections if you have any questions or concerns about your property:

778-835-5381

info@zincinspections.com

 

 

CO and Carbon Monoxide Detectors Can Save Your Life

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas that is produced by burning fuels such as: propane, natural gas, oil, wood, charcoal, alcohol, kerosene, or gasoline — all of which are commonly used in your home, RV, boat, or business.

Exposure to carbon monoxide can be deadly. Carbon monoxide interferes with the body’s ability to absorb oxygen, which can lead to serious illness, severe side effects, or death.

Zinc Inspections offers a variety of home inspections in Vancouver for both residential and commercial properties to detect these sorts of hidden problems.

A lHIABC licensed home inspector can tell you if your gas appliances and venting systems are in good working order.

Potential Sources of Carbon Monoxide

Any fuel-burning appliances which are malfunctioning or improperly installed can be a source of CO, such as:

  • furnaces;
  • stoves and ovens;
  • water heaters;
  • dryers;
  • room and space heaters;
  • fireplaces and wood stoves;
  • charcoal grills;
  • automobiles;
  • clogged chimneys or flues;
  • space heaters;
  • power tools that run on fuel;
  • gas and charcoal grills;
  • certain types of swimming pool heaters; and
  • boat engines.

How can I prevent CO poisoning?

Smoke alarms detect particles in the air. The most commonly do this using two types of detection technologies.

The first commonly used technology is called photoelectric. This technology works by detecting light that is bouncing off particles from a light beam inside the sensing chamber, as soon as there are particles present and the amount of light registered by the light detector reaches a certain threshold level, the alarm sounds.

The other types are ionization detectors. These use a small bit of safely shielded radioactive material that electrically charges, or ionizes, the air molecules between two metal plates. This results in a small electric current flowing from one plate to the other in the air. When particles enter the chamber, they attract the ions and carry them away, reducing the current. When the amount of particles entering the chamber is enough to reduce that current below a certain point, the device will register those particles as smoke and the alarm will sound.

Carbon monoxide detectors are the fastest way to prevent CO poisoning. You can install a carbon monoxide alarm (or multiple detectors) in your home. They work much like your fire or smoke alarm by sounding a siren when they detect carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide or Combination smoke and CO detector should be installed in any home with gas-burning appliances (Range, Cooktop, Furnace, …). Verify all smoke and CO detectors are newer than 10 years old (the lifespan of these detectors is 10 years) and on each floor and in the suites.

Home Inspection in Vancouver has gained popularity because it is a relatively simple process compared to purchasing a home. A home inspection by a qualified home inspection specialist is when an experienced home inspector conducts a visual inspection of the outside, interior, foundation, flooring, lighting, walls, ventilation, and heating system of the house and prepares a written report for the customer. The highest qualified home inspectors in Vancouver are licensed through the HIABC.

Zinc Inspections is owned and operated by Ali Javaheri who is a licensed member of The Home Inspectors Association BC (HIABC) with more than 15 years of experience in BC’s housing industry.

Contact Us at Zinc Inspections if you have any questions or concerns about your property:

778-835-5381

info@zincinspections.com

What are GFCI Outlets and What Are Their Benefits?

We’ve all seen those outlets with the little “test” and “reset” buttons on the face of the outlet.  These are called “GFCI” outlets.  The “GFCI” stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.   But what does that mean? And why are these types of outlets necessary?

1. They prevent electrical shock.

GFCI outlets have sensors inside of them that monitor the flow of electricity. If even a minuscule amount of electrical current travels along an unintended path, most three-prong outlets will redirect it into the ground. However, if that current is conducted through a human being during a “ground fault,” it can have deadly consequences. GFCI outlets cut off electrical power to their receptacle completely as soon as they detect discrepancies in the current. This keeps us from receiving painful shocks from power surges, faulty technology, or contact with water.

There are various factors that can determine the outcome or severity of a shock.   These factors are:

  1. The strength of the voltage
  2. Your resistance as the conductor (wet skin is much less resistant than dry)
  3. The path that the electricity takes through your body (through the heart is a bad path)
  4. The duration of the electric shock.  If the amperage running through your body is high enough, your muscles can lose function or spasm, causing your body to freeze in place.  You may not be able to release your grasp on the item that is causing the shock.

It’s impossible to predict exactly how mild or severe an electrical shock will be, as these factors can come in a variety of combinations.  Contact with water is a key ingredient that should always be avoided, as it can cause you and your surroundings to become much more conductive.

But we can all agree that it’s best to try to avoid shock hazards entirely.

2. They prevent electrical fires.

As the wiring in a home ages, its insulation can slowly deteriorate. If loose or exposed wiring experiences a prolonged surge in the electrical current, it can spark a fire inside the walls of your home. A GFCI outlet stops any electrical current “leakage” in its tracks before it has the chance to spark an electrical fire. If you live in an older home that could be prone to electrical oddities, GFCI outlets are a major asset for fire prevention and protection.

3. They bring your outlets up to modern electrical codes.

Because GFCI outlets are such an advantageous safety sensor, they are required by the National Electrical Code in all new kitchens, bathrooms, garages, basements, laundry rooms, outdoor spaces, and more. Older homes built before this requirement was standard often do not have GFCI outlets installed next to sources of water. Upgrading existing homes that don’t meet modern electrical code standards is not required by law, but it is much safer for your property and your family. It is also significantly important if you ever decide to rent or sell your property. Any safety inspector will immediately notice if there is an old-fashioned outlet receptacle near a water source posing a potential hazard. Upgrading to GFCI ensures current and future residents of your property will stay safer from electrical dangers.

 Inspecting GFCI Outlets

During a home inspection by a HIABC home inspector, there is almost inevitably a conversation about GFCI outlets.   Zinc Home Inspectors will note the presence or absence of GFCI outlets in the required locations.  We will alert you to these locations so that you know where they are in case they were to trip. And we will test them when possible to verify that they are working properly.

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There are many cases where we find that the GFCIs are not working properly, and would not provide any form of shock protection.  GFCI components can wear out over time.

Or they can be wired incorrectly in a manner in which the outlet works, but does not trip and shut off the power. These are safety hazards that our inspectors will seek to bring to your attention.

On older homes, GFCIs may not be present, as they may not have been required by code at the time that the house was built.  If they aren’t present in your home, you ought to consider installing them.

GFCI outlets are relatively inexpensive, and a standard outlet can easily be swapped with a GFCI with minimal difficulty.  One GFCI outlet on the circuit can protect multiple outlets down-line, so you can often install just one on each required circuit, and the other outlets down-line on this circuit will be protected.

There are also circuit breakers with a GFCI and test button built-in at the breaker, which can be used to provide this same protection for the entire circuit.

Zinc Inspections offers a variety of home inspections in Vancouver for both residential and commercial properties to detect these sorts of hidden problems. The HIABC Inspectors at Zinc Home Inspections of Greater Vancouver take safety concerns seriously – you should too.  Review where GFCI outlets need to be installed in your home and work with an electrician or qualified person to help update those outlets – your life may depend on it!

Zinc Inspections is owned and operated by Ali Javaheri, a licensed member of The Home Inspectors Association BC (HIABC) with more than 15 years of experience in BC’s housing industry.

For more information on what is included in our home inspection package, visit us at www.zincinspections.com.

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Watch Out For Buried Oil Tanks!

As a homeowner, knowing what could be hidden beneath your home is just as important as what you can see on the surface. What many new property owners often don’t realize, however, is that there could be an old oil tank still buried underground, which could pose a serious hazard to the environment and their family’s safety. Take a look at just some of the dangers of hidden oil tanks and what you can do to make sure there’s not one buried underneath your home.

 
 

Tanks were often installed at least 2 feet below ground outside the house to conserve space, minimize the impact of leakage and reduce the risk of fire. The life of a buried oil tank is roughly 10 to 20 years, depending on several factors. It will eventually rust and leak.

If you’re considering buying or have recently purchased a home built prior to 1960, it’s a good idea to call in a certified home inspector to perform an oil tank sweep of the property. That way, you can know for sure whether or not there is an underground oil tank that could potentially cause you problems, headaches, and financial burdens down the road. We, at Zinc Inspections can help you identify and properly deal with such issues.

Implications

 

The leakage of fuel oil from a buried tank is an environmental concern. However, most inspectors at least tell their clients that they don’t comment on underground oil tanks, and many report evidence of a possible buried tank including tank fill and vent lines outside, and fuel supply and return lines inside, although this is beyond the scope of the inspection. Removal of a tank is a significant expense. It may cost tens of thousands of dollars to clean up contaminated soil.

 
 
 

Remove Abandoned Tanks

 

Homeowners converting from oil to another fuel usually have to remove the tank or have it properly abandoned, since most jurisdictions will not allow it to be just left in place. Any soil contamination needs to be cleaned up at the time of tank removal.

 

Strategy

 

Oil tank fill and vent pipes that enter the ground outside rather than pass through the walls of the house may be connected to a buried tank. Pipes that pass through the walls of the house likely connect to an indoor tank, (e.g., in the basement or a crawlspace). Inside tanks can be out in the open or concealed in a closet or partitioned off.

 

Locate Tank

 

Try to find the oil tank inside the house first. Tanks are typically near the area where the fill and vent pipes go through the house wall. If the tank cannot be found in the basement, check any crawlspaces.

 

Follow Supply Line

 

If possible, follow the copper fuel supply (and return if applicable) line back from the burner. Fuel lines should be buried in or below concrete slab floors (sometimes a patched trench is noted) or embedded in mortar that fills the joint between the foundation and floor. If the fuel line goes through the wall, there may be a buried tank.

 

Contact Us at Zinc Inspections if you have any questions or concerns about your property:

778-835-5381

info@zincinspections.com

 
 
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Rain screen – The Solution to a Leaky Condo

 
 

Leaky Condos

 

The term ‘leaky condo’ is pretty specific to the lower mainland and refers to many of the condo buildings built between the late 1980s and mid-1990s, though not limited to this era.

It came about due to a construction boom that was occurring at that time. Designers from other parts of the world, namely California, were brought to the lower mainland to help keep up with the demand for buildings.

The issue with the design during this time, in easy terms, is that moisture would not be allowed to vacate the wall cavity. Instead, it would remain in the wall cavity which would cause rot, mold, or other structural issues over time.

A new wall assembly system was developed which commonly referred to as Rain Screen.

 
 

Rain screen – The Solution to a Leaky Condo

 

This type of wall system essentially, again in easy terms, allows moisture that either penetrates or remains within the wall system, to escape through a gap.

This gap also allows air to circulate, so that it can reduce the chance of rot forming from consistent contact with moisture.

 
 
 

How Can I tell if a Building is Rain screened?

 

You can easily tell if a building has a rain screen by feeling under the exterior wall. If you feel a gap under it, likely it’s been updated with a rain screen.

Another way to figure out of a building is rain screened, is to observe the exterior wall. If there are what appear to be ‘sections’ separated by flashing, it’s likely been rain screened. The key is to look for that gap under the wall.

Horizontal plank-style cladding, such as vinyl, wood, or hardiboard, naturally act as a rain screen based on how it was installed. They will already have air gaps underneath the material due to the nature of the ‘plank’ style of cladding.

 
 

Risks of not having Rain screen

 

If a condo unit has not been rain-screened, then you can expect some talk of it in the strata minutes going forward. Because it is quite an expensive bill, it is important that when you are considering purchasing a building without rain-screen that you take a good hard look at the contingency reserve fund. To add the rain-screen they will most likely take a portion out of the contingency and special levy the rest to the owners, so you could possibly expect a very large bill going forward. If you’re looking at a building older than 2006, always make sure to check whether it’s been rain-screened.

 

Contact Us at Zinc Inspections if you have any questions or concerns about your property:

778-835-5381

info@zincinspections.com

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Top 7 Maintenance Tips To Keep Your Gas Furnace Running

Your gas furnace needs to do you justice and serve you several years before you think about replacement or repair. However they will not take care of themselves unless you begin maintaining them and checking up on them frequently. If it is dirty, you as the user are supposed to know when to clean it .Taking into concern your furnace is the only way to avoid spending on it each and every season.

 

If have been buying a new furnace each season, its time you stopped. The following tips on maintenance will help your gas furnace remain in good condition for more years:

 

Ensure you are working under safe conditions

 

Gas appliances can strike anytime, ensure you exercise safety measures .Before you begin cleaning and checking your gas furnace and turn it off. Ensure the power system and any circuits connecting to the furnace are off. Check for gas leaks before you begin cleaning. Gas leaks can be very dangerous and can cause fatal accidents. If there are leaks, request a professional to fix the problem. Stay far away from the gas until it is fixed. Once everything is perfect, proceed with your cleaning.

 

Clean and replace the filter system

 

The filter system is one major part of a gas furnace because it prevents dirt from entering the furnace. It is recommended that every gas furnace owner replace or clean the filter continuously depending on the use. This is because it filters and traps dust, dirt and other debris. Check the filter and see if it has accumulated lots of dirt. If it is completely clogged, consider doing a replacement. They are sold at an extremely affordable price. Change the air filter and prevent your gas furnace from malfunctioning.

 
 

Check the thermostat

 

Are you setting your thermostat but still feel uncomfortable around the room? If yes, know that there is a problem with your thermostat especially if it has been working for many years. Chances are your thermostat has stopped working and needs to be replaced. Check the thermostat and ensure it’s in proper condition and replace it when need be.

 

Clean the blower

 

When cleaning the filter system, the blower assembly should be next on line. The blower is located right after the air filter. The little dust, dirt and debris that penetrates through the air filter goes to the blower. You will have to clean the blower, pulleys and belts in order to remove the accumulated dirt. Remove the panels that cover the filter to access the blower assembly. Use a damp cloth while cleaning the blower.

 

Clean or repair furnace ducts

 

Furnace ducts are prone to damages especially when using a forced-air furnace. In such a case, one is required to clean ducts frequently using a high-powered vacuum cleaner. Once you have finished, cover all ducts to prevent air from leaking into the furnace.

 

Clean the vents

 

Gas furnaces are hooked with a venting system. This ventilation at some point can block due to large amounts of dust and debris. Blocked ventilation is dangerous and can cause lots of hazards to the users. Using a large brush, clean all the vents .begin by removing the vent cover and clean the inside using the vacuum cleaner.

 

Fan inspection

 

To avoid experiencing problems with your gas furnace, a thorough inspection will be helpful. Inspection done by professionals will save you all the costs to spend on repairing parts of the gas furnace. Besides a general inspection, its fan components should also be checked. An inspection will reveal whether there are dust and other components on it. Make it a routine to take your gas furnace for a thorough inspection yearly.

 

Cleaning and maintaining a gas furnace is not much of a task or challenge. It is also not very expensive to maintain a gas furnace. You will encounter fewer expenses and perhaps never have to buy another gas furnace. Do not let dirt and debris prevent you from cleaning your gas furnace. You have no reason to request a professional anytime you experience problems with your furnace. Ensure you play it safe. Get the most out of your gas furnace by adhering to the above maintenance tips.

 

Contact Us at Zinc Inspections if you have any questions or concerns about your property:

778-835-5381

info@zincinspections.com

Home Inspection

Pre-Purchase Inspection

Are you buying a home? A pre-purchase home inspection can provide you with the information you needto know about the condition of the house you plan to purchase.