Alliston Home Inspector

For Peace of Mind – Call Alliston Home Inspector

After performing over 5,500 home inspections one thing sticks out clearly about buying homes,  and that is no two homes are alike.  Different builders, quality of building materials, age of house and renovations can make all the difference in the quality of your home.

Is that house really a bargain?  Beautiful basement, but what is really behind those walls and above that ceiling?  These are some of the items that an experienced home inspector can tell you.

When buying a new home you only have to watch out for defective products and poor workmanship,  all done by tradesmen who are sub-contractors of the builder.

When buying an older home you have to worry about shoddy and unsafe workmanship, especially if any renovations have been done.

Alliston Home Inspector - Who is Inspecting Your Home?

Any plumbing, electrical or structural deficiencies immediately raise a Red Flag which indicates that work has been done without obtaining the required Building Permit.   Even if the work looks well done you will be on the hook for any future issues that may arise.

Some home owners like to work with metal studs when framing a basement but they don’t want to pay for the proper electrical fittings required when you use metal studs.  This could affect the safety of you and your family if the entire metal wall structure becomes energized.

Another common electrical deficiency is electrical outlets with “Reversed Polarity”.  This can also affect the safety of your family if small or handheld electrical appliances are plugged into faulty outlet.

Do it yourself roofers are another hazard home buyers want to be aware of.  I recently inspected a waterfront property during a period of heavy rain.  The inspection lasted as long as it took to open the front door.  The water was pouring through the wood ceiling and leaking down through the floor.   The buyer locked the door and we left.  The owners home insurance would probably not cover the water damage due to a Do It Yourself roofing project.

When I walk into a home which has just been “Freshened Up” for sale, the first thing I look at is the installation of the laminate flooring.  I look at door corners etc to see how the laminate was installed.  Then the paint tells a story, how was it put on and does it cover the previous colour.  Kitchen counter tops are sometimes refinished with an “out of the box” product, cupboard doors are usually repainted etc.  This are typically rental properties that are put on the market and a quick sprucing up is applied to give better appeal.  Lipstick on a Pig is my view of these homes.  Everything is cosmetic with no real upgrading or professional repairs being made.

When you are buying a home between 15 and 20 years old there are some items that will soon need replacement if not done already.  Typically your furnace will be at the end of its predictable service life,  the roof will need replacing and your windows could be at an age where the thermal seals will start leaking.  Most home sellers will do the upgrades prior to selling to ad value to their property, but if not you should be aware of future expenses that may be incurred.

The Alliston Home Inspector is a Certified Building Code Official with the Ontario Building Officials Association,  a Certified Master Inspector,  was a Registered Builder with HUDAC and has over 12 years of actual home inspection experience.

Heat loss beside window - Alliston Home Inspections

View of heat loss on Century Home

Free Thermal Imaging with every home inspection.

Infrared technology can help find missing insulation and moisture intrusion.  Older homes tend to have many areas where insulation was not installed or has shifted over time and is now allowing cold air to enter your home.

Every Home Inspection comes with a 100% Money Back Guarantee – Good for 30 days after you move into your new home.

Call the Alliston Home Inspector at 705-795-8255 or Toll Free at 888-818-8608

Email Roger


Residential Wiring Risks

Residential Wiring Risks

Since the introduction of electricity in homes, circa. 1910, various electrical wiring methods have been used. The main types can be  grouped into five separate categories. All wiring types if installed and maintained correctly can be safe and conforming to electrical standards. However, if not installed or maintained correctly, each has potential risks.

1910–1950: “Knob and tube”

Knob and tube (K&T) wiring was installed in virtually all houses from 1920 to 1950.  It incorporated single conductors run along the sides of the wooden framing. The live-knob-and-tubeconductors were supported by ceramic knobs and insulated from contact with wooden joists by ceramic tubes. Electrical splices (wire to wire connections) were done in free air, soldered and covered with insulating tape. The conductors were covered in flame-retardant cloth impregnated with rubber. The conductor quality was excellent, consisting of heavy gauge copper wire with a minimal number of soldered connections enroute to receptacles and lights. However there was no ground conductor. Thus the receptacles of knob-and-tube circuits were not grounded.

Risk in modern homes:

The safety concerns of knob-and-tube wiring are due to alterations or modifications of the original wiring.
  • UNGROUNDED RECEPTACLES: Original 2-prong ungrounded receptacles have often been exchanged for modern 3-prong receptacles, giving false impression of ground protection.
  • POOR CONNECTIONS: To meet the house electrical requirements, circuits are often found tapped to the knob-and-tube, likely done by the homeowner or persons not qualified as residential electricians. These add-on circuits can be most dangerous, resulting in hot-spots at the added connections.
  • INSULATION BREAKDOWN: If there has been “overfusing” (overrated fuses or breakers installed on the circuits) there can be insulation breakdown, as overfusing combined with overloading the circuits significantly raises the temperature of the conductors beyond their designed temperature limits, resulting in a fire hazard.

Inspection procedure:

An ESA inspection or a Master Electrician will check all of these above concerns to determine if the wiring is acceptable. Receptacles are inspected to assure that they are the correct type. The quality of the connections is determined by “voltage-drop testing” (an accurate method to determine if there are any poor connections enroute to the receptacles). The panels are checked for any signs of overfusing and the insulation is checked. If any of the above are found to be deficient, the knob-and-tube circuit is not acceptable and repairs are identified.

1950–1962: Ungrounded twin-conductor cable, NMD 1

Twin-conductor cable replaced knob-and tube in early 1950s due to ease of installation. Contained two insulated conductors wrapped in paper and black tar-based cloth casing. Originally contained no ground wire (NMD1), thus the receptacles were not grounded. The insulation temperature rating of this cable was 60°C. Grounded receptacles were not required until 1962.

Risk in modern homes:

As with knob-&-tube circuits, original 2-prong ungrounded receptacles have often been exchanged for modern 3-prong receptacles, giving false impression of ground protection. This is an easy check and an easy repair. Ground-fault circuit interruption (GFCI) receptacles or breakers can be installed, providing 3-prong receptacles with ground protection. Most insurance companies will not insure a home with Knob and Tube wiring.

1962–1984: Grounded twin-conductor cable, NMD 3 & 6

Ground conductors were required in residential cables in 1962. NMD 3 was introduced containing a ground conductor. Homes were now wired with modern, 3-prong outlets. As with NMD1, NMD3 had an insulation temperature rating of 60°C. Later NMD6 was introduced with an increased temperature rating of 75°C.

Risk in modern homes:

Many modern fixtures generate considerable heat inside the enclosure, particularly recessed lighting fixtures (pot light). A number of fires have been reported in these fixtures as a result of cables with low temperature rating. Since 1984 the electrical code requires that all ceiling fixtures be wired with a cable rated at 90°C. Cables rated at 60°C and 75°C are not suitable for modern fixtures. The house should be checked to confirm that these older cables are not used for modern lighting.

1965–1974: Aluminum branch circuit wiring.

Installed in the vast majority of homes during this period. Provided an inexpensive solution to escalated price of copper at that time.

Risk in modern homes:

Loose connections where aluminum meets copper have shown to develop over time. This results in very hazardous conditions, which often lead to fire. US Consumer aluminum wiringProduct Safety Commission reports that aluminum-wired homes are 55 times more likely to have one or more connections reach “Fire Hazard Conditions” than homes wired with copper only. The concern is not the cable, but the aluminum-copper connections.  Many insurance companies will not insure homes with ESA.  Some may require an ESA inspection prior to insuring property.

Inspection procedure:

The Electrical Safety Authority has received an increasing number of questions about the safety of aluminum wiring. In particular, purchasers or owners of homes built from the mid 1960’s until the late 1970’s with aluminum wiring are finding that many insurers will not provide or renew insurance coverage on such properties unless the wiring is inspected and repaired or replaced as necessary and this work is inspected by ESA and a copy of the certificate of inspection is provided to the insurer. In some cases the insurer may require replacement of the aluminum wiring with copper wiring. Check with your insurance company for their requirements.

1984–Present: Modern NMD90 cable

The primary cable used today for the wiring of homes is NMD90 (formerly NMD7). Modern NMD90 cable contains two conductors and a ground enclosed in a PVC jacket. It is an excellent all-round indoor cable suitable for modern lighting. It has an insulation temperature rating of 90°C.

Risk in modern homes:

The cable is designed for home wiring in dry locations only. Not designed for outdoor, underground or wet locations. The home should be checked to confirm that it has not been installed in incorrect locations.

Electrical Service Boxes
DIY Electrical Problems in Home 
Self Test GFCI Receptacles
Aluminum Wiring in your Home



WETT – Wood Energy Thermal Technology

Wood Energy Technology Transfer Inc. (WETT)

is a non-profit training and education association that promotes the safe and effective use of wood burning systems in Canada. With the cost of heating fuel climbing ever higher, more and more people are choosing wood burning systems to heat their homes. While this method offers a less expensive alternative to electrical and gas powered systems, it also poses a greater risk of fire. If your home or business is currently heated completely or partially by a wood burning device it is a good idea to have your system inspected by a certified WETT technician.

A WETT inspection involves examining the appliance for certification by a certified Barrie Home Inspections - WETT Certifiedproduct testing company and confirming that all clearance requirements are met. If the unit is not certified the requirements are more stringent. A WETT inspection will verify the condition of the appliance, proper installation, appropriate ventilation, CSA certification (if any), approved chimney type and installation.

Before arranging for a Certified WETT Inspection there are some basic items you can check prior to calling for an inspection.  You can also call prior to inspection for any information you may require.  Call Roger at 705-795-8255


  • Check the firebox for cracked firebricks or lining material. Replace any cracked firebricks to keep the firebox in good shape and prevent overheating which can warp steel components and turn the unit into scrap.
  • Check the operation of the damper. Quite often dampers are seized or broken which can lead to unsafe or poor operating conditions.
  • For masonry chimneys, replace any deteriorated or spalling masonry and caulk flashings as needed.
  • Ensure rain caps are present to prevent water leakage inside chimneys and their liners.
  • Clean the unit so a proper inspection can be performed.


  • Visually check the firebox for any cracked firebricks, replace cracked firebricks to ensure the firebox is sound and prevent overheating which can warp steel, crack welds and destroy your woodstove
  • Ensure flue pipes are properly secured with three screws per pipe connection or equivalent pipe clamps installed as per mfg. specs. Ensure the pipe fittings are oriented correctly and the pipe is also sloped correctly.
  • Check the damper operation, door gasket for deterioration and the door glass for cracking.
  • Ensure any heat shielding is secured and in good condition.
  • Keep wood storage and combustible materials at least 4 feet away from the wood stove in all directions at ALL times.

Floor Protection

There are two aspects to floor protection: thermal protection – protecting the floor from radiant heat from the bottom of the stove – and ember protection. For ember

Floor Protection - Barrie WETT Certified

Typical Floor Pad Layout

protection, you need to have continuous, non-combustible flooring under your appliance, extending 8” beyond it at the rear and sides and extending 18” in front of the wood loading door. Continuous means there can be no cracks where embers could get down to combustible material. So, patio stones or bricks won’t work unless you grout between them. If you have a certified appliance, you don’t need to worry about thermal protection. The legs are designed to be long enough to keep the firebox far enough from the floor that the floor won’t get too hot. If you have an uncertified appliance, you will need to have additional thermal protection under the stove.

Flue Pipes

The flue pipe is the pipe that connects the appliance to the chimney. Measure the distance between the pipe and any combustible construction. Required clearance around the standard single wall flue pipe is 18”. Double wall flue pipes have a sticker stating the required clearance (usually 6”).

Installation Guidelines from Woodheat.org

  1. Maximum overall length of straight pipe: 3 m (10 ft.)

    Flue Pipe Installation - Barrie WETT Inspections

    Typical Chimney Installation

  2. The assembly should be as short and direct as possible between the stove and chimney. The use of two 45 degree elbows is often preferable to a single 90 degree elbow because less turbulence is created in the exhaust flow and they result in less horizontal run.
  3. Maximum number of 90-degree elbows: 2. Maximum unsupported horizontal length: 1 m (3 feet).
  4. Galvanized flue pipes must not be used because the coatings vaporize at high temperatures and release dangerous gases. Use black painted flue pipes.
  5. 6-, 7-, and 8-inch diameter flue pipes must be at least 24 gauge in thickness.
  6. Flue pipe joints should overlap 30 mm (1 1/4 in.)
  7. Each joint in the assembly must be fastened with at least three screws.
  8. The assembly must have allowance for expansion: elbows in assemblies allow for expansion; straight assemblies should include an inspection wrap with one end unfastened, or a telescopic section.
  9. Minimum upward slope towards the chimney: 20 mm/m (1/4 in/ft.).
  10. One end of the assembly must be securely fastened to the flue collar with 3 sheet metal screws and the other end securely fastened to the chimney.
  11. There must be provision for cleaning of the pipes, either through a clean out or by removal of the pipe assembly. Removal of the assembly should not require that the stove be moved.
  12. The crimped ends (male) of the sections must be oriented towards the appliance so that falling dust and condensation stay inside the pipe.
  13. A flue pipe must never pass through a combustible floor or ceiling or through an attic, roof space, closet or concealed space.
  14. Minimum clearance from combustible material: 450 mm (18 in.). The minimum clearance may be reduced by 50 percent to 225 mm (9 in.) if suitable shielding is installed either on the pipe or on the combustible surface.


Don’t put your family’s safety at risk. Maintain wood heat safety requirements by education and proper installation.

Call Roger at 705-795-8255 for your Certified WETT Inspection

Email Roger  for appointments or questions

WETT Inspection Information
Barrie WETT Inspections
WETT Inspection Services

We provide WETT inspections to Angus, Alliston, Barrie, Bradford, Brechin, Collingwood, Everett, Innisfil, Lisle, Midland, New Lowell, Orillia, Penetang, Ramara, Stayner, anywhere in Simcoe County.

A WETT Certified Inspection is only $75.00 when included as part of Home Inspection.


Wood Repair for your Home

Wood repair for your home – Windows, Doors and Cladding

Repair Wood on Rotted Window SillIf you have exposed wood on your house, eventually you will probably experience some degree of wood rot.  Wood only needs warmth and moisture to begin turning into a deteriorated mess.  As a home owner you should check any horizontal areas which may collect water with an awl or metal probe.

Even a well-maintained home can develop problems with rot. Rot is caused by wood absorbing water, and there are a wide variety of causes, such as poor circulation, poor drainage or improper sealing.

There are many methods of repairing rotted wood surfaces.  The number one priority is to remove all rotted wood with a sharp tool ensuring no soft wood is remaining.  Failing to remove rotted wood can lead to rot continuing to damage remaining wood under repair.

There are many products available to repair rotted wood on the exterior of your home..  Some of the more popular methods are covered below:

One common repair method is using a polyester filler which can be shaped and moulded to fill removed areas of rotted wood.  Sanding can match existing  profiles and paint will make repair look like new.

Epoxy fillers are a structural adhesive putty and wood replacement compounds. They are a high-strength no-shrink adhesive paste to fill, repair and replace wood and other materials in structures, walls, floors, furniture, sculptures. They are unaffected by water and insects.  . Epoxies must be mixed with their catalyst to become chemically active, so you have a limited amount of time to work with epoxy before it begins to harden. Heat makes epoxy cure faster, so you should take the weather into account when making repairs.

When buying an older home with exposed wood trim protect yourself and your investment by having your property inspected by Barrie Home Inspections



Bremont Homes – Tarion Warranty

Bremont Homes Defies Tarion Home Warranty Program

Bremont Homes Defies Tarion RulesBremont Homes are currently building new homes in Innisfil – called the Forest Edge in Innisfil.  This September I was contacted by a new home buyer to accompany him for his Pre-Delivery Inspection.  You can imagine my surprise when I pulled up to the building site in Innisfil and the Bremont Homes representative, who was standing outside the home,  smiled and “wagged his finger at me”  indicating I would not be allowed to do the inspection.  This was confirmed by my client, who had been inside the home when I arrived.  He told me that the Bremont Customer Service person he had been dealing with could not make the appointment and the “Bremont Representative” would  not allow him to have a “home Inspector” present for his PDI inspection.

The Tarion website is very specific about allowing “home inspector’s” to attend the PDI inspection.   This is a direct quote from their website, “The minimum customer service standard allows a purchaser to attend the PDI with a designate or appoint a designate to attend the PDI in his/her place.  There is no restriction as to who the designate may be, so a professional home inspector or any other person is permitted to attend the PDI either with the purchaser or in their place as a designate”    You can visit website here.

In this day and age it boggles the mind that any company who has any consideration for their customers would prevent them from enjoying their rights under the Tarion warranty program.  Doing a quick search about Bremont Homes on the internet resulted in an article about problems with zoning,draft plans and “mistakes” in tree cutting.  You can read article here.

Bremont Homes - Know What Your BuyingIf you are thinking of buying a new home,  you might consider the consideration this particular builder has shown his client when denying his entitlement to have a “professional home inspector” present for the Pre-deliver Inspection.  I did another PDI inspection a week previous in Innisfil and found two very surprising items, considering it was a brand new home.  One was the electrical panel had been installed too high and the second was the sump pump did not have a air barrier as required.  There were many more items noted, but how many home owners would be aware of these deficiencies?

This particular client is hiring me to inspect his home as soon as he gets possession, and if I can obtain his permission, I will update this article with a list of deficiencies so you can understand the importance of having a professional to look after your interests when buying a new home.

Always Remember:  Caveat Emptor –  Buyer Beware

There are many groups who are petitioning the Ontario Government to have Tarion held accountable to the Ontario Ombudsman.  Hopefully this will eventually happen which would be a “big win” for new home buyers.   Read one site dedicated to providing information on “Home Construction”>

When purchasing a new home and booking a Tarion Pre-Delivery Inspection – protect yourself and your investment by call the Barrie Home Inspection Service.