OAHI ready to work with MGCS on Putting Consumers First Act

November 7,2016

 - The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors is looking forward to working with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services on its Putting Consumers First Act.

On Nov. 3 The Hon. Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS), along with MPPs Hang Dong, and Yvan Baker announced the province’s intention of continuing with Home Inspector Licensing under Bill 59, the Putting Consumers First Act. OAHI’s president Murray Parish attended the Nov. 3 announcement.

OAHI will continue to promote the high level of education and professional standards as it has since 1994, as it waits for the Provincial government to establish ‘minimum’ standards for Home Inspector Licensing. Bill 59’s first reading was carried Nov. 3; second reading is scheduled for Nov. 14.

“Homebuyers are welcome to visit to see the extensive, mandatory and ongoing training OAHI member inspectors must pursue to maintain their standing in the association. OAHI will also continue to advocate for well-educated, professional home inspectors in Ontario,” says Murray Parish, RHI and president of the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors.

“We reiterate that OAHI supports the establishment of common competency requirements for home inspectors to operate in Ontario. Licensing offers a reasonable way of permitting an individual to begin offering home inspection services to the public with the assurance of that basic competency being in place. However, it is a permit, not a designation earned through advanced training and experience. We hope to have a positive and pragmatic discussion of OAHI's ongoing role in helping to regulate home inspection professionals in Ontario,” adds Parish.

About OAHI

Through education and advocacy, the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors cultivates a thriving home inspection industry based on the highest standards of professional development and ethical standards. In doing so, OAHI cultivates the ‘gold standard’ for home inspectors in Ontario. OAHI is the only provincially recognized body of home inspectors by The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors Act, 1994 (Bill PR158). OAHI is a not-for-profit association, and the largest home inspection association in Ontario.

New Elements at the 2017 OAHI/CAHPI-ON Education Conference

November 12,2016

New Elements at the 2017 OAHI/CAHPI-ON Education Conference

Education is the Key

Members from all home inspection associations, home inspection students and practicing home inspectors at all levels are welcome at the 2017 OAHI/CAHPI-ON Education Conference March 3 to 5, 2017 in Burlington.

Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker. OREA recommends OAHI and its members in its homebuyers’ handbook.

Education is the Key is the theme, and with the upcoming home inspector licensing under Bill 59, continuing your education is even more important to reinforce the industry’s integrity and professionalism. Speaking of Bill 59, there will be a general discussion and Q&A on the Putting Consumers First Act.

Sixteen education sessions are planned, and new for 2017, we will indicate which courses are geared toward new home inspectors (basic/intermediate) and for more experienced home inspectors (advanced).

The new Mentorship Cafe will give delegates a chance to interact one-on-one with more experienced home inspectors. If you’d like to be a mentor, contact Andrew Dixon: [email protected]

OAHI’s AGM will be held on Saturday March 4.

New exhibitors have already confirmed their participation in the conference. To be an exhibitor, contact Tim Chase: [email protected]

The OAHI/CAHPI-ON Education Conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Burlington Hotel & Conference Centre. Registration is now open. Click here: full conference fees are the same as 2016.

Watch the OAHI website, Facebook, Linkedin and YouTube pages for updates.

Your Home Inspection: What to Expect

DECEMBER 5, 2016

House Systems Inspected by OAHI Members Complete Inspection Standards can be found at

A typical inspection last 2 to 3 hours, plus additional time for report writing.

Includes a visual assessment of hundreds of house components, and the condition at the time of inspection.

For best results the inspection should be completed during daylight hours.

A full paper or digital report will be delivered within a set timeframe.

Home Inspectors do not move furniture, equipment or storage.

Your home inspector CANNOT provide:

Opinion on market value

‘Pass” or “Fail” grade

Purchase recommendation

Repair services on defects

Assessment of any component that is concealed, inoperable, inaccessible unsafe to inspect.

OAHI member inspectors see homes differently!

Why Get a Home Inspection If You’re Buying “As Is”?

by Mark Cohen, J.D., LL.M., InterNACHI General Counsel, and

Nick Gromicko, InterNACHI Founder

January 27, 2017

Some sellers – often, those working without an agent – want to sell their home “as is” so they don’t have to invest money fixing it up or take on any potential liability for defects. There is nothing wrong with buying a home “as is,” particularly if you can buy it at a favorable price, but if you are considering buying an “as is” home, you should still hire a competent home inspector to perform an inspection. There are several reasons for this.

First, you don’t know what “as is” is. Sure, you can walk through the home and get an idea of its general condition. You may even spot some defects or items in obvious need of repair. But you won’t obtain the same detailed information you will receive if you hire a home inspector. Home inspectors are trained to look for things you are not likely to notice. InterNACHI inspectors, for example, must follow InterNACHI’s Residential Standards of Practice and check the roof, exterior, interior, foundation, basement, fireplace, attic, insulation, ventilation, doors, windows, heating system, cooling system, plumbing system, and electrical system for certain defects. Armed with a home inspector’s detailed report, you will have a better idea of what “as is” means regarding that home, which means you’ll be in a better position to know whether you want to buy it. You may also be able to use information from the home inspection to negotiate a lower price.

Second, many states require the seller to provide you with written a disclosure about the condition of the property. Sellers often provide little information, and a few even lie. A home inspection can provide the missing information. If an inspector finds evidence that a seller concealed information or lied to you, that may be a sign that you don’t want to buy a home from that seller.

Finally, if you buy a home “as is” without hiring a home inspector and then later discover a defect, all is not lost. A home inspector may be able to review the seller’s disclosure and testify as to what the seller knew or should have known about. The inspector may find evidence that the seller made misrepresentations or concealed relevant information from you. Even the seller of an “as is” home may be held liable for misrepresentation or concealment.

But the better choice, obviously, is to hire a home inspector first. Remember: The cost of a home inspection is a pittance compared to the price of the home. Be an informed consumer, especially when buying an “as is” home, and hire an InterNACHI Certified Professional Inspector®.  

Electrical Safety

February 27, 2017

Electricity is an essential part of our lives. However, it has the potential to cause great harm. Electrical systems will function almost indefinitely, if properly installed and not overloaded or physically abused. Electrical fires in our homes claim the lives of 485 Americans each year and injure 2,305 more. Some of these fires are caused by electrical system failures and appliance defects, but many more are caused by the misuse and poor maintenance of electrical appliances, incorrectly installed wiring, and overloaded circuits and extension cords.

Some safety tips to remember:

Never use anything but the proper fuse to protect a circuit.

Find and correct overloaded circuits.

Never place extension cords under rugs.

Outlets near water should be GFCI-type outlets.

Don't allow trees near power lines to be climbed.

Keep ladders, kites, equipment and anything else away from overhead power lines.

Electrical Panels

Electricity enters the home through a control panel and a main switch where one can shut off all the power in an emergency. These panels are usually located in the basement. Control panels use either fuses or circuit breakers. Install the correct fuses for the panel. Never use a higher-numbered fuse or a metallic item, such as a penny. If fuses are used and there is a stoppage in power, look for the broken metal strip in the top of a blown fuse. Replace the fuse with a new one marked with the correct amperage. Reset circuit breakers from "off" to "on." Be sure to investigate why the fuse or circuit blew. Possible causes include frayed wires, overloaded outlets, or defective appliances. Never overload a circuit with high-wattage appliances. Check the wattage on appliance labels. If there is frayed insulation or a broken wire, a dangerous short circuit may result and cause a fire. If power stoppages continue or if a frayed or broken wire is found, contact an electrician.

Outlets and Extension Cords

Make sure all electrical receptacles or outlets are three-hole, grounded outlets. If there is water in the area, there should be a GFCI or ground-fault circuit interrupter outlet. All outdoor outlets should be GFCIs. There should be ample electrical capacity to run equipment without tripping circuit breakers or blowing fuses. Minimize extension cord use. Never place them under rugs. Use extension cords sparingly and check them periodically. Use the proper electrical cord for the job, and put safety plugs in unused outlets.

Electrical Appliances

Appliances need to be treated with respect and care. They need room to breathe. Avoid enclosing them in a cabinet without proper openings, and do not store papers around them. Level appliances so they do not tip. Washers and dryers should be checked often. Their movement can put undue stress on electrical connections. If any appliance or device gives off a tingling shock, turn it off, unplug it, and have a qualified person correct the problem. Shocks can be fatal. Never insert metal objects into appliances without unplugging them. Check appliances periodically to spot worn or cracked insulation, loose terminals, corroded wires, defective parts and any other components that might not work correctly. Replace these appliances or have them repaired by a person qualified to do so.

Electrical Heating Equipment

Portable electrical heating equipment may be used in the home as a supplement to the home heating system. Caution must be taken when using these heating supplements. Keep them away from combustibles, and make sure they cannot be tipped over. Keep electrical heating equipment in good working condition. Do not use them in bathrooms because of the risk of contact with water and electrocution. Many people use electric blankets in their homes. They will work well if they are kept in good condition. Look for cracks and breaks in the wiring, plugs and connectors. Look for charred spots on both sides. Many things can cause electric blankets to overheat. They include other bedding placed on top of them, pets sleeping on top of them, and putting things on top of the blanket when it is in use. Folding the blankets can also bend the coils and cause overheating.


Electricity is important to the workings of the home, but can be dangerous, especially to children. Electrical safety needs to be taught to children early on. Safety plugs should be inserted in unused outlets when toddlers are in the home. Make sure all outlets in the home have face plates. Teach children not to put things into electrical outlets and not to chew on electrical cords. Keep electrical wiring boxes locked. Do not allow children to come in contact with power lines outside. Never allow them to climb trees near power lines, utility poles or high tension towers.

Electricity and Water

A body can act like a lightning rod and carry the current to the ground. People are good conductors of electricity, particularly when standing in water or on a damp floor. Never use any electrical appliance in the tub or shower. Never touch an electric cord or appliance with wet hands. Do not use electrical appliances in damp areas or while standing on damp floors. In areas where water is present, use outlets with GFCIs. Shocks can be fatal.

Animal Hazards

Mice and other rodents can chew on electrical wires and damage them. If rodents are suspected or known to be in the home, be aware of the damage they may cause, and take measures to get rid of them.

Outside Hazards

There are several electrical hazards outside the home. Be aware of overhead and underground power lines. People have been electrocuted when an object they are moving has come in contact with the overhead power lines. Keep ladders, antennae, kites and poles away from power lines leading to the house and other buildings. Do not plant trees, shrubs or bushes under power lines or near underground power lines. Never build a swimming pool or other structure under the power line leading to your house. Before digging, learn the location of underground power lines.

Do not climb power poles or transmission towers. Never let anyone shoot or throw stones at insulators. If you have an animal trapped in a tree or on the roof near electric lines, phone your utility company. Do not take a chance of electrocuting yourself. Be aware of weather conditions when installing and working with electrical appliances. Never use electrical power tools or appliances with rain overhead or water underfoot. Use only outdoor lights, fixtures and extension cords. Plug into outlets with a GFCI. Downed power lines are extremely dangerous. If you see a downed power line, call the electric company, and warn others to stay away. If a power line hits your car while you are in it, stay inside unless the car catches fire. If the car catches fire, jump clear without touching metal and the ground at the same time.


Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring.

Hire an InterNACHI inspector. InterNACHI inspectors must pass rigorous safety training and are knowledgeable in the ways to reduce the likelihood of electrocution.

Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old and damaged appliance cords immediately.

Use electrical extension cords wisely and don't overload them.

Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and counters; pay special care to electrical appliances in the bathroom and kitchen.

Don't allow children to play with or around electrical appliances, such as space heaters, irons and hair dryers.

Keep clothes, curtains and other potentially combustible items at least 3 feet from all heaters.

If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.

Never overload extension cords or wall sockets. Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch, as well as lights that flicker. Use safety closures to childproof electrical outlets.

Check your electrical tools regularly for signs of wear. If the cords are frayed or cracked, replace them. Replace any tool if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out or gives off smoke or sparks.

In summary, household electrocution can be prevented by following the tips offered in this guide and by hiring an InterNACHI inspector. 

10 Easy Ways to Save Money & Energy in Your Home

March 20, 2017

by Nick Gromicko, Ben Gromicko, and Kenton Shepard 

Most people don’t know how easy it is to make their homes run on less energy, and here at InterNACHI, we want to change that.

Drastic reductions in heating, cooling and electricity costs can be accomplished through very simple changes, most of which homeowners can do themselves. Of course, for homeowners who want to take advantage of the most up-to-date knowledge and systems in home energy efficiency, InterNACHI energy auditors can perform in-depth testing to find the best energy solutions for your particular home.

Why make your home more energy efficient? Here are a few good reasons:

Federal, state, utility and local jurisdictions' financial incentives, such as tax breaks, are very advantageous for homeowners in most parts of the U.S.

It saves money. It costs less to power a home that has been converted to be more energy-efficient.

It increases the comfort level indoors.

It reduces our impact on climate change. Many scientists now believe that excessive energy consumption contributes significantly to global warming.

It reduces pollution. Conventional power production introduces pollutants that find their way into the air, soil and water supplies.

1. Find better ways to heat and cool your house.

As much as half of the energy used in homes goes toward heating and cooling. The following are a few ways that energy bills can be reduced through adjustments to the heating and cooling systems:

Install a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans can be used in place of air conditioners, which require a large amount of energy.

Periodically replace air filters in air conditioners and heaters.

Set thermostats to an appropriate temperature. Specifically, they should be turned down at night and when no one is home. In most homes, about 2% of the heating bill will be saved for each degree that the thermostat is lowered for at least eight hours each day. Turning down the thermostat from 75° F to 70° F, for example, saves about 10% on heating costs.

Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat saves money by allowing heating and cooling appliances to be automatically turned down during times that no one is home and at night. Programmable thermostats contain no mercury and, in some climate zones, can save up to $150 per year in energy costs.

Install a wood stove or a pellet stove. These are more efficient sources of heat than furnaces.

At night, curtains drawn over windows will better insulate the room.

2. Install a tankless water heater.

Demand-type water heaters (tankless or instantaneous) provide hot water only as it is needed. They don't produce the standby energy losses associated with traditional storage water heaters, which will save on energy costs. Tankless water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. A gas burner or an electric element heats the water. As a result, demand water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. You don't need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water.

3. Replace incandescent lights.

The average household dedicates 11% of its energy budget to lighting. Traditional incandescent lights convert approximately only 10% of the energy they consume into light, while the rest becomes heat. The use of new lighting technologies, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), can reduce the energy use required by lighting by 50% to 75%. Advances in lighting controls offer further energy savings by reducing the amount of time that lights are on but not being used. Here are some facts about CFLs and LEDs:

CFLs use 75% less energy and last about 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

LEDs last even longer than CFLs and consume less energy.

LEDs have no moving parts and, unlike CFLs, they contain no mercury.

4. Seal and insulate your home.

Sealing and insulating your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to make a home more comfortable and energy-efficient, and you can do it yourself. A tightly sealed home can improve comfort and indoor air quality while reducing utility bills. An InterNACHI energy auditor can assess leakage in the building envelope and recommend fixes that will dramatically increase comfort and energy savings.

The following are some common places where leakage may occur:

electrical receptacles/outlets;

mail slots;

around pipes and wires;

wall- or window-mounted air conditioners;

attic hatches;

fireplace dampers;

inadequate weatherstripping around doors;


window frames; and

switch plates.

Because hot air rises, air leaks are most likely to occur in the attic. Homeowners can perform a variety of repairs and maintenance to their attics that save them money on cooling and heating, such as:

Plug the large holes. Locations in the attic where leakage is most likely to be the greatest are where walls meet the attic floor, behind and under attic knee walls, and in dropped-ceiling areas.

Seal the small holes. You can easily do this by looking for areas where the insulation is darkened. Darkened insulation is a result of dusty interior air being filtered by insulation before leaking through small holes in the building envelope. In cold weather, you may see frosty areas in the insulation caused by warm, moist air condensing and then freezing as it hits the cold attic air. In warmer weather, you’ll find water staining in these same areas. Use expanding foam or caulk to seal the openings around plumbing vent pipes and electrical wires. Cover the areas with insulation after the caulk is dry.

Seal up the attic access panel with weatherstripping. You can cut a piece of fiberglass or rigid foamboard insulation in the same size as the attic hatch and glue it to the back of the attic access panel. If you have pull-down attic stairs or an attic door, these should be sealed in a similar manner.

5. Install efficient showerheads and toilets.

The following systems can be installed to conserve water usage in homes:

low-flow showerheads. They are available in different flow rates, and some have a pause button which shuts off the water while the bather lathers up;

low-flow toilets. Toilets consume 30% to 40% of the total water used in homes, making them the biggest water users. Replacing an older 3.5-gallon toilet with a modern, low-flow 1.6-gallon toilet can reduce usage an average of 2 gallons-per-flush (GPF), saving 12,000 gallons of water per year. Low-flow toilets usually have "1.6 GPF" marked on the bowl behind the seat or inside the tank;

vacuum-assist toilets. This type of toilet has a vacuum chamber that uses a siphon action to suck air from the trap beneath the bowl, allowing it to quickly fill with water to clear waste. Vacuum-assist toilets are relatively quiet; and

dual-flush toilets. Dual-flush toilets have been used in Europe and Australia for years and are now gaining in popularity in the U.S. Dual-flush toilets let you choose between a 1-gallon (or less) flush for liquid waste, and a 1.6-gallon flush for solid waste. Dual-flush 1.6-GPF toilets reduce water consumption by an additional 30%.

6. Use appliances and electronics responsibly.

Appliances and electronics account for about 20% of household energy bills in a typical U.S. home. The following are tips that will reduce the required energy of electronics and appliances:

Refrigerators and freezers should not be located near the stove, dishwasher or heat vents, or exposed to direct sunlight. Exposure to warm areas will force them to use more energy to remain cool.

Computers should be shut off when not in use. If unattended computers must be left on, their monitors should be shut off. According to some studies, computers account for approximately 3% of all energy consumption in the United States.

Use efficient ENERGY STAR-rated appliances and electronics. These devices, approved by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program, include TVs, home theater systems, DVD players, CD players, receivers, speakers, and more. According to the EPA, if just 10% of homes used energy-efficient appliances, it would reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of 1.7 million acres of trees.

Chargers, such as those used for laptops and cell phones, consume energy when they are plugged in. When they are not connected to electronics, chargers should be unplugged.

Laptop computers consume considerably less electricity than desktop computers.

7. Install daylighting as an alternative to electrical lighting.

Daylighting is the practice of using natural light to illuminate the home's interior. It can be achieved using the following approaches:

skylights. It’s important that they be double-pane or they may not be cost-effective. Flashing skylights correctly is key to avoiding leaks;

light shelves. Light shelves are passive devices designed to bounce light deep into a building. They may be interior or exterior. Light shelves can introduce light into a space up to 2½ times the distance from the floor to the top of the window, and advanced light shelves may introduce four times that amount;

clerestory windows. Clerestory windows are short, wide windows set high on the wall. Protected from the summer sun by the roof overhang, they allow winter sun to shine through for natural lighting and warmth; and

light tubes. Light tubes use a special lens designed to amplify low-level light and reduce light intensity from the midday sun. Sunlight is channeled through a tube coated with a highly reflective material, and then enters the living space through a diffuser designed to distribute light evenly.

8. Insulate windows and doors.

About one-third of the home's total heat loss usually occurs through windows and doors. The following are ways to reduce energy lost through windows and doors:

Seal all window edges and cracks with rope caulk. This is the cheapest and simplest option.

Windows can be weatherstripped with a special lining that is inserted between the window and the frame. For doors, apply weatherstripping around the whole perimeter to ensure a tight seal when they're closed. Install quality door sweeps on the bottom of the doors, if they aren't already in place.

Install storm windows at windows with only single panes. A removable glass frame can be installed over an existing window.

If existing windows have rotted or damaged wood, cracked glass, missing putty, poorly fitting sashes, or locks that don't work, they should be repaired or replaced.

9. Cook smart.

An enormous amount of energy is wasted while cooking. The following recommendations and statistics illustrate less wasteful ways of cooking:

Convection ovens are more efficient that conventional ovens. They use fans to force hot air to circulate more evenly, thereby allowing food to be cooked at a lower temperature. Convection ovens use approximately 20% less electricity than conventional ovens.

Microwave ovens consume approximately 80% less energy than conventional ovens.

Pans should be placed on the matching size heating element or flame.

Using lids on pots and pans will heat food more quickly than cooking in uncovered pots and pans.

Pressure cookers reduce cooking time dramatically.

When using conventional ovens, food should be placed on the top rack. The top rack is hotter and will cook food faster.

10. Change the way you do laundry.

Do not use the medium setting on your washer. Wait until you have a full load of clothes, as the medium setting saves less than half of the water and energy used for a full load.

Avoid using high-temperature settings when clothes are not very soiled. Water that is 140° F uses far more energy than 103° F for the warm-water setting, but 140° F isn’t that much more effective for getting clothes clean.

Clean the lint trap every time before you use the dryer. Not only is excess lint a fire hazard, but it will prolong the amount of time required for your clothes to dry.

If possible, air-dry your clothes on lines and racks.

Spin-dry or wring clothes out before putting them into a dryer.

Homeowners who take the initiative to make these changes usually discover that the energy savings are more than worth the effort. InterNACHI home inspectors can make this process much easier because they can perform a more comprehensive assessment of energy-savings potential than the average homeowner can.