Mike's Home Inspector Blog
Michael Burfitt, CPI
Mike's Home Inspector Blog
Michael Burfitt, CPI
Before I became the home inspector you know and love (and a parent!), I had a lot more time on my hands. One of the ways of filling that time was to work as a volunteer Medical First Responder with St. John Ambulance, to which I got to attend many public events such as the Pride Festival, sporting events such as the Halifax Mooseheads (fan since 1995!), and concerts such as Bob Segar and George Thorogood. Most of the people I volunteered with had a medical background, with many looking to become Doctors. It was there I learned many of the skills that have served me well in the field of home inspection.
When it comes to maintaining the health of our homes and our bodies, the importance of regular check-ups cannot be overstated. In the realm of homeownership, the role of a home inspector can be likened to that of a family doctor or general practitioner (GP) in the world of healthcare. Both professionals play a crucial role in identifying potential issues, providing preventative measures, and ensuring overall well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the parallels between a home inspector and a GP, shedding light on the similarities that may not be immediately apparent.
Just as a general practitioner conducts a comprehensive physical examination, a quality home inspector meticulously assesses the various components of a house. From the foundation to the roof, and everything in between, home inspectors leave no stone unturned. Similarly, GPs evaluate all aspects of a patient's health, conducting thorough examinations to identify potential issues and create a baseline for future comparisons.
Good home inspectors and GPs both possess keen diagnostic skills. A home inspector can identify potential structural issues, electrical problems, or plumbing concerns. On the other hand, a GP uses diagnostic tools and medical expertise to identify health conditions and recommend appropriate treatments. Both professionals must interpret symptoms, identify root causes, and provide recommendations for remediation or further examination.
Both home inspectors and GPs emphasize the importance of preventative measures. A home inspector may suggest routine maintenance or repairs to prevent larger issues from arising. Similarly, GPs focus on preventive healthcare, advocating for healthy lifestyles, vaccinations, and regular screenings to catch potential health problems early.
Effective communication is vital for both professions. Home inspectors need to convey their findings clearly to homeowners, outlining potential issues and suggesting solutions. GPs must communicate health conditions, treatment plans, and lifestyle changes in a way that patients can understand. Clear communication builds trust and ensures that clients or patients can make informed decisions regarding their homes or health.
Holistic (or Systematic) Approach
Both home inspectors and general practitioners take a holistic approach to their work. Home inspectors consider the entire home system, understanding that issues in one area may have repercussions elsewhere. Similarly, GPs consider the interconnectedness of the human body, recognizing that symptoms in one area may be indicative of underlying issues in another.
In the grand tapestry of homeownership and healthcare, home inspectors and GPs weave a common thread of diligence, diagnostic expertise, preventative focus, effective communication, and a holistic approach. As we strive to maintain the health of our homes and our bodies, recognizing the similarities between these two professions highlights the importance of regular check-ups, thorough examinations, and a proactive mindset to ensure lasting well-being. Just as we trust our GPs to safeguard our health, we can rely on home inspectors (such as yours truly!) to be the guardians of our homes, ensuring they stand strong for years to come.
As someone who was born and raised in the suburbs and now lives in a typical suburban home in Halifax with my family, I imagined most of my clients would be in the Halifax and Dartmouth areas when I launched my business, so I had no plans to do water testing. These areas are serviced by Halifax Water via the Pockwock and Lake Major water treatment plants respectively. In short, our water is clean, safe and if for some reason conditions change, we will be instantly alerted.
It eventually became apparent that I was serving many clients in rural areas: I would estimate that over half the inspections I have done so far in 2023 are in what would commonly be considered rural areas. Upon adding water testing services earlier this year, it quickly became my most requested add-on service.
Why Water Testing Matters
I remember at the age of 9 moving to Dartmouth close to the water treatment plant on Lake Major and instantly noticing how the water tasted like swimming pool water! There was no question that chlorine was added to the water supply and as unpleasant as it was at least it wasn’t going to make one sick in that quantity. Unfortunately, many contaminants aren’t easily identifiable by the senses like that. We all know that water is commonly known by its chemical composition (H2O) as a molecule of water is made up of 2 Hydrogen atoms and 1 Oxygen atom. In theory that’s correct but water is almost never seen in its purest form. Here are a few chemicals frequently tested for in a water test and why.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element and prolonged exposure to As can lead to skin problems, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
While found in bedrock, Pb is rarely found in groundwater. The main concern is with Pb supply lines, which are concentrated mainly in Peninsular Halifax and the older section of Dartmouth. Lead can cause significant neurological issues, especially in children as well as many health problems in adults.
Nitrates (NO3) and Nitrites (NO2)
Both compounds are similar, with the difference being the number of oxygen atoms. Both commonly come from fertilizers and animal waste and can lead to health issues, most noticeably methemoglobinemia (commonly referred to as blue baby syndrome), caused by low oxygen in the blood.
Commonly known as that stuff in toothpaste, fluoride is related to, but not the same as the highly reactive element fluorine (F). F– is an ion (meaning it is electrically charged: in this case negative). While beneficial in very small amounts, excessive F– can lead to dental and bone problems known as fluorosis and large F- levels can lead to brain damage and even death. Luckily this is not really an issue with Nova Scotia groundwater but this fancy graph above highlights some of the many effects of F-
Contact us at Inside Edge for more information on the variety of water testing options we can provide for you. We’ll properly take samples and provide a report while interpreting the laboratory results in an easy-to-understand format.