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Septic Tanks 101: Maintenance & Repair Tag: inspections

Schematic of a standard septic tank. Credit to Tilley, E., Ulrich, L., Lüthi, C., Reymond, Ph., and Zurbrügg, C.

Safe disposal of human waste is a concern of any town or city. Wastewater can contain dangerous pathogens like bacteria and viruses (such as hepatitis, salmonella, E. coli, and cholera), and elements like nitrogen and phosphates which can harm wildlife and local water quality.

Municipal sewer systems and water treatment facilities have a number of ways to counteract these dangers, but what about houses that are off the sewage grid? In the Greater Victoria area, houses without sewer service typically have a septic tank system on their property — which the homeowners are responsible for.

In this post I'll be going over the general workings of a septic tank system, and what you as a homeowner might need to know to keep your tank safe and maintained.

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The Bones Of A House: What Makes A Good Home Tag: inspections

The wood frame of a house under construction. Credit to Jaksmata on Wikimedia.

As one of the biggest investments one can make in a lifetime, homeowners want and expect their homes to last a long time. But not all buildings — or building materials — are made equal.

Homes of a certain age in BC are more prone to some issues than others. Condos built in the 1990s often have leaking issues, while those built in the 70s can have poor plumbing and elevators. Homes built from the 1960s all the way up until the early 90s can contain harmful asbestos. Buildings constructed prior to the 1950s, the start of official building codes, can have everything from poor foundations to faulty wiring.

Everything is fixable for a price, but many home buyers may not have the budget to replace or upgrade the core "bones" of a house. I'll be reviewing some of the warning signs to watch out for when touring a home, as well as what kind of systems and materials are preferred.

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What To Do In A Bidding War Tag: inspections

Sotheby's auctioneer Adrian Biddell takes bids for Eamonn McCabe's 'Herbie Hancock' at the FT & Sightsavers Seasonal Appeal Photography Auction at Getty Images Gallery, London.

In a hot real estate market, emotions often run high and tough situations are common. And more often than not, you'll find a bidding war at the heart of those situations. Bidding wars can be high-stress for both the buyers and the seller, and contrary to popular belief, they aren't always the way to get the best price for your home.

With that in mind, there are ways to minimize the stress and increase your chances of getting the home you really want.

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Winterizing Your Home In BC Tag: inspections

Lights reflecting off a rainy road and metal bench on Douglas St. in Victoria BC. Credit: hobvias sudoneighm on Flickr.

There's a large number of "how to winterize your home" articles on the internet, but if you live on the west coast you may have noticed that most of them are aimed at home owners further east — home owners who have to deal with large amounts of snow and subzero temperatures.

Being located in a temperate climate, much of the BC coast and Victoria in particular has different concerns when it comes to preparing for winter. Instead of snow and ice, we need to prepare for high levels of rainfall and strong winds, as many of us realized during last Tuesday's storm!

To help you ready your home for the upcoming season, I've compiled this guide on winterizing your home for a west coast winter. It's never too late to get started!

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