North Van | Renovated Property

A North Vancouver house inspection identified multiple heating devices throughout the home. It was newly renovated. What does this tell the inspector about the reno?

Just finished a North Vancouver home inspection on a really well renovated one-and-a-half story mid-seventies house with a great inlet view. It was tastefully updated and nicely staged. However the following made my senses tingle. There were multiple heating sources including forced air furnace, baseboard heating, electric space heaters and in-floor electric radiant heating, sometimes all in the same room. There was also a wall-mounted air conditioner in the attic bedroom.

As my inspection is visual and non-destructive, I have no access to the walls or ceiling cavities. However I suspect an overall low insulation value. In summer the attic will be hot and uncomfortable, thus the air conditioner. In winter, it’s going to be cold, so the multiple heating sources.

Attics with a ‘A’ frame ceiling will have some type of sandwiched insulation. Walls on a mid-seventies house were 2×4’s. There was not much insulation that could be squeezed into either.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the ceiling and walls looked. There was no apparent damage from damp or moisture. When I opened the electrical panel or wall access hatches for valves, I did feel a breeze, which told me it was a well ventilated structure. Better said, the house was leaking air. The positive is that the any moisture laden air or odours are quickly removed. The negative is that there will be a lot of fresh air to heat or cool.

If I was the buyer I would certainly ask the seller for a disclosure statement regarding if the insulation was upgraded during the renovation. For example, there may have been spray-on foam applied, which was not visible.

The other item for the buyer to consider is to ask for the gas and electrical utility statements that span before and after the renovation period. Comparing the bills may shed light on whether the renovation improved the energy efficiency of the home or did it just make it more comfortable to live in with a higher utility bill to support that comfort.

Lack of energy efficiency is never a deal breaker. Location still trumps all and this house was ideal in this respect. It’s more a question of managing buyer expectations, with respect to expectations and what budget may be required to any future improvements.