Urea formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI)
Uffi has been talked about for many years. UFFI was approved in Canada for use in exterior wood-frame walls only. Urea formaldehyde foam insulation was used mainly in the 1970’s. This was the era when there was a push to create more energy efficient homes. During this period, governments offered financial incentives to improve the insulation levels in your home. This program was called CHIP (Canadian Home Insulation program). There was an estimated 100,000 homes in Canada that were insulated with UFFI. UFFiI is still considered to be one of the best insulations created.
Uffi originates back to the 1950's in Europe where it was developed as a way to insulate difficult to reach places in walls. Uffi consists of urea formaldehyde resin, a foaming agent and compressed air. When this is injected into a wall, the urea and the formaldehyde cure and form an insulating foam plastic. UFFI has a good insulating value (R value rating) which is used to measure or evaluate the insulations ability to resist heat flow.
Formaldehyde is colorless, and has a very strong odor. It can be found in diapers, cosmetics, paints, cigarette smoke, dry cleaning chemicals, gas appliances, wood stoves, fireplaces, no-iron fabrics, and paper products.Typically formaldehyde levels in homes are 0.03 to 0.04 parts per million (ppm). Homes with new carpeting can reach levels of 0.16 ppm.
Temperature and humidity effect the rate at which formaldehyde gases are released from materials into the air; as the temperature and humidity increase, so will the gas that will be released.
UFFI was banned in Canada in December 1980, because during the insulation process, an excess of formaldehyde was added to ensure complete “curing” with the urea, which produces urea-formaldehyde foam. The excess was given off during the curing process within one or two days of injection.
If UFFI was installed properly, there may have never been any problems. However, there where UFFI was improperly installed or improperly used in locations where it should never haven been, problems started.
It was reported that some people experienced respiratory difficulty, eye irratation, running noses, and headaches as a result of having UFFI in their homes. When UFFI comes into contact with water or moisture, it can break down. UFFI should only be removed by a trained professional.
After much research, it appeared that urea formaldehyde foam insulation did not been the health risks that was initially thought.
Concerns of health risks with homes that has or had UFFI created a stigma, and makes selling the home very difficult. . Even if the UFFI was removed, the perceived health issues made selling a home at market value very difficult.
Prior to 1993, mortgage insurer's would have the Seller sign a declaration stating that to the best of their knowledge, there was not UFFI used to insulate the home. This declaration was discontinued since then.
If you would like any additional information on UFFI, please give us a call.
When the Seller leaves the property in a mess?
One of the most disappointing calls that we receive as Realtors is when one of our Buyer’s calls us to inform us that the home that they purchased was left in a mess.
Some of the calls that we receive after the deal has closed, and the seller has moved out is that the Seller has left their unwanted junk. We have seen empty bottles, empty paint cans, old furniture, broken tools, broken glass, or a garage or shed just full of debris.
When Sellers leave the home is this state, they are actually in breach of their signed and accepted Agreement of Purchase and Sale. We inform our Buyer’s that one section of the purchase contract states, that the property must be maintained in the same condition as it was on the date of the offer was accepted. (Within reason normal wear and tear).
The difficulty is the fact that the condition of the property is discovered after the transaction is completed. We usually include at least one or two re-entries into the property prior to the closing. The main purpose of this last re-entry is to view the property to determine if the Seller has maintained the home. It’s also gives us an opportunity to see if any of the agreed upon repairs (if any) have been completed.
The remedies that the Buyer has if the property is left in poor shape, is to notify their solicitor as soon as possible. The Buyer’s solicitor will in turn write and send a letter to the Seller’s solicitor. At this stage most of the Sellers have little motivation to co-operate. In the event that the lawyers can’t resolve the issue, the only other remedy is small claims court. With small claims court it is usually is not worth the expense, time and energy for the amount that the clean up would cost; unless there is substantial damage.
The other issue that arises is to determine how both parties will agree on the cost of damages. This can cause additional legal expenses and frustration on both sides.
Typically, most Sellers are conscientious and clean their homes before they leave. Unfortunately, there is always a small percentage of sellers who unfortunately do not.
How swimming pools affect property values
The price of purchasing and installing a pool can range from $10,000 to $70,000 or more. If you live in a home and want to invest in a pool, you should be aware that your investment would NOT be recouped when you list your home for sale. A pool is for your enjoyment but not as an investment.
Most homebuyers do not like purchasing a home with an in-ground pool.
The main reason is safety. Especially Buyer’s with young children want to avoid the risks that are associated with in-ground pools.
Maintaining a pool can be also is expensive. Buyers who are considering purchasing a home with a pool should first research the costs of cleaning and maintaining the pool, including the using the chemicals, etc.
Home insurance costs also increase when you have an in-ground pool.
When you have an in ground pool, you will require to take all needed precautions to prevent accidents. You should check with the city to familiarize yourself with the local by-laws regarding fence requirements around pools.
In general the marketplace does not consider a pool as an asset; unless your pool is in a higher end home, with a large lot. Most Buyers’ purchasing a home with a pool understands that they are receiving the pool for free or at a minimal cost.
An in-ground pool can limit you resale value and will also decrease the number of Buyer’s that will even consider viewing your home. Most Buyer’s just do not want an in ground pool.
If you truly would like a pool, you can consider purchasing an aboveground pool. They are less expensive than in ground pools and can be easily dismantled/removed when you are selling your home.
Another option is to consider a hot tub. Unlike pools, hot tubs don't limit the number of potential Buyers when it comes time to sell your home. In fact, hot tubs can actually improve the appeal of your home, because you can use the hot tub all year long. Because the covers are heavy and can be locked, hot tubs aren't considered a threat to children as pools
Can the electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) cause health effects?
An "electromagnetic field" is an electric field generated by charged particles in motion, and radiated fields, which includes, TVs, hair dryers, radios, and microwave ovens.
The field is always strongest when you are close to the source and decreases as you move away from the source.
These energies can affect you from great distances. The radiation from a radio tower allows you to pick up a signal from distant radio antenna.
All agree that more research is required to determine safe or dangerous levels.
(ES) Electromagnetic hypersensitivity, is a physiological disorder caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields. It produces neurological and allergic-type symptoms.
Symptoms are: dizziness, skin irritation or rash, eye irritation, headache, nausea, facial swelling, pain in joints and/or muscles, buzzing/ringing in the ears, weakness, fatigue, skin numbness, abdominal pressure and pain, breathing difficulty, and irregular heartbeat.
Individuals may experience these symptoms following exposure to a new EMF source, such as: a new computer or new fluorescent lights, a new home or work environment:
To help reduce risk:
Try to increase the distance between yourself from your computer terminal, don't let children play directly under power lines, and turn off your computer monitor and other electrical appliances when you aren't using them.
Be aware of your surroundings, hair dryers, alarm clocks, microwave ovens, and computers emit EMFs . Try to rearrange your furniture, desks, beds, and couches away from heaters, fluorescent lights, wiring, and electric doorbells.
Finally, use shielding devices on your computer screens, on your cell phones, on your household wiring, and circuit box/ transformer.