A Word about Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Here’s an interesting article from Pillar to Post Home Inspections…
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Avoidance and Prevention
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas produced by the combustion of fuels such as natural gas, oil, and propane in mechanical unit including furnaces, water heaters, and stoves. These items are normally designed to vent the CO to the outside, but harmful interior levels of CO can result from incomplete combustion of fuel, improper installation, or blockages, leaks or cracks in the venting systems. Very high levels of CO can lead to incapacitation or death, with victims sometimes never having been aware they were being poisoned.
Homeowners can take action against potential carbon monoxide poisoning by taking the following steps:

Have all fuel-burning appliances professionally inspected annually, preferably before the start of the cold-weather season when heaters and furnaces are first used.
These appliances include gas stoves and ovens, furnaces and heaters, water heaters, generators, and clothes dryers.
All such units should be properly installed and safely vented to the outside.
If repairs are necessary, be sure they are performed by a qualified technician.
Always use the proper fuel specified for the unit.
Have flues and chimneys for fuel-burning fireplaces or wood stoves inspected regularly for cracks, leaks, and blockages that may allow a buildup of CO to occur.
Never use gas stoves or ovens as a home heating source, even temporarily.
Do not idle a vehicle in a garage, even with the garage door open. When starting the car, open the garage door, start the engine, and drive out as soon as possible to prevent dangerous CO emissions from accumulating.
For additional protection, purchase a CO detector (either battery operated or plug-in) and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper location and installation. Installation of working CO detectors in residential properties is now required by law in many areas.
Learn what to do if the CO alarm activates: if anyone in the home experiences symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, or confusion, everyone should leave immediately and seek medical attention. If the alarm sounds but no symptoms are felt, open doors and windows immediately and shut off all fuel-burning devices that may be potential sources of CO.

Your local Pillar To Post office looks forward to serving real estate professionals and homeowners all year round. Contact us today!

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Cal Westholm

Certified Home Inspector

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Beware the New Northern Bruce Peninsula Comprehensive Zoning By-Law


First of all, I have to tell you that because of the huge outcry from residents about these New “Proposed” By-law changes that were recommended for approval, the Northern Bruce Peninsula Council has agreed to postpone the passing of these By-laws, “until further notice”.  However, it is my opinion that these will come up again in future and everyone should be aware and be prepared.

Having said that, I had the link from the Municipality to share with you so that you could review the changes yourselves, but found out that shortly after the meeting all documents regarding the New Comprehensive Zoning By-laws have been removed from both the Municipal site as well as from the Planning Department’s site.  Which I find surprising!  Unfortunately I didn’t save the files because they were too large.

I called the Municipality and was told “We don’t think you need to worry about that” and “There is no impact on anything at the present time.”  However, if you want to do anything to your property now, they are verbally quoting from the New Comprehensive Zoning By-Law…and…Here’s an excerpt from a recent letter from the Planning Department regarding an issue with one of my client’s properties:

“Staff have proposed to change the zoning of the lands from C4 to R2 (or an analogous LR Lake Residential*) zone as part of a recommended new comprehensive zoning by-law for the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula that would replace by-law 2002-54. The Municipality has deferred passage of this by-law in order to address other matters with the by-law that are unrelated to your property. At present there appear to be two options:
1. Allow the zoning to be addressed through a comprehensive zoning by-law review/ change as is currently underway, noting that the timeline for this by-law is unclear”

*this is a new zoning category in the New Comprehensive Zoning By-law

When the County and Province are recommending sweeping changes to our properties and have spent a huge amount of money and time into preparing a document for New Comprehensive Zoning By-laws in this area, I have a hard time believing that we won’t be seeing this again.

I will point out that major changes were to EH (more of it identified especially in the Tobermory area) and a new EH-a (Provincially Significant Wetlands), which has significant impact on many properties due to the 120 metre set back.  When I reviewed the EH-a, I discovered there is a huge area in Stokes Bay, Little Pine Tree Harbour/Pleasant Harbour and Dorcas Bay where an “Environmental Impact Study” may need to be completed before building or altering your properties.

Also, most of Lions Head and Isthmus Bay would be impacted with a similar “may” need an “Environmental Impact Study” for what is called “Intake Protection Zones”.

I did save the maps for these and have highlighted the areas affected, for your review.  Here’s the link:


I did not have enough time to review all changes before the links were removed, sorry!

The changes were made “public” by placing an ad in the Tobermory Press.  It took some time for residents to digest this and begin the outcry.  I am sure that many people are still in the dark.  I found it interesting in the report (link below) that they decided not to mail this out to all residents because they wanted to “save costs” (page 2 under Notice of Public Hearing).

I am attaching the link for the Minutes of the Council meeting (which I attended) as well as the link for the full report from the Planning Department and letters to the Planning Department from residents.  Hopefully these links will still be available (if not, I have saved both on my computer).  This will give you a very good idea of the sweeping proposed changes.

Report on new by-laws:


Minutes of Council meeting:


If you have any questions, feel free to call me, I’ll share what I know, but I can no longer review the zoning maps (because they too have been removed) to tell you how this may have impacted your property.

I will inform you of any new developments should this become active again.


Let’s talk about “Poop”

Click on photo to Link to Further Information

Click on photo to Link to Further Information

If you are buying a cottage, a rural home or lot, for the first time, chances are you are going to want to know about septic systems.  Simply put, a septic is a management system to treat your wastewater—anything that is put down a toilet and anything that goes down your drain.  Waste flows down from the house to the tank, and down from the tank to a “title bed”.  A traditional septic system is a completely passive system (there are other systems, but that’s a topic for another blog).

Basically, you have a tank that is buried in your yard.  As per the diagram below, wastewater flows into the tank from your house at one end (A) and leaves the tank at the other (E).


As new water enters the tank, it displaces the water that’s already there. This water (C) flows out of the septic tank and into a “tile bed”.  A tile bed is made of perforated pipes buried in trenches in your yard.  This water is then naturally filtered through the earth.

Anything heavier than water, sinks to the bottom of the tank, this is called sludge (D). Soap suds and fats form a floating layer at the top known as “scum” (B).

The organic material in your wastewater is broken down by bacteria, which is a by-product of human waste.  This is a natural process which helps to reduce any scum and sludge from leaving with the water that flows into the tile bed.  Scum and sludge are what must be pumped out so that they do not begin to leave the tank with the water and plug up the tile bed.  You should pump out every 3 to 5 years depending on use.

Here’s an overhead view of the system of your house (A), tank (B), distribution box (C) and tile bed (D), in a traditional septic there are usually 5 runs in the tile bed.


It is important to limit the use of soaps and bleaches that may make their way into your septic tank as these can kill off the bacteria needed to reduce scum and sludge.  Avoid chemicals and reduce the amount of toilet paper used.

To keep your system healthy you need to understand it and be able to educate your family and guests.  A good slogan for everyone using your system is:  “If you didn’t eat it, don’t flush it”.

Here are some links for further information on septic systems:

Septic system brochure:  http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@ene/@resources/documents/resource/std01_079839.pdf

Septic system guide:


Northern Bruce Peninsula Septic Guide:



Kathy Dimaline is a Real Estate Broker for RE/MAX Grey Bruce Realty Inc.  The comments on this Blog are the opinions, only, of Kathy Dimaline and do not constitute any legal advice or legal opinion and does not represent the interests or opinions of RE/MAX Grey Bruce Realty Inc., brokerage.