Spring is the time when many Canadian homeowners are tasked with repaying sky-high winter heating bills. This can be caused by air leakage from the home’s building envelope. This outer layer of a home is what protects residents from nature’s elements. In simple terms, it includes anything on the outside of the home. Roofs, walls, windows, floors and insulation all contribute to what is considered a home’s building envelope.   Improperly sealed windows and doors allow heat to easily escape the home, resulting in additional heating costs for the owner. AmeriSpec pre-purchase home inspections can help identify areas of air leakage in a home, ultimately helping you make the most informed decision possible when buying a home. Our home inspections help steer homebuyers away from paying sky-high heating bills, ultimately helping consumers save money.

Building envelope inspections take a closer look at a home’s windows

Window leaks can be a huge cause for concern when homeowners live in cold climates. Many Canadians are no strangers to -20 degrees Celsius, and air leaks through windows can result in some major, unexpected costs. Further, colder temperatures can even slowly deteriorate windows, ultimately causing increased heating costs.  Exceptionally cold weather slowly eats away at a home's windows, causing cracks and leaks in the caulking, and other materials that complete a proper building envelope. If a home is older and has wooden window frames instead of aluminum or vinyl, the window frame itself can be damaged by snow and ice build-up. If a poor job has been completed on the installation of new windows, the benefits of such an installation could be lost as heat escapes through the window frame.

Spot air leakage faults in a home with a building envelope inspection

Air leakage problems flow both ways, as air infiltration into a home can make a room feel much less comfortable. When warm air leaks into a home's attic, it can even cause the build-up of mould and mildew, slowly rotting a home's structure. Moisture can be transported throughout a home that doesn't have a proper building envelope, harming the home’s existing insulation.  Prospective homebuyers should also consider that windows might not be properly glazed and installed, giving rooms a consistent chilly feeling. When rooms always feel cold, even with the thermostat is turned up, this is always a red flag.

Building envelope inspections can pinpoint heat loss issues in a home

Here are some of the major signs of issues related to heat loss through a building’s envelope.


Condensation on your walls can be a sign of missing insulation, which will make for chilly winters and expensive heating bills. Even more so, condensation found anywhere, including walls or windows, is a sign of elevated humidity levels in the home. This may require additional ventilation or the removal of a humidifier at the furnace. Condensation in an attic is another sign that a home might have issues with the building envelope. This could also mean that the home’s roof is seriously damaged, and will most likely be very costly to repair. An AmeriSpec pre-purchase home inspection can further uncover any issues that could need repairs.

Mould formation

Mould buildup presents risks to both your health and comfort levels. Excessive mould build-up can make you and your family sick. Should it be discovered, further inspection should be undertaken. Before you buy a new home, inspect walls and ceilings for mould with a full building envelope inspection.

Plaster damage

Damage to the plaster of a home could mean serious issues with not just air leakage, but also the building’s structure. Should these issues present themselves before buying a home, prospective buyers should consider further investigation to ensure they are making the right decision. Buying a home with serious plaster damage could mean structural and building envelope repairs are needed, seriously harming the home’s value.  You can spot these warning signs early on with an AmeriSpec pre-purchase home inspection.

Building envelope inspections can save homebuyers money for years to come

Fully addressing a home's air leakage issues means repairing the home's overall building envelope. A cold room might mean that a home needs to have its windows repaired or insulation amounts increased, but issues of condensation and mould build-up can mean so much more.  Structural issues including the home's roof might need to be addressed in order to live comfortably and safely. If problems are left unaddressed, a homeowner’s monthly heating costs could skyrocket. Elsewhere, more serious building envelope issues could cost tens of thousands of dollars to address.

Book your AmeriSpec pre-purchase home inspection today

Remember, waiving a pre-purchase home inspection could mean waving goodbye to your hard-earned savings and hello to costly building envelope repairs. Never waive your right and book an AmeriSpec pre-purchase home inspection (including a building envelope inspection) to uncover every detail for you to reach the right decision. AmeriSpec has over 30 years of home inspection industry experience. When you need to take the next step, call our team at 866-284-6010.