Word/Terminology/Acronym Definition
ABS Acronym for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene; rigid black plastic pipe used only for drain lines.
AFCI Acronym for Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter. This is an advanced circuit breaker that breaks the circuit when it detects a dangerous electric arc in the circuit it protects to prevent electrical fires.
Asbestos Asbestos is a friable material which means that small fibres and clumps of fibres may be released into the air as dust. There are no significant health risks if the materials containing asbestos in your home or work are:

1. Tightly bound in the original product, and it is in good condition.

2. Sealed behind walls and floorboards.

3. Isolated in the attic.

4. Left undisturbed.

Asbestos is a hazard to health when the fibers are disturbed and become airborne. This means that asbestos poses health risks only when fibres are present in the air and then people breathe them into the lungs. Fibres can be released into the air through deterioration or when the material is cut or disturbed.

For more information go to: or

CO Acronym for Carbon Monoxide – a colourless, odourless, poisonous gas.
Combustion Air The ductwork installed to bring fresh outside air to the furnace and/or hot water heater.
DIY “Do it yourself” – the work was likely completed by the homeowner and not a professional trades-person.
Dezincification Dezincification selectively removes zinc from the alloy, leaving behind a porous, copper-rich structure that has little mechanical strength. An in-service valve suffering from dezincification has a white powdery substance or mineral stains on its exterior surface.
Double Tap A double tap occurs when two conductors are connected under one screw inside a panel board. Most circuit breakers do not support double tapping and it can cause overheating and electrical arcing – it presents the risk of fire.
ERV Energy recovery ventilation, also known as ERV, is an energy recovery ventilation system similar to an HRV but it also exchanges the humidity, either preserving the indoor humidity or ensure outdoor humidity does not enter the home. ERVs provide fresh air and improved climate control, while also saving energy by reducing heating (and cooling) requirements.
GFCI A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is a safety device that protects a person from electrical shock.
Ghosting Ghosting is when different shading of finishes at the wall framing can become visible over time, showing a “ghost” image of the framing behind the stucco or drywall. Wall finish surfaces between studs are better insulated and are more shielded from interior heat during the heating season than stucco/drywall over studs. Therefore, the surfaces between the studs stay cooler and very small dust and soot particles in the air tend to stick more on the cooler surfaces and accumulate over time, showing a darker shade. Because the particles are very small they can be difficult to wash off completely.
HRV Heat recovery ventilation, also known as HRV, mechanical ventilation heat recovery, or MVHR, is an energy recovery ventilation system using equipment known as a heat recovery ventilator, heat exchanger, air exchanger, or air-to-air heat exchanger which employs a counter-flow heat exchanger (countercurrent heat exchange) between the inbound and outbound air flow. HRVs provide fresh air and improved climate control, while also saving energy by reducing heating (and cooling) requirements.
HVAC Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
ICF Insulating concrete form (ICF) is a system of formwork for reinforced concrete usually made with a rigid thermal insulation that stays in place as a permanent interior and exterior substrate for walls, floors, and roofs.
Kitec Kitec plumbing consists of flexible aluminum pipe between an inner and outer layer of plastic pipe (PEX pipe) with brass fittings. Marketed as a more affordable and easy-to-install alternative to copper piping, Kitec was sold between 1995 and 2007 for potable water, in-floor, and hot-water heating systems. By 2005, Kitec plumbing had been recalled and was discontinued. A class action lawsuit was issued alleging that the Kitec® System “may be subject to premature failure and otherwise may not perform in accordance with the reasonable expectation of users.”
Leak, Leaking, Leakage Leak (or any variation of the word), when referred anywhere within this report, implies that there is potential for damage to the interior structure of the home, finishes or personal property due to the ongoing exposure to water.
OSB Oriented strand board (OSB), is a type of engineered lumber similar to particle board, formed by adding adhesives and then compressing layers of wood strands (flakes) in specific orientations.
PVC Acronym for polyvinyl chloride; rigid grey plastic pipe that can be used for waste water and venting.
Parging Parging is a concrete based decorative surface coating applied to the foundation. It is not part of the foundation system.
Poly-B Short form for Polybutylene Piping
Safety Safety, when referred to anywhere within this report, implies that the action and/or repair should be completed in order to prevent danger, risk, damage or injury to a person(s). All safety items should be completed upon possession.
Seepage Seepage can cause damage to the structure, finishes and/or personal belongings.
Stucco Stucco refers to all types of stucco installation including but not limited to, EIFS (Exterior Insulated Finished System), Cement based finishes, acrylic finishes, synthetic finishes and older rock dash stucco.
TPR The thermostat in a water heater shuts off the heating source when the set temperature is reached. If the thermostat fails, the water heater could have a continuous rise in temperature and pressure (from expansion of the water). The temperature and pressure could continue to rise until the pressure exceeds the pressure capacity of the tank (300 psi). If this should happen, the super-heated water would boil and expand with explosive force, and the tank would burst. The super-heated water turns to steam and turns the water heater into an unguided missile. To prevent these catastrophic failures, water heaters are required to be protected for both excess temperature and pressure. Usually, the means of protection is a combination temperature- and pressure-relief valve (variously abbreviated as T&P, TPV, TPR, etc.). Most of these devices are set to operate at a water temperature above 200° F and/or a pressure above 150 psi. Do not attempt to test the TPR valve yourself! Most water heating systems should be serviced once a year as a part of an annual preventive maintenance inspection by a professional heating and cooling contractor.
Vacuum Breaker The vacuum breaker on the cold water supply line to a water heater, prevents the tank from being siphoned dry (if it doesn’t have this built-in on the interior) and it prevents the tank from collapsing in a negative pressure situation.
WETT Wood Energy Technology Transfer Inc. (WETT Inc.) is a non-profit training and education association managed by a volunteer Board of Directors elected by holders of valid WETT certificates. Through its administrative designate, WETT Inc. functions as the national registrar of the WETT program. Through professional training and public education, WETT Inc. promotes the safe and effective use of wood-burning systems in Canada. For more information go to
Water Ingress Water ingress, when referred anywhere within this report, implies that water into the home has the potential to cause damage to the structure, finishes and personal belongings.
Water Management Ensuring all forms of water can flow properly and are directed away from the foundation and/or interior of the home. Improper management can cause water ingress or potential safety issues with water build-up around the home.
Wear & Tear Damage or deterioration to walls, trim, doors, baseboard, flooring, cabinets etc… resulting from the ordinary use of the home.