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North Vancouver, BC, Canada
Musings of chief inspector and president of SENWI House Inspections

Saturday, July 26, 2014

SENWI Hiatus until Spring 2016

I would personally like to thank all our wonderful clients who have entrusted SENWI for your house inspections needs over the last 7 years.  You have made the job enjoyable and interesting.

I have decided to embark on a life long dream of building my own house and will be taking a hiatus from inspecting for the balance of 2014 and all of 2015.  SENWI will relaunch in the spring of 2016.
If you wish to follow my progress on the construction of this showcase house, please visit

Should you require inspection services during our hiatus please contact me and I will refer you to other inspectors with the same passion for thorough and independent home inspections.

Once again, we thank you for your past business and look forward to working with you in the future.

Yours Truly,

Sean Wiens - President, SENWI House Inspections

Monday, January 20, 2014

9V Batteries - One families close to death experience.

A friend recently forwarded a YouTube video series describing a families near death experience with a fire in their home caused by the 9V battery in their smoke detector.

The husband has tried to create a positive out of this terrible tragedy by creating a video series on fire safety.  There are 4 videos in the Kids and Character Series and I would like to recommend that you make it a priority to review these with your family ASAP.  Taking a few moments now can save your life.

I have personally been involved with extinguishing two substantial fires in my life and can attest to the ineffectiveness of a single fire extinguisher and the irrational thoughts that one has in the heat of the moment.  In both my cases, I had multiple extinguishers being supplied (6 or more 20lb units) by others and was able to extinguish the blaze, but in both cases I was at risk due to the confined quarters of the blase, or in the first case, by the fact that if I had been unable to extinguish the blaze, my path of escape would have been blocked.

I have known about the power of a 9V for some time because it is a common camping fire starter using just the battery and some steel wool.   I was horrified when I viewed these videos and decided to check out my own 'bag of batteries' and was very grateful I did.  As you can see in the photos below, I have several 9V batteries embroiled with the other batteries in the bag.  Fortunately none of them had yet shorted out, but as I would have added more batteries or placed something over top of the bag, who knows if the contact between the terminals of two of the 9V's could have occurred.

A bag of batteries can kill.  I looked at the bag of batteries I have in my own house only to discover 6 or more 9V batteries tossed in.
If you look close, you will see a 9V battery buried in the pile in an inverted position and resting against other batteries.  Good thing they had a plastic coating. But what happens when a 9V shorts out with the terminals on another 9 volt.  Watch the videos to find out.

So please stay safe and put a little time aside to watch the four videos and make the required changes in your life.  Especially look at the end of the second video discussing the need to replace the emergency release chord on your garage door with a chain.  Should you have any questions on how to do this, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I want to thank Dave for taking such a difficult step to document his personal tragedy.  You just may have saved a life or property at my house.