Does your home have a whole house humidifier on your furnace?  If you do then you should read this article.  I found a reservoir whole house humidifier on a furnace while performing a home inspection in Wilmette, Illinois.  Humidifiers are systems that run water through them while air from the furnace passes through to add moisture to the air.  Mold is known to breed in humidifiers along with other systems in a home. There are two types of whole house humidifiers that can be installed on a furnace supply duct.

  • Pad filtered whole house humidifiers allow the bypass of warm air through the filter of the humidifier which attracts moisture to the warm air.  This air is circulated throughout the home through the duct system of the home.  These types of whole house humidifiers are not known to have high counts of mold.
  • Reservoir whole house humidifiers have water in the bottom of the humidifier where a fan turns with filters on it.  The warm air passes through the filters and the moisture is added to the warm air.  These whole house humidifiers are known to breed mold because of the standing water in the unit.

Both of these types of whole house humidifiers are good for the purpose they are intended for.  They both should be cleaned with dish soap and water to clean out any possible mold growth.   These units should be cleaned annually or replaced every three years to prevent mold breeding.  If regular cleaning of the humidifier the possibility of mold in the ducts will be diminished greatly.  Replacement of a whole house humidifier should only cost $275.00.

Unfortunately, the Wilmette home inspection came up with moist air that was found with hygrometer and surface mildew that I felt that my clients should know what it was.  I suggested a mold inspection for my clients in their new home in Wilmette, Illinois.

I performed a mold air test, a swab sample mold test on the ducts from that the furnace that had a humidifier that happened to have a large amount of mold in it.  The mold inspection in Wilmette came up positive with Stachybotrys which is sometimes called “Black Mold”.  The ducts from the furnace were the area that had evidence of Stachybotrys mold in it and I suggested that the ducts be cleaned by a professional HVAC contractor that had experience with Mediation of mold in ducts.

As you can see mold can come and live anywhere in your home.  My clients from the Wilmette mold inspection were amazed that the mold would be living in the humidifier and contaminate the ducts and rest of the home when in use.  If you have questions about mold and where it can live please contact me at ~ The Mold Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke 

As you know, the home sales have been meager in the last few years.  Many of the part time home inspectors have disappeared from the industry. Those that have stayed are well behind the times with their technology, marketing, reporting and knowledge of construction.  There are home inspectors that I know for a fact that have never wore a pair of work boots and/or stepped on a construction job site!  It’s like hiring a baker that has never baked in his life, but read the book!  Do you see where I’m going with this?  The state of Illinois says you must be licensed to be a home inspector.  Home inspection companies do not have to carry errors and omission insurance or carry liability insurance.  No rules for that?  There are no rules that you must have prior construction history.  No I do not mean reading a book or painting a fence, working on cars, cleaning your house, or a weekend warrior job.  These things do not make you credible as a home inspector in my mind!  So I developed this list to protect the possible home and condo buyers from the people who call themselves home inspectors, but do not have the so called credibility for the title.

  • What kind of construction have you done in your life time and for how many years?
  • What is the company that supplies your errors and omission insurance?
  • Do you have general liability insurance and where is it from, so you can check to see if it is current?
  • What kind of tools do you use when you do a home inspection?
  • Do you use a Thermal imager?
  • How is your report delivered?

As most of you know, I am from Wilmette Illinois and have been a pillar in the building community for many years.  I started doing home inspections in Wilmette for friends that wanted a builder to assist them before there was licensing in the business.  Recently, I performed a Wilmette home inspection and I heard that a home inspector flooded out a home in Wilmette and the buyers and realtor were going to be liable for the damages because the home inspector was not insured.  Better yet not even licensed!  This angers me to no end that these types of home inspectors are still in business.

If you are a buyer or seller of a home and have questions on what to ask your possible home inspector then please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke



In this economical market everyone is trying to save money every way possible.  I find that many home owners try to maneuver their thermostat with double digit movements.

I recently met a couple that hired me to inspect their new home in Wilmette, Illinois.  The home boasted 3 floors with two split heating and cooling systems.  A split system is a heating and cooling system with an exterior cooling system.  This is standard in newer homes.  Generally, the compressor is the part of a cooling system that is on the outside of the home and the “a-coil” is the portion above the furnace in a plenum. To heat and cool a home of the size I was inspecting in Wilmette, you would most definitely need two heating systems and two cooling systems.

I overheard my clients from the Wilmette home inspection explaining to each other how they were going to keep the thermostat very low when they were not home and turn it up when they came home.  I explained to them that their gas and electric bills would be 50% higher due to this vast movement in temperature.

You can adjust your thermostat up to 5 degrees and not see much of a change in your utility bills.  When you increase these temperature spreads the furnace or air conditioner must run longer to catch up to the new desired temperature.  Example- If you keep your thermostat at 70 degrees during the day when you are home and at night when you are sleeping you set the thermostat to 60 degrees your heating/cooling system will need to run for at least 1-2 hours to catch up.  If this is done daily the costs can be compounded.

My clients from the Wilmette home inspection thought the complete opposite, as do most people.  I also advised having your heating /cooling system evaluated by a heating contractor annually.  This generally costs $99.00 depending on where you live.  You can see other repair prices at home inspection repair prices.

As you now can see, maneuvering your thermostat takes some finesse when trying to save some money on your utility bills.  Keep your thermostat movement to no more than 5 degrees and you will save money in the big picture.  If you have further questions, contact me at Wilmette home inspector.

·         Thanks for stopping by and get saving your money.  Jim Kolke

Home inspections in Wilmette Illinois show many architectural styles of homes. Wilmette is broken in two distinct areas by the train tracks or Green Bay road.  There is the East side of Green Bay and the West side. Generally some of the oldest homes reside on the east side of Green bay road.

The C.A.G.E. area in the east side of Wilmette is a very desirable area because of the overhanging trees that line the streets made of bricks. The homes generally are turn of the century.   Home inspections in Wilmette Illinois historic east side is always a great adventure. This area boasts some great architectural feats like that of the Bahia Temple.

When we get contracted for home inspections in Wilmette Illinois west side we tend to see more homes built in the 1950′s.  This is true for homes the farther west you go.  These homes are generally the ones that sell more frequently because it seems that they are more affordable.   That doesn’t mean that the quality of the home is inferior to the homes inspected in Wilmette Illinois east side.  They are just different styles.

Traditionally you will see colonials and split levels in the west side of Wilmette. If you are moving to Wilmette and need a home inspector with a background in older architecture contact us at~

Thank you for reading our blog.

Jim Kolke