Some people love the idea of  owning a huge home.  What do I mean by “huge home”?  I mean a home that has the need of multiple split heating systems that have zones to accommodate the size of the home.  Generally homes that are more than 3000 square feet need to have multiple split systems.  My home inspection in Chicago was a 4000 square foot home nestled in Roscoe Village.  Roscoe Village is a great neighborhood just west of Lake View.  The Roscoe Village neighborhood is known for its trendy restaurants and happening corner pubs.

My clients from the Chicago home inspection were definitely excited to move to their new home.  This was the last hurtle to home ownership here in Chicago.  I explained that this inspection would take longer than an average single family home inspection.  When you have a home the size of my home inspection in Roscoe Village you have to set aside at least 3-5 hours to ensure proper investigation of all components.  One of the most important issues that I need to concern myself with is furnaces and a-coils in attics.

The proper way of installing a furnace and a-coil or split system in an attic is with a flood pan with a drain and a buoy limit switch that will prevent water damage to the rest of the home below that portion of the attic.   My Chicago home inspection explained why I’m so serious about this portion of the home inspection process.

There was no pan for the split system and water was found on the sheathing of the attic floor.  The condensate drain was installed by an amateur or at least in an amateur style.  My advise to my clients from the Roscoe Village home inspection was to have a overflow pan with limit switch installed immediately by a licensed HVAC contractor.  My clients were very lucky that we caught this before they purchased the home.  The repairs were only $645.89 but there could have been water issues or even worse mold.  In their case it all worked out and they are enjoying the Roscoe Village neighborhood.

If you are buying a home with multiple split systems make sure all the issues in my blog are covered by your inspector.  If you need further help with these issues please contact us at~

Please leave a comment or a question we can help you with.

Thank you~ Jim Kolke

House wrap or Tyvec wrap is used in every home or building to prevent water intrusion into the building envelope.  In this blog, I will explain how some rehabbers try to deceive home inspectors.

 I was hired for a home inspection in Waukegan, Illinois.  I was told that the home was not a foreclosure or a short sale.  Generally, when I inspect a foreclosure or a short sale there is a large laundry list of issues that need to rectified.  That is not an issue with most buyers who are looking at a bank owned property because they are going into the deal with the idea that there will be numerous issues to do to make the home the way they want it.  Also, the buyers of bank owned properties generally receive a large discount in price for their potential sweat equity.

In the case of the home inspection in Waukegan there were over 120 items that would need to be repaired or replaced.  Generally when I do  a home inspection I spend no more than an hour outside of the home.  When I pulled up to the home inspection in Waukegan I was very concerned with the home’s health.  The home was originally built in the 1940′s and was recently rehabbed in 2008.  What caught my eye was the total disregard for installation of the siding that happened to be “Hardiboard”.   Hardiboard is a great product when installed properly.  None of the connections were sealed at the edges, majority of the siding material wasn’t nailed into the sheathing and the areas that were nailed in were nailed incorrectly.

On further inspection of the siding, I found that a section literally fell off the wall where I noticed that the “Tyvec wrap” wasn’t secured to the wall and there was no insulation between the siding and wrap!  The “Tyvec” wrap secures the home against water entering the sheathing and causing water damage or worse – mold!  The Waukegan Home inspection seemed to start off bad and I thought there would be a chance that the rest of the home would get better.

Boy was I wrong.

Like I said in the beginning of this blog , I found over 120 issues that would need to be corrected.  My client wanted a definitive number on the repairs, so I called a general contractor who came up with over $100,000.00 worth of repairs.  This blog is not meant to scare home buyers,  it’s here to educate home buyers.  If you’re buying a home make sure every area and system is tested and explained to you so that you can be educated on your home.

If  you are buying a foreclosure or a home you think has issues and have question about what to look for contact us at~

Please leave a comment.  Thanks~ Jim Kolke


Spa tubs in a home or condo can be a real treat to enjoy and relax.  These type of tubs are great to have when they work properly.  There are multiple things that can go wrong with these tubs that can cost the home owner quite a bit of money though.  This was definitely the issue on my recent Chicago home inspection.

My Chicago home inspection was a apartment building that was recently converted to condos in 2008. There are quite a few buildings like this in the Lincoln Square neighborhood in Chicago.  The Lincoln Square home inspection neighborhood is known for its first original settlers which were Germans.  You can still see some of the remnants of this nationality by there stores in the Lincoln Square on Western and Lincoln.

The condo that I was inspecting had never been lived in.  In fact out of the 6 units only 2 were occupied.  This condo building was definitely feeling the effects of the poor housing market conditions.  Concerns for further condo associations were definitely a issue with the lack of condo owners this left the costs to the 3 tenants.

Minimal issues did come up but are easily remedied at the home inspection in Chicago.  There was 1 issue that could have caused serious damage to the condo unit below if  my client would have opted out of the home inspection process.  While filling the spa tub I noticed that there wasn’t an access panel to service the motor, heater, piping or electric under the tub.  This is very dangerous which is proven by this inspection.   The tub was filled past the aerators or blowers so that water could be circulated.  I engaged the air switch which allows electric to the blower motors.  The spa tub seemed to be running normal until I heard running water and the level of water falling in the tub. Luckily the builder of the home inspection in Chicago was on premises while the inspection was being done.  We went into the unit below and found that water was coming out of the bathroom light fixture.  We got towels from my bag and started to clean the water up.

My advise to my client of the Chicago home inspection was to have the builder supply an access panel to inspect the spa tubs inner working.  The tub would definitely need to be pulled so that corrections could be made.  If an access panel would have been installed repairs could have been made immediately.  The builder was especially thankful that the inspection found these issues before the building was totally occupied.

If you have any questions about jacuzzi tubs or other home inspection issues please contact us at ~

Thanks for stopping by.  Jim Kolke

Attics??  If you own a home you probably have one, but the question is “Have you been up in it to see the conditions”?  The attic of a home can be used for storage or just be the structural component for the roof.  It really depends how the home was built.  I was contracted for a home inspection in Wheaton, Illinois.  My clients were very concerned of the condition of this homes attic because on their last home there were major issues that were found after they purchased the home.

Attics are constructed in a couple of different ways.  The first style of building an attic is called a ”rafter”.  The second is called  a “truss” and that was what my Wheaton home inspection  happened to be.  A truss built attic basically means that  the structure was pre-built and brought out to the site and installed with heavy equipment.  Using the truss built attics for storage will be very limited because of the way the attic is structured.  Rafter built attics are what we call “stick built”.  That means that the structure was built on site piece by piece.   Rafter built homes offer great storage areas in attics.

We check many things when in an attic.  I look at the condition of the structure, roof sheeting, moisture issues, insulation condition, insulation depth, framing, ventilation, attic fans, house fans, bathroom fans, attic access, lighting, and possible heating systems for large homes.  You can see me inspect an attic at  and many other areas on a real home inspection.  The Wheaton home inspection had 2 issues that would need to be taken care of pretty quick.

The first issue in the attic of the home inspection in Wheaton was the insulation which was rolled fiberglass that happened to be only 6″.  It is definitely under insulated.  I like to see 12″ to 15″ of insulation in the attic t ensure proper R-rating.  Under insulated attics is the number 1 reason of energy loss in the United States.

The 2nd item found at the Wheaton home inspection was the thermastatic attic fan was inoperable.  The temperature in the attic was 149 degrees on a 77 degree day.  The attic fan will need to be replaced or structural issues will begin to rear their head.  When you have excessive heat in an attic, roof shingles overheat from the bottom and the roof sheating  can delaminate and sag.  There were not any soffits at this home and only roof vents.  That means getting a cross breeze was not going to happen.  Either a new attic fan was to be installed or adding more roof vents.

If you own a home or are buying a home that you think has attic issues contact us at ~

Please leave a comment. ~ Thanks~ Jim Kolke

All homes have a kitchen and we all think that the appliances that are in these kitchens are safe?  The only way we know if their is any concerns is if they come up on a recall list that is supplied by the manufacturer.  These are things that we inspect.  In fact, our client from a home inspection in Darien, Illinois wanted to know if all the appliances worked properly.  I explained that we inspected all these items on a regular basis.  The concern is if they work and they have flaws with their systems that have been recalled.

This particular home inspection in Darien had an electric range.  Electric ranges do not generally pose a problem.  The issue is when the units malfunction.  When there is an issue the manufacturer posts a news release of issues of the particular model so repairs or replacements are able to be given out.

Like I said, the Darien home inspection had a Kenmore electric range that came up on a recall list for issues with the control pad knobs.  Some units would turn on spontaneously and some would not shut off.  There are causes of fires that have been reported and property damages from these issues.

I flagged the items at the Darien home inspection for recalls and had to notify the homeowners to prevent any safety issues.

If you own a home or are buying a home and are concerned if the appliances are on a recall list contact us at~

Please leave a comment or question in the comment area.  Thank you ~ Jim Kolke