Skokie, Illinois home inspection aids home owners in changing simple outlets to GCFI type outlets.  This sounds hard to some, but can be done relatively very easily.  First of all, you need to know what a gcfi outlet is and what is used for.  A gcfi outlet is a ground circuit fault interrupter and it used to prevent electrocution if the electrical item that is plugged in to the outlet was affected by water.  There is a “reset or breaker” in the middle of the outlet that will short out or break if there are issues.  A regular outlet will not do this.

The Skokie home inspection brought the issue of Gcfi outlets and their locations.  You need Gcfi type outlets in bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, garages, areas in basements, decks, patios, and any where that water and the electric outlets can meet.  Sometimes I find the gcfi type outlets behind refrigerators and I suggest these be removed and replaced with standard outlets.  This was the case also at the Skokie home inspection.

The 1st step you want to do to change an electrical outlet to a gcfi type electrical outlet is to shut down the breaker in the breaker box that controls the electric to the outlet your working on.  Step 2~ You then take a screwdriver and remove the outlet trim plate.  Step 3 ~You then take the screws off of the outlet that secures the outlet to the electrical box.    Step 4 ~ Remove the outlet from the outlet box and remove the white wire, remove the green wire (ground), remove the black or colored wire.  Step 5 ~ Install the white wire onto the silver screw on the gcfi type outlet.  Step 6~ Install the green wire to the green screw and the colored wire to the gold screw.  Step 7~ Reinstall the outlet to the electrical outlet box and install the trim plate.  These are the same instuctions I gave to my clients from the Skokie home inspection.

Congratulations on doing your own outlet repairs.  Please visit our blog to see if there are other repairs to help you.  If you have questions about home inspection or issues on your choice in home contact us at ~  Thanks for stopping by.  Jim Kolke


Kildeer, Illinois is small village which is located in the northern suburbs of Chicago.  It is in a Lake county which is known for having homes that are on multiple acre lots.  Generally, you can find a home that can not be seen from the streets.  If you are looking for a home that is close to the city but far enough away to have a little rural feel then you might like Kildeer.   What attracted my clients to the 2 acre home in Kildeer was the fact that there were no sidewalks and no street lights.  Generally, when you live in a rural area you have to have a septic field for your plumbing waste system.  Your water supply will come to  you via a private well.  That was definitely the case for the Kildeer home inspection.

I believe that when buying a home you should include a septic system inspection along with a well inspection.  Usually if you have a septic field and your neighbors have one then it shouldn’t be to hard to find a local septic company for the inspection of you new septic system.  The contractor should dig up the tank inspection plate and inspect the tank and manifolds.  The tank should be cleaned and pumped to assure that you are starting your new life in this home with a empty tank.  The contractor should also dig up the leg inspection plates to make sure that there are no collapsed pipes or blockages that need to tended to.   This was the protocol that was followed at the home inspection in Kildeer.

The next item on the check list was the well at the home inspection in Kildeer.  The well pump and connection can be in the basement of the home or somewhere on the homes property.  If your lucky the home owner will know exactly where the pump is located.  If you are a home inspector then you want to document this info to aid your clients septic contractor so they can inspect this system.

I inspected the well components during my home inspection in Kildeer but I advised my client to get the system certified.  If you know anything about wells you know that the water can sometimes have a foul odor.  My advise remedy that issue is to install a reverse osmosis system on the house water supply.  This is basically a whole house filter that will make the water more tolerable.

There were no major issues with the septic system at the Kildeer home inspection, but the only way you know is by having an inspection.  If there were issues they can cost anywhere from $500.00  ~  $10,000.00. You can see our cost to cure at~   Be smart and hire a professional to protect your interest in your choice of home.

If you have questions about the process of home inspection please contact us at ~   Thank you ~ Jim Kolke


Insulation in a property is a very important component to a homes system.  Insulation will protect your wallet against energy loss.  When a home is missing portions of the insulation or the depth of the insulation is low (3″-9″) there can be multiple issues that will be explained in this blog.  The Countryside home inspection will explain why increasing insulation depth will save you money in the long run.

The Countryside home inspection started from the outside and worked it way into the top of the home.  That would be the attic for the people who are new to my blog.  When I inspect an attic, I look for many things.  You can see me inspect an attic at    The first is the temperature to see if the temperature matches the outside.  The temperature should be as close to the outside temperature because when an attic exceeds 130 degrees it starts to “cook” the underside of the sheathing of the roof which in turn weakens the roof shingles.  Ventilation is the cure for this issue.  If there is not enough roof vents adding more is a remedy or adding a thermostatic attic fan will relieve this issue.  The next issue I look for is bathroom fans.  I like to see the bath fan venting through the roof line.  If it is just laying in the attic it can cause mold in the attic.  This can cost thousands to have it mitigated.  The attic/roof  structure is the next item that is inspected to see if there any issues with the rafters or trusses.  The final component of the attic inspection is the insulation.  This is where I had a problem at the Countryside home inspection.  The depth and material should always be documented so the client can make informed decisions on what to do.

The Countryside home inspection had 3″ of compressed cellulose insulation that had been in the home for the last 40+ years.  My advise was to have more insulation added to increase the ”R” rating.  I advised my clients to have 12″ added to the areas already covered.  In the Midwest the proposed ”R” rating suggested is R-38  -  R-60.  I split the 2 at  R-47.  The cost to add this is generally $1 – $4 depending on what type of material you choose to use.  There is fiberglass rolled, fiberglass blow in, cellulose, polystyrene.  The choice is yours.

If you have questions about your attics condition please contact us at  Thank You~ Jim Kolke

Recently on a home inspection in Chicago I had a tub that was starting to back up because of a blockage in the plumbing waste line.  My client was concerned on how to clear the line so that the water would flow freely from the tub to the sewer system.  The first thing I had to explain was the two type of drain traps that were installed  in old buildings. 

The newest trap that is being installed and is code here in Chicago is the P trap.  The P trap is easy to pass a plumbing rod through and is easily installed.  This type of trap comes in brass or pvc.  The pvc seems to be the type of material most easiest for home owners to use.  The second type is a drum trap and that happened to be the trap that was installed in the condo building that was built in 1915.  The drum traps are cumbersome and can be hard for homeowners to operate and clean.

The best way to explain how to clean a drum trap is to literally take it apart.  That is exactly what I did at the Chicago home inspection.  The first thing you want to do is have all your tools ready.  You will need a 5′ 3/8 tub rod, drum trap wrench (google that term and you will find many places to purchase this), flat head screwdriver, pipe dope, towels.

First take off the trim plate with the screw driver.  You then get your drum trap wrench and insert it into the proper fitting of the drum trap cap.  You might have to put a wrench on this cover and untwist it.  Sometimes these can be seized closed.  When you get the cover off you can insert the tub rod towards the tub side of the drum trap and see if you can clear the line.  Next, you rod towards the sewer until you feel as though you cleared the blockage.  To test your work you must install the drum trap cover and run the water in the tub.  If the water goes down, apply pipe dope on the threads of the drum trap cover and re install the cover.  If the drain is still plugged then more attempts will be needed until water runs freely.

My client at the Chicago home inspection were so excited to be living 1 block off of Lake Shore Drive that the issues with the old condo did not even waver his decision making.  His condo is in Andersonville which is a highly sought after community in the Chicagoland area.  Andersonville is blocks from Wrigley field  and close to everything.  Transit to the downtown can be done via bus or the el.  My clients father said the Chicago home inspection was an education for his family. You can see other ideas we have at ~

If you have questions on how to operate your drum traps contact me at

Please leave a comment.  Thanks~ Jim Kolke