If you have been watching the news, then you will know that in Chicago we recently had micro tornado’s pass through our area.  There were winds that topped out at 100 miles per hour.  These winds forced a large branch from a tree that was over hanging over a home in Wilmette, Illinois.  The home that I am speaking about was a home inspection in Wilmette, I was hired to inspect.  The biggest concern I had for my client was that the tree was not owned by the home that the damage was done on.  This is a big concern these days because of all the wind and rain storms we been having of late.

My client was not concerned about the damage to the home because it was going to be fixed prior to his closing.  His concern was what to do to prohibit future issues like this happening.

As you know I am not an attorney, but I will speak with some basic common sense.  If you see that there is a possible issue that may cause damage to your home, then I would think that the prudent thing to do is to eliminate that possible issue from causing damage to the property.  The damage to the Wilmette home inspection would not have happened if there was no branch hanging over the home to fall on it.

I know from personal experiences that some insurance companies will not insure homes with tree limbs hanging over the home.  Trees planted to close to homes also are frowned on because they also can either fall on the home in a large storm or cause damage to the foundation  and sewer waste piping.

How much will it cost to remove a branch over a home? Was the question from my client from the Wilmette home inspection.  The proper answer is hard because pricing for tree or branch removal can vary greatly depending on multiple factors.

  • The height of the tree can add cost to the removal of the branch or tree.
  • How close to the structure is the tree or branch?  The more dangerous or possible chance for damage to the home will raise the time it takes to remove the tree will increase the price.
  • Is the tree in good condition?  If the tree had a disease that will make it difficult to remove then plan on a higher removal cost.

As you can see, there are many issues that can determine the price of your tree branch removal.  The tree branch issues at the Wilmette home inspection was priced out at $1700.00 and the neighbor who owned the tree was splitting the cost with the property I inspected.

Trees and the landscaping of a home should be a major part of any home inspection process and should definitely be documented.  If you have any questions about what to look for with trees hanging over your home, please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

Does this basement flood?  This is probably the most asked question by clients who are getting a home inspection.  I have a client who has had multiple home inspections that all had to many issues in his eyes to purchase the home.  After his 2ND home inspection I explained that he should call me will all the info on the property before he made another offer and went through the inspection process and spent money he might not have to.  He found a home that he wanted to move forward on.  The home inspection was in Riverwoods, Illinois.  He pulled the insurance records and found that there were 2 claims in the last 3 years with flood damage.  His question was will the Riverwoods homes basement flood again?

Flooding in basement comes from 2 places and both can be controlled.

  • Sewer back up is probably the biggest reason for water damage in homes.  If you have an “in ground sewer” then your chances are high for getting sewer back up.  This is what most homes have.  An in ground sewer means the sewer lies underneath the floor in the basement and the waste is sent into the sewer main via gravity.
  • Water around the homes foundation is called ground water and can enter the home via the ground or window wells.  Generally the ground water enters a sump pump pit and is pumped away from the home via a sump pump.  Sometimes like everything the sump pump will fail and will need to be replaced.  We advise all of our clients to have a back up sump pump installed for these times.  The Riverwoods home inspection did have a sump pump pit but no back up pump.

The Riverwoods home Inspection did flood because the sewer was an in ground sewer with no flood control system.  What is a flood control system?  There are two type of sewer systems your home may have.  If you have an in ground sewer you may need a flood control system.

  • Overhead sewers are the most ideal situation to have for a finished basement.  If your home was not built this way there is no way to convert the sewer system to an overhead type sewer system.  If you have an overhead sewer system that means you will most likely have an ejector pit in your basement.  An ejector pit takes water from floor drains, laundries, basement bathrooms, basement kitchens and pumps the water waste to the overhead sewer.  The probability of the Riverwoods home inspection flooding with this system is nil.  As a licensed plumber I appreciate this system and always explain how lucky my clients are to have this drainage system in their home.
  • In ground sewers are the culprits for flooding in basements.  The Riverwoods home inspection proved this.  Just because the home has an in ground sewer does not mean you should not buy it.  The remedy for keeping sewer waste water from entering your home is having a flood control system installed on your sewer main.  A flood control system has a check valve that allows water to leave the home and not back into the home.  Some systems have reservoirs on the exterior of the home to catch all the water and store it until the waste water subsides.   The cost for a flood control system is from $5000.00 – $10000.00 and is recommended to all of our clients with finished basements.

Does this basement flood? Without a flood control system you will still be asking this question.

flood control system was the remedy for the Riverwoods home inspection.  This is the only way the home will have a dry basement for sure.  The system can be installed in a day and you will be very happy when big storms roll through your town.

If you have any questions about flood control systems in your home please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke