Sewer piping that is damaged cannot be seen from the exterior of the home. The only way you can see this is by a sewer scope or a dig up.

If you are a home buyer that is preparing to hire a home inspector then you might want to read this article.  Recently while inspecting a home in Chicago I was questioned if I was going to inspect the sewer line of the home.  This question made me think awhile until I could explain to my client that is impossible for me to inspect the sewer because it is underground and I physically can’t see the sewer and identify if there are cracks or other issues with the sewer piping materiel.  This led me to recommending sewer contractors to scope the sewers in homes that I was inspecting for home buyers.

My clients from the Chicago home inspection were a little upset that I could not determine the health of the waste piping underground until I fully explained that the best I could do was to run the water for long periods of time to see if the sewer could take all the water.  This is the standard way most home inspectors inspect the sewers in the home inspections they are hired to perform.  Most people do not understand that home inspectors cannot change, modify or convert any portion of the home in any form or fashion.  This is what led me to decide to start recommending that home buyers hire sewer contractors or plumbing contractors to perform sewer inspections.

My clients from the Chicago home inspection hired Roto Rooter from Chicago to perform a sewer scoping.  The cost of the sewer scoping which included a clearing of the sewer was $315.00.  I know what most people are saying.  Home inspection costs $400.00 and sewer scoping costs $315.00 at a total of $715.00 before I even move in the home.  Luckily for my clients from the Chicago home inspection they performed a sewer inspection which found 2 partial collapsed clay sewer pipes!

No big deal 2 broken sewer pipes?  Wrong!  Replacement costs to repair the Chicago homes sewer was $4150.00 which was paid by the seller!  I can’t promise that this will be the results of a sewer scope that you may pay for.  I can promise you that the repairs on a sewer can cost a whole lot more though.  Some Realtors do not appreciate that I recommend that perspective home buyers have sewer inspections performed because they are afraid they inspection may find a reason that the home buyers won’t buy the home.  I believe the exact opposite.  I believe it gives the home buyers a definitive feeling of all of the components of the home and will allow them to move forward in the home buying purchase with a sound mind.

My home buyers from the Chicago home inspection did buy the home they hired me to inspect.  If your home is newer then you might not want to hire a sewer contractor to perform a sewer inspection.  Knowing if there are issues is worth every penny.  If you have further questions about sewers or any other portion of your home please contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

Pinnacle Property Inspection Services

Overheated breakers can be found with thermal imagers and may prevent fires in a home

It’s the holidays here in Chicago land and a lot of people like to decorate their home with lights and lighted decorations.  Unfortunately most of these homes do not have the proper breaker box configurations. Basically the load on the wiring and the breakers in these boxes may be overloaded due to the extra load from the decorations.  That was the case at the Glenview home inspection I recently was hired to perform.  The issues with the electric did not start until I started to test the microwave in the kitchen.  As you probably could guess the microwave use of electric was the tipping point that made the breaker trip that happened to be tied to the exterior outlets also.

Generally the electric for the exterior outlets of a home have their own dedicated breaker as do the kitchen appliances.  Unfortunately I found that the electric at the Glenview home inspection had other issues that would need correction.  When I went to reset the breaker in the breaker box I unscrewed the breaker box cover and found double taps and triple taps.  A double tap or triple tap is when multiple wires are installed in one breaker.  Each breaker should only have one wire.  This is why the breakers where found to be overheated at the Glenview home inspection.

The next issue I encountered at the Glenview home inspection was that there was no room for future breakers in the box.  That is probably why the breakers had multiple double tap connections.  The correction for all of these issues was to hire a licensed electrician who would install a larger electrical panel and to separate the double and triple taps.  The repair cost for a new electrical panel is $700.00 – $1600.00 depending on where you live in the country.

During home inspections my clients are always concerned what repairs are required immediately? Overheated breaker panels and double tapped breakers are defective issues and I would recommend immediate repair.  That is exactly what I recommended my clients from the Glenview home inspection do.

Electrical breaker panel inspections are a very important portion of any home inspection and should be taken very serious.  If you have any questions about electrical panels or any issue in your home or building contact me at 312-961-4228 or The Thermal Home Inspector.  Thank you for stopping by and stay safe.


Jim Kolke