Portions of the home have the snow removed for proper view of the homes grade and foundation

Portions of the home have the snow removed for proper view of the homes grade and foundation

The home inspection portion of a home can be one of the most important portions of as home purchase.  Finding the right home should not be discounted in any form or fashion.  What a professional realtor does in their portion of a home purchase has real value and should not be discounted.  Unfortunately during the winter months of the Midwest some area of a home inspection may not be performed properly due to the weather.   Recently during a home inspection in La Grange Illinois we had to explain to out buyers that there are areas that may not be inspected properly.   We explain this to our clients through our email verification when booking the home inspection that certain areas of the home inspection will not be inspected fully due to weather issues (snow coverage).  These are some of the areas that may require further verification prior to closing to assure no hidden issues are uncovered after the closing of the home.

  1. ROOFS ~ Roofs of homes in the Chicago winters can be hard if not impossible to view and deliver a proper verification of the condition of all aspects of a roof system that may require an additional visit from your home inspector or a roofing contractor to assure that there are no hidden issues that may have a real cost to them.  Luckily for the La Grange home inspection clients we were able to walk the roof and broom areas of the snow away to assure that hidden issues were not under the snow.  Ask your inspector prior to your home inspection what their policy is for roof inspections so you know what to expect from his or her home inspection report.
  2. AIR CONDITIONER SYSTEMS ~ Air conditioner systems cannot be tested less than 60 degrees to assure that the compressors or any other portion of the air conditioner system does not become damaged due to working this system in cold temperatures.  As a home buyer you should expect this system not to be tested due to the frigid cold temperatures of the Chicago winters.   We recommend the air conditioner systems are certified from a HVAC contractor prior to closing or funding put in escrow until the unit is tested in the spring to assure proper working order.  The clients from the La Grange home inspection expected the unit would not be tested but were pleased that we found the system was only 2 years old which limits the potential for replacement of such a new air conditioner system.
  3. GRADING, SLOPING, SIDEWALKS AND DRIVEWAYS ~ The grade and slope of the homes dirt around the home can be hard to document to assure that the grade of the home is not back pitched potentially causing harm to the foundation of the home.  Here at Pinnacle Property Inspection Services we shovel the snow around the foundation to see if the grade and slope is correct and to see if any cracks in the foundation can be found.  Driveways and sidewalks are attempted to be shoveled to deliver a full picture of the home’s condition.  This is not required by the Illinois Standards of Practice for home inspector but can really help the home buyer to get a full picture of what the home really has to offer.  Our clients from the La Grange home inspection really appreciated the fact that we were so diligent.  Asking your home inspector if he or she will bring shovels to inspect the grade if a good qualification question when hiring a home inspector.

As you can see these areas are very important areas in your home inspection process that may deliver potentially expensive repair costs.  The La Grange home inspection clients were prepared of what to expect during a home inspection in the winter months because they asked many questions prior to booking their home inspection.  You too should be diligent to assure you get the proper home inspection you pay for.


If you have any questions about this topic you are more than welcome to contact us @ 312-961-4228 or pinnaclepropertyinspection.com

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

The Thermal Home Inspector

I believe a home inspection should be a period that we inspect your choice in home or property but I really believe in empowering my clients by educating them on how their home works.  More importantly, I want to educate them on what to look for when systems in a home may have possible issues and what to do when these systems fail.  Recently, I was hired for a home inspection in Tinley Park, Illinois.  My clients were concerned on the mechanical systems age, cost to replace, and life expectancy.

The air conditioner unit is generally inspected first due to the fact that is on the exterior of the home.  The air conditioner manufacturer was a Carrier that happened to be 11 years old.  The age of the air conditioner was not alarming.  Generally, air conditioner units have a life expectancy of over 20 years.  The cost for replacement starts from $1500.00 for a 1 ton unit to $7000.00 for a 5 ton unit.  The Tinley Park home inspection had no apparent issues on the air conditioning system.  You can see an actual air conditioner inspection at ~ http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/watchaninspection.html.

The next mechanical system I inspected at the Tinley Park home inspection was the heating system.  The heating system is composed of a furnace, duct work, thermostat, and humidifier.  All of these items are major components that need to be in good working order for a heating system.  The furnace at the Tinley Park home inspection was also a Carrier that happened to be the same age as the air conditioner.  This is not uncommon to see that the furnace and air conditioner are the same age.  We see a lot of split systems being the same age because you can save money replacing the furnace and air conditioner at the same time.  A furnace life expectancy is 25 years with annual maintenance.  The cost to replace a furnace depends on if you purchase a high efficient unit or a 80% unit.  You can see prices of furnaces at ~ http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/repair-replacement-costs.html.

The water heater was the next mechanical system I inspected at the Tinley Park home inspection.  The property had a 6 year old 50 gallon Rheem water heater.  I inspected the tank and burners to see if there was any rusting on the tank that can lead to the demise of the water heater.  Water heaters life expectancy is 12 years.  If you get more than 12 years you are lucky.  To replace a 40 gallon water heater you can plan on spending between $550.00 – $750.00 depending on piping materials, ease of installation and location in the country you reside.

Hopefully this helps consumers understand what to look for when searching for a home.  If you have any questions please contact me at ~ http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/about-jim-kolke.html.

Thanks for stopping by.  Jim Kolke