Yesterday I was hired to inspect a foreclosure townhome that had windows that were cracked in a transom.  A transom is a window above another window that allows sunlight to fill the room.  I personally really like the fact that this home had these transoms.  I found out at the Chicago home inspection in Greek town that my clients hired me because we use a Fluke thermal imager on every home inspection.  They saw water stains and paint bubbling on the ceiling of a bay window area in the living room.

On my arrival to the Chicago home inspection I found water coming through a ceiling in the living rooms bay window.  Obviously there were issues with the roof and the flashing’s that would need attention, roofing contractor. There were also issues with windows that were cracked and possible lack of headers above windows.  My clients from the Chicago home inspection were very concerned that there were structural issues with the lack of headers above windows.  That is when I took up my fluke thermal imager and we began scanning the walls.

The fluke thermal imager has many uses and I will explain many of them in this article.

  • Structural issues are sometimes filed with the use of a fluke thermal imager. These issues can be seen only when a temperature differential is available in the fluke thermal imager is not an x-ray machine it is a temperature tool.  Because the exterior temperature of a home is different than interior temperature of the home we are able to the see the actual wall joists and headers.
  • Water intrusion in walls and ceilings of the home is easily seen with the use of a fluke thermal imager. The use of a fluke thermal imager by itself is never done.  Tramex moisture meters are also used as another tool to document the fact that there is water or moisture in a wall.  The use of either tool by their self is never done because checks and balances are a must in any home inspection.
  • Electrical breaker boxes are scanned for overheated breakers.  If a breaker is overloaded or double tapped the fluke thermal imager will see it as an overheated breaker.  Overheated breakers can cause fires and homes.  It is pertinent that a fluke thermal imager is used to scan your electrical breaker box your home inspection is being done.
  • Insulation voids are found with the use of a fluke thermal imager. Fluke thermal imager’s are able to tell that insulation is missing or compromised in a wall or an attic with the use of temperature differential.

If you are a home owner or a home buyer and you have questions about this process them please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

 

If you are shopping for homes or you are extremely happy with your home that you live in now then this article is for you.  I just completed a home inspection in Lake Zurich, Illinois and had multiple questions from a young newly wed couple who were buying their first home and were very nervous about every aspect of a home purchase.  The Lake Zurich home I was inspecting was a 3 bedroom 2 bath ranch home.  Generally, a home inspection of this caliber would only take 2-3 hours.  The home inspection ended up taking 4.5 hours to inspect due to the many questions my new home buyers had prepared and asked me.  You see, if I don’t help these people and give them the correct answer then the chances are high that they might never get the right answer.  The question that stuck with me wereabout  the electrical issues.   My clients from the Lake Zurich home inspection were both afraid of electric issues that arose from the home inspection.  They wanted to have gfci type outlets throughout the home.  I explained that it could be done, but I most definitely would not put one behind the refrigerator.  I explained where these outlets were found and why they were used.

  • Bathrooms are a great place to have gfci type electric outlets.
  • Kitchens should have gfci type electric outlets in every outlet except for the outlet behind the refrigerator.
  • Crawl spaces and unfinished basements are a must for gfci type electric outlets.
  • Garages need gfci type electrical outlets to protect possible water to electric connection.
  • Laundry rooms must have gfci type electric outlets
  • Exterior outlets of a home should all be gfci protected outlets.

All of these areas are areas that water and electric may meet.  The gfci type electrical outlet is installed to prevent a surge in electric and if an occupant has direct connection to the electric from the outlet they will not be harmed.

The Lake Zurich home inspectioncame up with many issues.  The reason why  is because it was a foreclosure property that happened to be abandoned by the occupants a year ago.  Foreclosure home inspections are known to be full of potential issues that my clients will need repair or replacement cost prices so that they can decide if the repairs will be to much for them to handle.  One of the issues was the fact that the homes electrical breaker box was undersized and had 6 double taps that would mean the breaker box would have to be updated along with the installation of gfci type electrical outlets in all the areas that require these type of outlets.

As you see, there are many areas for gfci type electrical outlets and why they are needed.  If you have further questions about electrical issues  then please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

If you are in the home buying market at this time then I’m sure you have looked at homes that are in foreclosure.  That was the case for my home inspection in Zion, Illinois.  My client was buying the property at a reduced price and was planning using the property as an investment property.  Most of my readers already know that I specialize in foreclosure home inspections in the Chicago land area.  The reason why I work the foreclosure market so much is because I have a plumbing license.  Licensed plumbers are a commodity in Illinois.  To be a home inspector and a licensed plumber has provided me with a huge market to pick from.  If you are buying a foreclosure home like my client from the Zion home inspection then make sure you have the water turned on  so that the plumbing water supply system and the waste water supply system can be tested.  There are to many issues that can come up and cost you thousands in repairs that may stem from water damage from issues from broken piping or leaking plumbing fixtures.

  • Water mains can have broken pipes or issues with leaking valves that will need repairs.  If you cant shut off the water in the home then you will be making an emergency call to a plumber that may costs hundreds just for a service call.
  • Broken water piping is an issue that I find routinely in homes that have been winterized.  Even when water piping has been winterized there are areas that water can settle and possibly crack the water piping.  Water piping repairs can be expensive if walls have to be opened and then repaired after the piping repairs have been done.

     

  • Broken waste lines are common issues that also can cost hundreds if walls or ceiling have to be modified so repairs can be made.
  • Sump pumps and ejector pumps need water to test.  Sometimes there is no water in a sump pit and water is added to test the pumps abilities.  When the water is off during a foreclosure home inspection then the ability to test these pumps is reduced greatly.
  • Plumbing fixtures can leak after the water is turned on and all areas of the home should be monitored after the water is turned on.  Ice makers, toilets, tubs, sinks and so on must be tested to make sure the traps are working properly and more important are not broken.

I recently performed a home inspection in Zion, Illinois that was a foreclosed home that did not have the water on.  I had to make a special trip to the property for a second time to meet with the Zion village plumber to turn on the water.  Why?  I wanted to make sure my client did not have any unknown issues that might cost him hundreds or even worse … thousands!

If you are in the market for a home and you are contemplating buying a foreclosed home make sure you have a plumber on call to make sure that you are not getting into something more than you can handle.  If you have questions that I can help you with please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

Water issues in a home can go unnoticed for long periods of time.  Especially in the winter months in the Midwest when temperatures rarely go above freezing.  I recently was hired for a foreclosure home inspection in Morton Grove, Illinois.  As you know from my past articles that foreclosure home inspections can deliver large cost to cure inspection reports.  As I have said before, no one really cares about the home you are looking to purchase.  The old home owners were basically asked to leave and the bank just wants to get the property off of its books without spending anymore money on it.

One of the major issues I found at the Morton Grove home inspection was water issues that derived from limestone lintels around the windows that were not sealed properly and back pitched allowing water to enter into the building components of the home.  The question that my clients from the Morton Grove home inspection had was “how do we fix it?”.  The first thing is to know that you have the water issue from the window lintels.  The only way I can find these type of issues is with the use of my Fluke Thermal Imager and Tramex moisture meter.  The Fluke thermal imager finds the problem and the Tramex moisture meter verifies that it truly is a water intrusion.  When you do find and verify that you do have water intrusion issues then you will need the repair methods which are below.

  • Window silicone is your friend.  The use of silicone is a must but the temperature must be above freezing for this method to work.  This is the best remedy in my mind and the most cost efficient.  This is exactly what I advise my clients from the Morton Grove home inspection to do to prevent further water issues.  The window flashing’s and lintels should be water tight to prevent water penetration at all areas around the window.
  • Back pitched limestone lintels or rusted lintels can be repaired or replaced by can be very expensive.  If you are on a fixed buget  but still need the water issues eliminated then I suggest using silicone and understand that these repairs are only temporary until the lintels  can be repaired or replaced.  This is a very expensive repair and just be bid out buy multiple masonry contractors.
  • Missing motar around windows or cracks in the brickwork are generally from other issues that contributed to the problem and will need to be repaired on their own. The issue at hand is that of the water penetration and should be treated with urgency to prevent possible mildew growth or even worse mold growth.  The missing mortar and/ or cracked bricks will need to be repaired by a masonry contractor as soon as possible.

As you can see window flashing’s and lintels can allow water to enter your home and cause damage to the building components.  These issues will need to be rectified as soon as possible to prevent further issues to your home.  If you have questions about leaking window flashing’s and lintels then please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

 

If you have been home shopping in today’s market, then you might have walked into a foreclosed home that was for sale by the bank.  Most homes that have been foreclosed have been winterized and do not have heat or running water.  As you probably know, I’m a Skokie home inspector that specializes in Foreclosure home inspections.  Foreclosure home inspections are in my mind the hardest type of inspections. Why?

  • Water to these homes has been shut off and winterized.  When a home has been winterized, 50% of the time there are areas in the water piping system of the home that will require repairs that may cost thousands.  The reason why there are issues with the water piping system is due to the fact that the home was not properly winterized.  There may be areas that the water was not removed and the water piping has split or cracked and will not hold water properly.  Luckily for my clients, this Skokie home inspector is also a licensed plumber.  I can give real prices from a licensed plumber to the bank for repairs that can save you time and money.
  • Total disregard for the property is par for the coarse when this Skokieinspector inspects foreclosure home inspections.  The amount of possible issues can be in the hundreds due to the fact that no one really cares about the property that you are having a foreclosed home inspection on.  I definitely think that there are some great deals out in the real estate market as long as you hire the right home inspector to inspect your property. If any major item is missed or you decide not to get the home de-winterized you run the risk of having repair or replacement costs that might cost you thousands.

These 2 items is why this Skokie home inspector suggests that you not only hire a qualified home inspector to perform your Foreclosured home inspection, but a home inspector that uses Fluke thermal imagers for their home inspections.  Because water issues may be the number one issue on a foreclosure home inspection, I suggest the use of a Fluke thermal imager and a Tramex moisture meter to give every client the assurity that they deserve that there are no water issues in the home they are about to purchase.  I personally use only the Fluke thermal imagerand a Tramex moisture meter for all of my foreclosed home inspections because as far as I’m concerned doing a home inspection without them is like driving blindfolded.  Many of the other Skokie home inspectors do not use Fluke Thermal imagers or Tramex moisture meters because lack of funds, lack of customer service or because they just don’t know.  Either way you must protect your biggest investment by hiring the best Skokie home inspector you can.

As you see, the home inspection portion of your home buying experience is probably the most important and you should hire the best person qualified to represent your biggest investment.  If you have further questions about foreclosed home inspections then please contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke