Loose toiletRecently while performing a Winnetka home inspection, we found that 1 of the 6 bathroom toilets were loose at the floor connection.  Loose toilet connections are prone to allow water to flow from the wax ring connection.  Loose toilet floor connections or loose closet bolts are a common issue while performing home inspections.  A wax ring is installed in the area between the toilet and the floor.  The toilet is secured with bolts that are called closet bolts.  These bolts can become loose and cause the toilet to move like what was seen during the Winnetka home inspection.  I have seen loose toilets cause thousands of dollars of water damage that sometimes cannot be seen due to homeowners not using the area below the loose toilet.    Most homeowners do not go into the basement on a regular basis especially when the laundry is on the 1st floor or the 2nd floor of the home.  If a loose toilet is found in the powder room bathroom on the 1st floor, there is a potential issue with water from the powder room toilet from leaking between the toilets to floor connection causing water damage below in the finished or unfinished areas of the basement.

At Pinnacle Property Inspection Services we tape the seats of the toilet to the toilet with a note explaining to the seller and the seller’s real estate agent that the toilet has movement and may leak now or in the near future.  Like I explained before, loose toilets can cause costly repairs.  Two days after the Winnetka home inspection, I received a phone call from the selling real estate agent that her client and herself were appalled that we tapped the toilet seat to the toilet.  This blog was designed to inform buyers and sellers why it is so important to cease use of loose toilets to assure that damage does not occur in your new or existing home.

As you probably can guess, the sellers of the home did continue using the loose toilet in the powder room in the 1st floor of the Winnetka home inspection.  Luckily for the buyers, we took hundreds of pictures of the home to assure quality of the home will be the same from the day of the home inspection to the day of the closing of the home.  There were multiple pictures verifying the basement did not have water damage under the loose toilet in the powder room.  My clients from the Winnetka home inspection closed on the home and after 2 days noticed urine smell in the basement that was noted directly below the powder room.  As part of the selling agreement, the sellers agreed to fix the loose toilet from a “licensed plumber” prior to closing.  The sellers caulked around the floor to toilet connection which caused the water to leak under the toilet in the basement instead of on the floor in the powder room.  The concern now is mildew, mold and human excrement on the walls and ceiling of the basement may pose health issues.  The cost of all of these repairs will be in the thousands which all could have been avoided if the sellers and the seller’s real estate agent were forthcoming.

Loose toilet connections in any bathroom should be repaired immediately to assure that damage does not occur like what was seen in the Winnetka home inspection.  If you have any questions about this issue please contact me at 312-961-4228 or pinnaclepropertyinspection.com.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

The Thermal Home Inspector

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