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

Do you wake up in the morning coughing or sneezing?  Does this condition seem to go on for 10 -15 minutes?  Do you have allergies or some sort of breathing issue?  I’m not a doctor but today I will play one.  The air you breath in your home can be very dirty depending on home often you change your furnace filter,  the type of furnace filter you use, the condition of your heating duct work, if you have pets and the last time you had your furnace cleaned by a heating contractor.  All of these items will contribute to the conditioning of the air you breath inside your home.  My clients from the Morton Grove home inspection noticed that the heating vents had dust all over them and were concerned that that the dust would pose a problem for their son who did have severe allergies.  If you see dust than you know you have to have the heating system serviced.  The question is what is in the areas that you cant see?

If you are about to purchase a house, condo, trailer, or any type of property that you will reside in I advise cleaning the furnace and all of the duct work. The cost of heating duct cleaning can be from $6- $10 per vent.  Count all of your vents and multiply this number by $6 and that is about what your cleaning will cost.  Even if you don’t have allergies there can be all types of issues that are residing in your duct work.  You can see a furnace being inspected at ~ http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/watchaninspection.html.  This seem to be very helpful for my clients from the Morton Grove home inspection.

Just because you get your furnace cleaned and the duct work cleaned that doesn’t mean your done.  You still need to protect this system by using quality furnace filters. My advise is to change out your furnace filter every 3 months.  Generally you change the filter in the beginning of the season.   If you live in an area that is known for being dusty, you have pets, allergies or asthma is a concern to you then I would plan on changing your filter to the HEPA type of filter which cost a little more but do block out 99% of the dust and contaminants.  The next step would be to install an air cleaner on your furnace.  This is what my clients from the Morton Grove home inspection were purposing on doing in their new home.

The only problem with air cleaning systems on a furnace is the fact that they only work when the furnace is on.  You might have to keep your blower motor on all the time to engage this system and be able to maximize the benefits of what it has to offer.

The cost of the air cleaning system can be anywhere from $300.00 – $700.00 installed by a heating contractor.  You can see pricing for other repairs you might need on your home at  ~ http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/repair-replacement-costs.html.

As you can see this is a easy remedy as long as you know what your looking for.  If you have further questions about heating ducts please contact me at  ~ http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/about-jim-kolke.html.

Thanks for stopping by.  Jim Kolke


Flooding in homes is a serious issue not to be taken lightly.  Water damage in basements can occur in many ways.  Nature is generally the cause of most of the major flooding  issues due to water back up from sewer systems. This is not the case for the home inspection in Morton Grove, Illinois. This might have been the reason years back, but the definite cause this time was due to a mechanical failure.

The sump pump was definitely the culprit at the home inspection in Morton Grove that caused some minor damage that was revealed on the baseboards of the basement floor.  The sump pump basically failed at a time when you definitely didn’t want it to.  A rain storm!  There wasn’t a back up battery system with a back up pump.

The installation of battery back up pumps with alarms is an item we always try to pass on to our clients.  The general cost for a good system is about $400.00 -  $600.00  installed by a professional plumber.  The home inspection in Morton Grove revealed the damage to the baseboards and the drywall.  It was only about 3″ of water that rose in the basement but sometimes  that’s all you need to have issues with mold.

When you decide you need a battery back up sump system make sure you take the proper measurements of the depth of the pit and the width of the pit.  My advise when installing a new back up sump pit system is to install a new sump pump also.  Then you know when they both were installed. The cost of a good cast iron body sump pump installed by a professional plumber shouldn’t cost you more than $400.00.  The owners of the home inspection in Morton Grove wish they had this information before the flooding in their basement occurred.

If you own a home or are looking to buy a home and have questions about what to look for in a back up sump pump system contact us at~ www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com Jim Kolke