How to unclog your toilet with Jim Kolke Want to save some serious cash?  If you follow my blog or articles then you know that I am a licensed plumber and I love to empower home owners to perform their own repairs and more important save money!  I was hired for a pre-listing home inspection in Niles, Illinois where I found that the toilet was blocked.  Most people that know me will tell you I love to work on systems when they break.  As you will see, I went to the truck and brought in all kinds of tools to fix this toilet.

If you decide to do these repairs on your toilet, you must be very careful because the china that toilets are made of can be very sharp if broken.  My clients from the Niles home inspection were amazed on how easy it was to unclog their own toilet.  I guess this toilet is close to the children’s bedrooms and the occasional toy goes down this toilet.  If you have children, then you probably will have this same issue.

You can see other videos that we performed at the Niles home inspection at  My clients wanted a home inspector from the Niles area that new the homes and was able to tell them how to fix issues that they would come across on any day.

If you need further assistance on these issues or other items that were not spoke about today please contact me at

Thanks for stopping by. Jim Kolke

Home Inspection in Chicago using a Thermal Imager


Niles, Illinois home inspection explains why all home inspections need to be done with a thermal imager.  A thermal imager??  This is a camera that uses a different level of vision to see the contents of a building or any other item.  The level of vision is called infrared or sub red.  Basically, the infrared thermal imager uses different temperatures to see issues in a home.  These cameras have only been used in home inspections for the last 5 years or so.  The thermal imager seems to be becoming more popular with home inspectors but recently has seen a down turn do to the recession and the cost to purchase a quality camera.  Generally, a good beginner camera costs about $3900.00.

We use these cameras on every home inspection to see things that can not be seen with your naked eye.  The Niles home inspection had the thermal imager used and found that there were areas of the duct work that were not insulated.  Not a huge problem but none the less should be documented for my client.  We use these cameras to look for water issues on roofs, window flashing’s, siding issues, water piping leaks, waste pipe leaks, toilet seal leaks, missing insulation in walls or attics, door air leaks, air window leaks, electrical panels and so much more.  Most cameras will capture the image and can be embedded on your report depending on what type of reporting system your inspector uses.

The next question is the cost of a thermal home inspection?  The Niles home inspection was $425.00.  The home was a 3 bedroom /2.5 bathrooms and a detached 2 car garage.  Here in the Chicago area that is roughly what a regular inspection costs from a company that doesn’t use a thermal imager.  We use this imager and do not charge an additional fee for thermal imagers because we want to give all of our clients a great inspection.  I believe it is impossible to give a great inspection without a thermal imager.  Some inspection companies will add an extra $100.00 – $250.00 for the use of their camera.  My advise is that even if you have to pay more it is worth it to know what you really have in your home.  That is why my clients from the Niles home inspection sought out my company to represent them on their home purchase.  You can see our video on a thermal home inspection at ~ .

If you have questions about Thermal imager home inspections contact us at ~

Thanks for stopping by.  Jim Kolke


If you have a home there is a good chance you have a washer and dryer in your home.  There are many types of dryers you can choose from these days.   The most popular that we see are the gas fueled type.

Just the other day, while at a home inspection in Niles, Illinois  their was nothing out of the ordinary to be seen.  I run all fixtures including the washer and dryer.  The washer waste dumped into the laundry tub which seems to be pretty typical.  There were no issues to speak of about the washer.  The dryer on the other hand didn’t seem to be working to its full potential.  I  was concerned that there was a issue with the clothes dryer at the home inspection in Niles.

As you might have figured, we are not required to work on appliances during an inspection.  Ive heard about dryer belts going bad, but  I thought there was a little more to this.  I pulled the dryer out from the area it sat in the laundry room at the home inspection in Niles.  I pulled the steel flexible vent off to see that the lint was packed in the vent and in the back of the dryer.  That just wasn’t it-it was smoking!!  This lint was smoking which means it was very close to combustion into a fire in the immediate future.

Dirty dryer venting is the number 1 reason for fires in homes.  They need to be monitored and cleaned on a regular basis.  My suggestion is to evaluate it every six months and if it needs to be cleaned do so.  The cleaning method of choice is a dryer brush.  The owners of the home inspection in Niles were very thankful that the dryer issue was found before the fire started.

If you own a home or are buying a home and have questions about dryer vents and the possibilities of fires please contact us at ~   Jim Kolke