I hear from real estate agents quite a bit that myself and the people that work for my company are “too picky”.  Really?  I thought that is what a professional home inspector was supposed to be.  A professional home inspector should be very detailed oriented able to document everything that he or she sees.   To me “picky” means documenting everything allowing the home buying client to go through the home inspection report and determine what is important and what is not important.  While performing a Highland Park home inspection the buying agent whom I had never met before made sure she let me know how great her home inspector was.  I really can appreciate her love for her home inspector but really did not understand why he was not there performing the Highland Park home inspection.

As you probably can guess I looked up the new realtors home inspector to find that his reviews on Yelp, Angie’s List, Google, Better Business Bureau, Redfin reviews and so on were let’s say to be the less desirable.  My clients from the Highland Park home inspection were also savvy enough to also look up the realtor revered home inspector and obviously were not impressed.  I did ask my clients why they chose my company over the referred realtor home inspection company.  This is the list of reasons that separated the 2 companies.

  1. FULL TIME COMPANY ~ The clients from the Highland Park home inspection were looking for a home inspector that worked only as a home inspector to assure that his or her skills were honed by performing home inspection every day.  Most home inspectors perform home inspections as a side job for extra cash while performing a full time job.
  2. LICENSED TRADE INSPECTORS ~ The clients from the home inspection were looking for licensed tradesmen to perform their home inspection because that meant that would know how to install, repair or replace any issue at hand and should know what issues to look for.  Pinnacle Property Inspection Services Inc. has licensed plumbers and heating contractors on staff to be able to determine major issues at a glance.
  3. REVIEWS ~ The reviews that were seen on the internet and friends that have used our services made our clients from the Highland Park home inspection comfortable to hire us to perform their home inspection.
  4. ERRORS AND OMISSION INSURANCE  ~   The fact that Pinnacle Property Inspection Services has error and omission insurance even though it is not required by the State of Illinois made our new clients comfortable that if any issues that came up would be dealt with.
  5. PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT ~ Thermal imagers, moisture meters, 40′ ladders, inside shoes are all little things to others but made the difference why the clients from the Highland Park home inspection hired us over the referred realtor home inspector.
  6. SAME DAY LARGE INSPECTION REPORTS ~ The 131 page home inspection report was delivered via email 2 hours after the inspection was performed so that the clients could start to go over the report and determine what issues needed to be addressed.
  7. RADON, ASBESTOS AND MOLD TESTING ~ The clients from the Highland Park home inspection wanted a radon test to be performed.  We own a small company called Pinnacle Radon Testing that was able to accommodate the home inspection time.  The home that was inspected was an older home that had vermiculite insulation that was also able to be tested for asbestos all in one visit.
  8. ROOF INSPECTIONS ~ Willing to walk the roof versus the use of binoculars.  All roofs are walked to assure that hidden issues are all documented to assure our clients do not move into a home with hidden issues.

The clients explained that they did know that are services were more expensive than the competitors but understood because this is our only business.  The clients from the Highland Park home inspection obviously understood the difference with value and price.  If you are a home buyer that is looking for a home inspector do not hesitate asking any questions that may influence your home inspection process

If you have any questions about this article please contact us at pinnaclepropertyinspection.com or 312-961-4228.

Jim Kolke

The Thermal Home Inspector

Rusted gas main   Rusted gas piping on a gas meter


Rusted meters found during a home inspection.

Rusted meters found during a home inspection.

Rust on gas piping can be perceived as a non threatening issue for homeowners.    This was definitely the case we recently found when performing a home inspection in Skokie Illinois.  When arriving to the Skokie home we noticed a faint smell of natural gas when walking up to the front door of the home.  When smelling natural gas on any home all Pinnacle Property Inspection Services Employees are required to contact the gas company.  The natural gas supplier for Skokie Illinois is Peoples Gas.  The procedure for gas leaks on any property is very important.  Follow these easy steps that are suggested by Peoples Gas to assure that safety issues do not occur.




  • Get everyone out of the house immediately.
  • DO NOT use the telephone, a flashlight or any electrical switches.
  • Go to a neighbor’s house and call your gas company immediately.


Gas leaks should not be treated as a normal or safe occurrence.  The Peoples gas company arrived to our Skokie home inspection within 15 minutes which was pretty quick.  Gas was leaking from the gas main meter regulator that was old and rusted and gas piping connections that also were severely rusted being worn from the elements.   This particular gas meter had to have the gas meter regulator replaced which was replaced free of charge.  Unfortunately the regulators fail and require replacement eventually.  The gas piping on the main meter also required tightening and painting.  Keeping the gas piping painted is a must to assure that rust will not occur on the exposed metal piping.   Some gas companies will paint the gas piping on the exterior meter free of charge to assure that gas leaks do not develop and cause additional visits from a gas company service technician.  The Peoples Gas service technician was able to paint the gas meter and the natural gas piping free of charge during the Skokie home inspection.  Luckily the sellers of the home were not home and were not inconvenienced at all while repairs were being performed.


If you find yourself in the situation of gas leaks please understand that gas leaks can cause severe issues and should be treated with the utmost urgency to assure that safety issues do not occur in your home that may affect you and your family.  The Skokie home inspection was a clear cut example of how serious natural gas leaks can be.  If you have any questions about  natural gas leaks or any other issue you are more than welcome to contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.  Thank you for stopping by and stay safe.


Jim Kolke

Rusted gas piping on a gas meter

As you probably can guess we get a lot of calls for mold inspections here at Pinnacle Property Inspection Services.  This is obviously a business and needs to make money.  Luckily for all my clients I believe a home should be qualified before doing a full mold inspection.  That is exactly what I explained to my new client from the Skokie home inspection.  Just because you want a mold inspection does not mean you need one.  Mold inspections can be expensive because of all the lab fees and such. I explained to my client that I would have my mold testing equipment on the truck if we needed it but I suggested letting me do my thermal home inspection before moving forward with the mold inspection.

While I was performing the home inspection in the Skokie, Illinois home I was looking for all type of tells that would lead me to informing my client that he might want to purchase a mold inspection.  The items that would alarm me would be ~

  • Mold like substance would be the biggest reason for purchasing a mold test.  Visually seeing any type of mold might be a good reason to purchase a mold test.
  • Water infiltration in an attic, crawl space, basement or any other area in a home is a good reason for moving forward with a mold test.
  • High relative humidity a.k.a. (RH) can be found in crawl spaces, attics, bathrooms and basements can be a a reason to get a mold inspection service.
  • Musty or foul smells coming from areas in walls may be a good reason to purchase a mold inspection.

If you are very sensitive to mold or mildew and your eyes water or you begin to cough that is the best result that might be from mold or mildew in the home that will need to be identified.  The Skokie home inspection has some seepage from the foundation walls that was allowing moisture into the home.  The drywall in the basement had a mildew like substance that was dry and could be cleaned off with soap and water.

The remedy of the mold removal to the areas that could be seen were  easy enough but the hidden made my client from the Skokie home inspection nervous and he wanted me to perform a mold inspection to give him as much information as we could.  Mold can hide in places that we can’t see so I believe his choice was the right one.

If you are wondering if you need a mold inspection follow this list prior to hiring a mold inspection service  to perform mold testing in your home.  Mold testing can cost anywhere from $100.00 to $750.00 depending on how many locations need testing.

If you need help with these issues any other issues pertaining to your home or building please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

If you live in the northern part of the United States then you know how cold the winters can be.  It does not take much of an opening or lack of insulation on an exterior wall to get a draft on a water supply pipe and in turn a frozen pipe.

 I was at a Skokie home inspection recently and tried to inspect the powder room on the first floor of the home when I noticed the cold water supply would not turn on.  I checked the emergency stop or angle stop and it was open.  Luckily the basement was not finished  and the plumbing piping was exposed.  The foundation wall had frost on it near the ledger plate.  The cold supply pipe for the powder room was on the exterior wall with no insulation to protect it from the cold.  I inspected the pipe to make sure there were no bulges or cracks from frozen water.  That is a big plus when trying to thaw out this pipe.

The situation at the Skokie home inspection was pretty easy repair.  To do this repair you will need:

  1. Hair dryer
  2. 3/4″ piece of pipe insulation
  3. small piece of fiberglass insulation
  4. duct tape

Turn the water on on the side of the fixture that is frozen.  Take the hair dryer and heat the pipe back and forth along the pipe until you hear the water running in the fixture above.  Your repair may require that you open a wall or a ceiling.  The repair at the Skokie home inspection was  as easy as it can be.  The repair area was open with plenty of room to work .

The next step is to install the pipe insulation around the pipe that froze.  You may have to install electrical tape that will require more work if the area is prone to freezing and insulation wont remedy the freezing.  You can purchase electrical tape at any hardware store.

The final step is to add insulation on the exterior wall at any area that will allow air or may possibly touch the pipe.  Duct tape or staple the insulation on the wall to prevent it falling down.  This repair can save you hundreds if you can follow these directions.  You can see prices on other repairs at ~  http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/repair-replacement-costs.html.

If your pipe has a burst or is leaking water then I suggest turning the water supply off at the main.  Generally the main is in your basement in the front of the home.  I advise you to call a plumber next because portions of the piping will require replacement.  The home owners of the Skokie home inspection were elated that there was no water damage and my clients were still buying the home.

If you have an issue like this and need my help contact me at ~ http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/about-jim-kolke.html.

Thanks for stopping by.  Jim Kolke


Skokie, Illinois home inspection aids home owners in changing simple outlets to GCFI type outlets.  This sounds hard to some, but can be done relatively very easily.  First of all, you need to know what a gcfi outlet is and what is used for.  A gcfi outlet is a ground circuit fault interrupter and it used to prevent electrocution if the electrical item that is plugged in to the outlet was affected by water.  There is a “reset or breaker” in the middle of the outlet that will short out or break if there are issues.  A regular outlet will not do this.

The Skokie home inspection brought the issue of Gcfi outlets and their locations.  You need Gcfi type outlets in bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, garages, areas in basements, decks, patios, and any where that water and the electric outlets can meet.  Sometimes I find the gcfi type outlets behind refrigerators and I suggest these be removed and replaced with standard outlets.  This was the case also at the Skokie home inspection.

The 1st step you want to do to change an electrical outlet to a gcfi type electrical outlet is to shut down the breaker in the breaker box that controls the electric to the outlet your working on.  Step 2~ You then take a screwdriver and remove the outlet trim plate.  Step 3 ~You then take the screws off of the outlet that secures the outlet to the electrical box.    Step 4 ~ Remove the outlet from the outlet box and remove the white wire, remove the green wire (ground), remove the black or colored wire.  Step 5 ~ Install the white wire onto the silver screw on the gcfi type outlet.  Step 6~ Install the green wire to the green screw and the colored wire to the gold screw.  Step 7~ Reinstall the outlet to the electrical outlet box and install the trim plate.  These are the same instuctions I gave to my clients from the Skokie home inspection.

Congratulations on doing your own outlet repairs.  Please visit our blog to see if there are other repairs to help you.  If you have questions about home inspection or issues on your choice in home contact us at ~  www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com.  Thanks for stopping by.  Jim Kolke