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

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