It’s a beautiful day here in Chicagoland! A great chance to open up some windows and begin cleaning dirt and debris out of the window tracks and away from weep holes so that your windows will drain well when Spring rains come. An old toothbrush works well for getting dirt out of the tight corners. It’s also a good chance to finally let a little fresh air into the house and clear out indoor air pollution!
While we’re all enjoying the fabulous weather warm-up, it creates the perfect scenario for water damage around your home. All of that snow is melting quickly under the warm March sun, and snowdrifts act as dams by keeping the water pooled around outside foundation walls.
Water damage is expensive! Here are some suggestions to avoid potential problems:
- If needed, clear areas of remaining snow away from the outside of your home to create a pathway for pooled water to drain away properly. In spring, it may be necessary to readjust the grade around your home so that water drains away instead of collecting near the foundation.
- Check basements and crawlspaces to see if any water is leaking in through cracks in the foundation.
- Window wells can become tanks of water if snow-melt trickles in along the side of the house. Water can leak in quickly from these points!
- Make sure sump pumps are working properly and battery backups are functioning and ready to go.
- Clear leaf litter and debris from floor drains so that water can drain away quickly.
- If you have a sewer drain in the neighborhood near your home, check to see that it is clear of snow and leaves. The water draining from several yards can quickly turn into a small lake, and without adequate drainage it may begin to approach your home.
Have you recently decided to purchase a home? Are you looking for a great inspector to make sure your investment is a worthwhile endeavor? It’s likely you’ve been told by your realtor, friends, or family to make sure you have a home inspection performed. And certainly we at INSPECT, INC. would tell you that you need look no further, you can rest assured that we are a sound choice. But how do you, the consumer, ultimately choose a home inspector that you trust is reliable, and what attributes make a great one?
You don’t want to follow someone’s recommendation or hire a mutual friend only to find that he or she missed an important defect in your home. While there are many important qualities in an inspector, such as professional affiliations and continuing education, the number one factor guiding your inspector search should be experience level – specifically the number of years that the inspector has been an active home inspector and the number of inspections he or she has personally performed. The number of inspections should reach well into the thousands, preferably around 5,000 or more, and with that many inspections in their history, it is likely an experienced inspector will have been actively inspecting for a decade or longer. Sufficient experience is the one characteristic of your home inspector that you must insist on, otherwise there is no point paying for a professional inspection!
The single most effective way for an inspector to develop their essential skills is through experience in the field. Classroom exercises can only teach the basic flow of a home inspection and usually involve following a simple check-list through a home. While this education is essential to building a good foundation, it is the many years of hands-on experience which teaches an inspector where problem spots occur and how to quickly identify them. Certain building styles have common defects, and homes built in different eras have unique building materials that are prone to specific problems. Having a truly qualified inspector can mean the difference between delight and disaster due to the discovery (or lack thereof) of defects, unbiased disclosure, and a clear understanding of all the home’s components.
Buying a home is likely the single biggest investment you will make in your lifetime. Making sure it is safe for you and your family is the most important reason for having a home inspection. You can rest assured that INSPECT, INC. is a team of home inspectors with extensive experience who are at the top of their field, and we will provide you with the information you need to make an educated decision about your investment.
Why a home inspection is essential for new construction –
If you’re building a new home, a home inspection might not be on the top of your to-do list. But if you forego this inspection it could cost you thousands of dollars in the long run. Here, we explain why a home inspection is one of the most important elements of new construction.
Why should I have a home inspection performed on a newly constructed home when the house is built to code and inspected and approved by the building department?
- Building codes themselves are the bare minimum required to make a home safe for occupancy.
- Municipal inspections usually only last 20-30 minutes, which is evidence that they are nowhere near as thorough as a private home inspection by Inspect, Inc. When you hire Inspect, you can expect us to perform an exhaustive inspection of your home and be on site for 2 hours or more depending on the size of the property being inspected.
- A building inspection looks at the completed project, but does not test the operation of the built-in fixtures and appliances attached to the utilities.
- The utilities are not turned on until all have been signed off by the municipal inspector. Therefore, these components – such as gas, water, and electricity – are not actually inspected for proper function by the building department. The best time to check the operation of these functional components is during a home inspection, after the utilities have been activated.
- The best time to inspect a newly constructed home is when it is brand new, while the builder’s warranty is still in effect.
Some of the items that Inspect, Inc. will examine, which are often bypassed in new-construction inspections:
- We examine the operational flow of water, and check for proper installation of plumbing fixtures and faucets. We look for loose or leaking connections. Faucets are turned on and drains are tested for leaks. These items are not covered by a municipal inspection.
- We inspect for gas leaks at piping and appliances.
- Check for the correct polarity, proper grounding, and operation of GFCI and AFCI faults in the electrical system.
- We inspect the function of all built-in appliances, including garbage disposals, dishwashers, ovens, ranges, cook tops, ceiling fans, exhaust fans, and garage door openers – all of which are not examined by municipal inspectors.
- Enter attics and crawl spaces, checking for proper ventilation and insulation value.
- Walk on roof to check for the proper installation of shingles, flashings, vents, etc, check for any damaged or missing components, weather permitting.
- Check for proper operation and installation of the heating and cooling systems, operation of the water heater(s), and evaluation of fireplace(s).
We understand that all new homes have some defects, usually minor, but potentially costly. Having us perform a home inspection on your new home gives you the best opportunity to take advantage of the builder’s warranty as well as learn what to expect in the future as the home settles into its new foundation. By not having a professional home inspection you may be putting yourself at risk for underlying problems that surface in the future.
Inspect, Inc. is thrilled to celebrate over 30 years of success in the Chicago area! Our company has always been a family-oriented, privately-owned business dedicated to providing excellent service through personal relationships. The company was founded in July, 1983 by Dave Mahnke and his wife Gay who, through hard work and dedication, built Inspect, Inc. into a respected leader in the home inspection industry. After Dave’s unfortunate passing in 2002, the company was proudly taken over by long-time Inspect employee Bill Hahn and his wife Anita, who brought their own dedication and expertise to daily operations. When the Hahns were ready for retirement in 2008, Inspect, Inc. again passed to another long-standing employee, Mike Doetsch who, like Bill Hahn, has had the pleasure of working in the company since the Mahnkes stood as owners. Mike and his wife, Cindy, maintain the company’s dedication to providing honest, objective, expert home inspections. Today, Inspect Inc. continues to operate as it always has – with excellence, with integrity, and with genuine care for our clients. We are lucky to have had the pleasure of working with so many home-owners and real estate professionals from all over the Chicago area, and we are proud to have played a part in the immense growth that has taken place in the real estate market over the past three decades. We will enjoy building relationships with new clients, as so many of you have become both friends and colleagues to us. Each and every one of you is part of the reason Inspect, Inc. has been thriving for 30 years, and we look forward to working side by side for many years to come!