Winter home inspections in Chicagoland add some unique challenges to a complex procedure. From extremely cold temperatures to potentially hazardous conditions, it’s critical for all parties to be properly prepared for this undertaking. 

The needs of homeowners and hopeful property buyers in our bustling real estate market don’t go away during the winter months, and a comprehensive inspection is a necessary part of buying, selling, or maintaining a home, no matter what season it is. 

In order to ensure maximum safety and accuracy, there are several key considerations to keep in mind when a home inspection is performed during the coldest season of the year.

Monitor the Thermometer

The most important factor to keep in mind is the temperature. Temps in this region sometimes drop to below zero in the winter months, and this can present a number of problems. 

Cold weather causes pipes to freeze, making it difficult to check for leaks or other potential plumbing issues. Moreover, the chill can cause many materials to become brittle, making it harder to thoroughly assess the condition of the property.

It’s important to keep in mind that the winter months in Chicago typically bring a substantial amount of snowfall and precipitation. This makes it tough to evaluate certain areas of the home, such as the roof, crawl spaces, and attic. It’s crucial for the inspector to take extra precautions to ensure that they can reach these areas without injury. An in-depth assessment of your roof’s condition is impossible if it’s totally covered in snow. 

The pervasive relative humidity during the winter months creates other delightful challenges. High levels of humidity can cause condensation and moisture buildup, which leads to mold growth and other issues. It is vital for the inspector to be aware of the potential for these problems and for the homeowner to take the necessary steps to address them as soon as possible.

Winter home inspections in Chicago can also be dangerous because visibility is limited, and snow, ice, and wind create treacherous outdoor conditions which complicate many aspects of the inspection.

Days of below-freezing temperatures can definitely damage your plumbing and electrical systems. If a home has troubled plumbing or electrical problems, it can be difficult to identify these during the winter. 

Positive Aspects

It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Our real estate market waits for no one — if a home inspection is needed in the midst of a closing timeline, it doesn’t matter if the weather isn’t cooperating.

One benefit of having a home inspection performed during the winter is that it’s the ideal time to test your heating system and inspect for drafts and adequate insulation. It’s always wise to check for air leaks, which can lead to painful energy bills in any season. 

Excess condensation on your windows is an indication of ventilation issues and that they need repair or replacement. Your home inspector should have in-depth experience in spotting telltale signs of leaks, gaps, and other questionable conditions. 

During the visual inspection of the roof, clear spots of snowmelt up there are a clear indicator of heat escaping from the house. It’s also easier to see if there is any sagging of the framework with the assistance of a blanket of snow. 

Icicles or ice dams demonstrate clogs in your gutters, and if those are readily apparent, it’s probably time to hire a gutter and drainage specialist. Damaged or frozen pipes are a major warning bell that you need to call in a plumbing expert ASAP. 

Your property’s foundation experiences a brutal cycle of expansion and contraction over the winter months as the ground freezes and thaws, allowing cracks and weak areas to become more noticeable. Since your foundation is pretty much the most important element of your home, ignoring these red flags can lead to a massive and costly problem down the road.

Get Expert Guidance

Overall, winter home inspections in Chicago can present a number of difficulties to both the inspector and the homeowner or buyer, but they can also help highlight potential issues that you might not be able to spot during the summer. 

By taking the necessary precautions and being prepared for seasonal hazards, the inspection process can be safely and effectively conducted.

With shorter days and unpredictable weather, it’s smart to schedule an appointment with your home inspector as soon as you think you need one. Remember too that regular inspections, seasonal maintenance, and fixing headaches before they become unmanageable go a long way toward preserving the value of your home and saving you money. 

Whether you’re buying, selling, or just interested in gaining insight into the condition of your property and its vital systems, we can help! Try our online scheduling tool today to book an inspection when it’s most convenient for you and your household.