Heating and Cooling Inspections
General heating and cooling home inspections
We inspect the heating and cooling systems that are permanently installed at the property. That means we have to visually look at readily accessible systems and components safely, using normal operating controls, and accessing readily accessible panels and areas in accordance with the Standards of Practice. Something is accessible if it can be approached or entered by the inspector safely, without difficulty, fear or danger.
In the house inspection report, we can describe, in written format, a system or component by its type, or other observed characteristics in order to distinguish it from other components used for the same purpose.
An inspector is required to describe and identify, in written format, material defects observed. Inspection reports may contain recommendations regarding conditions reported or recommendations for correction, monitoring or further evaluation by professionals, but this is not required.
The house inspector is required to inspect the central cooling equipment using normal operating controls, which include the thermostat and service shut-off switches. A window or through-wall air-conditioning unit is not considered a central cooling system, and is not inspected.
If a heating or cooling system does not turn on or does not operate, an inspector should note that in the inspection report. We are not required to ignite a pilot flame or turn on a system that has been turned off. If you believe that activating an HVAC system may actually cause damage to the system, you are not required to turn it on. For example, the Standards of Practice specifically state that if the temperature is below 60° F, or when other circumstances are not conducive to the safe operation of the cooling system, we are not required to activate and inspect the cooling system.
If the heating or cooling system is deemed to be inaccessible, the inspector should report it as such. Sometimes, there will be a condenser unit on top of a flat roof. If that roof is inaccessible to the inspector, then so is the condenser unit. The inspector should report how or why the particular system or component of that system was not accessible.
We are not required to inspect the interior of flues and chimneys, fire chambers, heat exchangers or combustion-air systems. The internal components of the heating system are mostly beyond the scope of a home inspection.
Humidifiers and dehumidifiers are beyond the scope of a home inspection. We are not required to inspect them. Sometimes, problems that are found at the heating system are caused by a failure at the humidifier. Humidifiers involve a lot of moisture, water and condensate. If the humidifier is malfunctioning, it could have a deleterious impact on the heating system.
The home inspector at Total House Inspection will be happy to answer any questions that you might have. Call us or email us.