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HVAC Inspection Depth


GrantJones
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Hey guys,

I'm just looking to get a feel on what's common. The SOP doesn't require an inspector to dismantle anything. Taking off 'readily accessible panels' is required, though. The other day, though, someone called inspectors lazy out who don't unscrew the fan housing and remove it to see what's going on by sticking their head up its, um, hind quarters.

How many of us do this? I certainly don't because dismantling any part of the house isn't in the normal expectations of anyone. Or am I wrong or in the minority here and I need to get a little more invasive? (Which I'm not comfortable doing without more training!)

Thanks.

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The other day, though, someone called inspectors lazy who don't unscrew the fan housing and remove it to see what's going on by sticking their head up its, um, hind quarters.

Please tell me you didn't read that here; the folks that come here are usually a little more rational than that.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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It was very recent, and it might have been John, but I was thinking (almost certain really) it was Mike O when I was reading his post.

A forum search should turn it up I would think.
Search what exactly, furnace dupas?

[:-dev3]

I found a search for arse worked quite well. That was after "Head up" and Lazy didn't work...

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Grant,

I remove the access covers and bypass the safety switch so I can observe the burner in action (gas or propane). By the time I get this far I've seen enough wrong to warrant a service call. Really, every one. No need to go any further. If I ever run into a decent furnace I'm pretty sure I'll be speachless.

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Grant,

I fear you misunderstood John. I think he was referring to HVAC guys that he could refer to his clients about repairs, etc...Not that (he) or (we) should, would, or could dismantle furnaces and such.

To answer your question, I do not go any further than the front panel of any HVAC equipment.

But I may be the one that is misunderstanding the statement.

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Grant,

I fear you misunderstood John. I think he was referring to HVAC guys that he could refer to his clients about repairs, etc...Not that (he) or (we) should, would, or could dismantle furnaces and such.

To answer your question, I do not go any further than the front panel of any HVAC equipment.

But I may be the one that is misunderstanding the statement.

I hope so, but if this 20 year old HVAC repairman is only doing a visual...what's he been hired to do?

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Although the SOP doesn't require the inspector to do certain things it doesn't prohibit you from doing them either. The SOP is a baseline and then the inspector can add on to it. John knows what he is doing and feels comfortable digging deeper when it comes to furnace inspections. Good for him. Pulling a blower door, looking for mold or wiggling the squirrel cage to see if the motor bushings are sloppy takes only a few more minutes and doesn't require any training per se. Just going the extra mile. There are inspectors doing IR and that is well beyond the SOP but their branching out. Personally I would find it monotonous to always follow the SOP - kind of like working on an assembly line. In the end it doesn't much matter what other inspectors do, it's what you're comfortable doing.

Also, telling the client that you are going well above the "SOP" is great marketing too. Your client will remember the extra steps you took, to look out for them, and the next time one of their friends are buying a home they will sing your song. Don't do anything extra without getting some mileage from it.

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Hi,

Pulling off an air handler door and checking the blower bushings is one thing but pulling out the blower to look into the exchanger is another. One takes a real chance on shorting out a processor in these newer furnaces by attempting to do that and in a lot of them you have to disconnect the first section of exhaust vent from the collar and get it out of the way to pull the drum and then reassemble everything afterward. I think there's a whole lot of liability that can attach to that.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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The referenced post had to do with referrals, and I was talking about SOMEBODY else--specifically an HVAC tech--performing the cliched "further assessment" on a suspect furnace. I said that having a buyer pay an incompetent tech to perform a visual was a waste of time, but that there were people I refer who I know will take the time to pull the blower, stick their heads inside the furnace and see what's up with the heat exchanger.

Having said that, I DO occasionally pull a blower myself, but not typically in a crawlspace or similarly yucko environment where you need a tarp or piece of cardboard to prevent the blower from getting muddy, etc. This isn't something anyone should do unless they've been shown how by a competent HVAC person. It's relatively simple--you (typically) just remove a couple of screws and the wiring harness, and slide the blower out on its tracks. Doing so goes way beyond the Standards, but, if you're curious like me, it's kind of fun and only takes ten minutes or so. Interestingly, a lot of cracks are discovered, but I can also often see where a heat exchanger has failed because soot is visible escaping from the crimps. Be aware that an exchanger doesn't have to have a physical crack to be considered, "failed."

Like Terry said, customers delight in knowing someone has gone beyond the call to look out for them. That's why I unfailingly take a photo from the highest portion of a roof and include it in my report. The annotation says something like, "Nothing revelatory, here. I just wanted you to know that I earned my outrageous fee."

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I don't bother reminding them about my "outrageous fee" but I usually also include a picture or two from the high point of the roof at the beginning of the roofing section.

I don't pull blower fans but I do usually wiggle it and stick my camera in to get a picture of the fan blades to see what condition they're in. Find some interesting stuff riding the fan blades.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just got home from a commercial inspection and I had an HVAC tech with me for a large apartment complex. I added his cost into the quote. He put gauges on 28 of the units that were operating and found issues with about 75% of them. Now, under the residential home inspection side, I will pull the blower and furnace cover when I can and take a look see. That is as far as I go at this point. I don't normally travel with and HVAC tech, but it was part of the job requirement for this particular property.

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