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whats covered under a general Home Inspection

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So let me ask.

What is normally covered under a home inspection?

i'm not talking about well, spetic, water bacteria or radon stuff.

But basically i'm asking, when soembody calls you and says hey i need a home inspection. What do you cover and what is not covered?

If i'm in the wrong forum chat for this I apologize. I'm not quite sure where this question should go.

Thanks gusy,


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About 33 states require licensing to perform home inspections. The laws in those states delineate what must be inspected, described, operated, and documented. Additionally there are roughly three major national home inspector associations that publish and require their members to follow their SoP or Standards Of Practice. (ASHI, NAHI, & InterNACHI) California follows CREIA, a state wide orgnaization.

All of those individual governing bodies have an SoP, Standards of Practice. All are basically the same with a few minor additions or subtractions. Some require inspecting appliances, some require some very specific items be documented, etc. Licensing laws can limit what areas can be reported by a home inspector (WDI/WDO, Mold, etc).

In states without licensing and for inspectors who do not belong to an association, what they inspect is up to them and how much they can convince clients it is sufficient. Most inspectors say they follow the ASHI Standards of Practice even when they do not belong to the organization. ASHI SoPs are the defacto standard. Here is a link to a link so you can review the current ASHI SoPs. http://www.homeinspector.org/standards/

Google North Carolina Home Inspector Checklist. You will notice that NC requires inspecting kitchen appliances, a summary section in the report, and a very specific statement be included in the manatory Summary section. ASHI requires a tad more regarding fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances but nothing about kitchen appliances or how the report must be written. So in NC, an inspector could follow the ASHI SoP but not meet the state SOP. If the same inspector followed the state SoP strictly, he would not meet the ASHI SOP completely. Therefore a NC inspector who is a member of ASHI would need to expand his inspection and reporting to meet both standards.

There is debate on how and what constitues "Inspecting" building components and systems. Most SoPs state an inspection is a Visual inspection. But most inspectors use a variety of tools to confirm operation or specific conditions. (ie: Outlet tester, Moisture Meter, Thermometer, etc.)

What constitutes a "visual inspection" of an air conditioning system? Is looking at the system suffiicent? Must the inspector change the thermonstat setting and hearing air moving throught the duct work? Is performing a temperture drop test across the coils necessary? Do you run the A/C in the winter and the furnace in the summer or do you disclaim these systems in the report?

What about the bonus room over the garage that never seems to get cold enough? Is the AC still functioning or is deficient? Or is the ductwork, system capacity, or insulation deficient? Does the air conditioning SYSTEM include the ductwork and thermostat or is it only the coil, condensor and associated refrigerant lines? Ductwork and the thermostat are listed specifically as items to inspect so an argument could be made they are seperate items. Therefore the bonus room that is never cool enough due to undersized ducts has a funtioning air conditioner but defective ductwork. Or do you report the air conditioning system as defective? Sizing a system and ductwork are beyond the scope of a home inspection. Fuzzy.

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