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Heat Exchangers Not Checked During Regular House Inspection

July 3rd, 2009

Home buyers like you may be surprised to know that the examination of furnace heat exchangers is not included in a regular house inspection.

You may also be frustrated to know that the reason for the exclusion is the prevalence of frivolous suits in the country. The house inspection industry has chosen to protect house inspectors from being burdened with costly lawsuits that could jeopardize their profession.

House inspection leaders argue that typically heat exchangers are inaccessible during regular home inspection and that these devices can only be examined if the furnace is dismantled.

This is why standard home inspection checklists and contracts specifically point out that heat exchangers are not included in standard house inspection procedures.

This is also the reason many house inspectors no longer take time in examining a furnace’s burner chambers even if they can.

Home inspectors who are more committed to their profession and who care for their clients take time in seeing signs of defects in the heat exchangers even if they cannot fully access them. According to many house inspectors, fissures or cracks in the visible portions of the firebox can be seen if the inspector uses a flashlight to take a look into the burner opening.

Other visible indicators of defects such as black soot, rust flakes and incorrect flame patterns can be seen if house inspectors care enough.

The case of a homeowner whose heater failed just six months after moving in illustrates one kind of failed home inspection. The house is only four years old and the home buyer has just moved in, but he is already required to spend over $1,000 to repair the heater.

According to the homebuyer, the heating contractor was able to show him a fissure in the exchanger without dismantling the whole heating system. The homebuyer argued that the house inspector could have easily seen the crack if he only exercised a higher level of professionalism and care towards the buyer during the house inspection.

For similar cases of failed inspection, the homebuyer is advised to talk with the home inspector involved and negotiate an acceptable solution. The home inspector should be asked to reinspect the furnace so that he can see that the fissure is visible and should have noted the crack during the house inspection. If the house inspector does not accept any responsibility, the homebuyer can report the problem to a mediator or arbitrator.

Home Inspection

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