A/C Evaporator in Garage?

I just did my first mock home inspection. The house has a split A/C unit in the garage (as well as a separate unit for upstairs). It cools the garage and has vents into the apartment attached on the same floor. Is this OK? Specifically having the air intake in the garage?

Thanks. Be nice, I’m a newbie :slight_smile:

No openings are allowed in the garage - no distribution, no intake.

Thanks, that’s what I thought. Owner said a professional A/C company just installed it 6 mos ago. I take it no inspection necessary for A/C’s, and the installers just put it where the owners wanted it? This is in Key Largo, Fl, Monroe County.

Check with the local AHJ. If they say its OK, ask for the reply in writing–then you’ve done all you can.

Even if it was “approved” by the AHJ, it should be called out as a safety hazard - because it’s wrong.

There are instances where the distribution system can supply the garage, but I have never seen it done properly. There are no instances (that I’m aware of) where the intake can be from the garage while servicing the residence.


I wonder why people pay to have home inspections in jurisdictions where the AHJ has already signed off on the building/remodelling permits.

First of all, AHJ’s are not there to determine what is “right” or what is “safe”. They are there to determine if the city/county bare minimum standard has been met.

Second, the home inspection report is written to benefit the party commissioning it, usually the buyer. In that regard, the inspector has a duty to his client to make recommendations that often exceed the bare minimums normally addressed by local codes.

Third, the AHJ has no liability for his decision to the client. He can be wrong and the client can be harmed…but the AHJ is free from all liability. Not so with the contractor who did the work that “conformed” or the inspector who went along with the AHJ’s call.

No…I don’t think you can find any worse advice than this anywhere on the message board.

Great responses, thanks.

So I note the safety issue on the report. Do I notify my “mock” client of the hazards; carbon monoxide from cars, lawn tractors, fumes from chemicals, etc getting into the living space?

Is this also a fire hazard, enabling fire from garage easy access to the home.


Can you sleep well at night if you don’t inform them?

If you don’t, then what’s the purpose of doing an inspection?

You should be going over the complete report with the nice people that let you do the mock inspection. Presenting the report is an important key to being a good inspector as well. Practice the whole routine.

In response to the responses to my post:

I would assume the inspector has already told the client of the situation. The question now would be be that the AHJ may well have approved the installation. If the client were to contact the AHJ, this is what he would be told–and the inspector would be questioned for calling it out.

That’s why I suggested he contact the AHJ himself and protect his opinion. Then if something untoward were to happen, the inspector and his client would have the AHJ’s opinion to hold forth if the matter went to court.

The installation is more than likely to be a dangerous situation, but merely reporting this to the client would not be sufficient if the client were to contact the AHJ–and he were to be told otherwise.

We may call it out as dangerous, but if the “expert” says otherwise, then we’re off the hook because we called it out.

Well now, aren’t we just hunky-wonderful. We left the client with a dangerous situation because the so-called “expert”, or authority, says otherwise–and we can sleep soundly knowing we aren’t responsible.

And that may be the whole problem here–CYA so that you’re not responsible for whatever happens to the client.

I’m sorry, but I can’t live with that.

Come to think of it, I’m NOT sorry–I’m rather pleased that I have greater concern for others than that.


A dime and the AHJ’s written opinion would not buy you a cup of coffee. It means nothing.


The client paid you for your opinion.

Your reliance upon the opinion of the AHJ is between you and him and doesn’t protect anyone.

Jeff, just for my education, what other instances? As far as a split sytem the only thing I can think of is having a complete system just for the garage and taking the firewall up to the roof to seperate the residence.

My first piece of advice would be to find the AHJ web site for permitting arc chives. You will then know that what ever you are inspecting had construction documents approved by a licensed plans examiner and then inspected by a state licensed inspector in the discipline they are inspecting. Not trying to say that the AHJ here in Florida will not miss something but they are certainly trained and licensed in their particular discipline.
I’m certainly not a HVAC expert while the condition that you described seems unusual I’m not so sure that it could not be done. If the system has fire, and smoke damper protection as well as carbon monoxide detectors, and meets the energy efficiency standards. I don’t know after a quick scan of FBCR I do not see anything that would prohibit.
Perhaps an HVAC guy can weigh in

When you call an AHJ and start asking questions they get nervous since they do not know the whole reason you are calling. Lawsuits are occurring against them and at least one was found negligent in this area but an appeal is going on.

When I built my house 9 years ago I called and visited the code office quite often to try and get answers but they were hard to get. The average response was “go ahead and then we will come out and see if it looks right”. WTF?

My mistake. The reference I was thinking of does not apply to this, so there are no instances (that I’m aware of) that allow either distribution or return from the garage.

Just to clarify, I documented the issue on the report and planned to discuss with the owner when I see them of the issues uncovered. I just wanted to confirm I should detail exactly why a/c air intakes are not supposed to be in the garage, and that I covered all the hazards.

On my report template;
4 = "This item is a safety hazard - correction is needed
5= “Upgrades are recommended for safety enhancement”
I assume this is a 4.


Most certainly. . .