A/C unit - Testing in Winter

Hello Everyone,

I have a question about testing A/C units in the winter. My A/C tech tells me not to test when temp is under 60 degrees F, any thoughts on this, wrong or right?

When it is under 60 I just do a visual inspection and note that unit wasnt tested due to temperature on my report.


Roger Frost

If it has not been over 60 for the last 48 hours I do not test .

Outdoor temperature prevented testing in Cooling mode .

If it is power is shut of I again do not test as many have a
block heater that should be on for 48 hours

Thanks Roy I appreciate the information and help :slight_smile:

Roger Frost

What about the opposite? Testing the heating of the heat pump on a 80*F day? Same damage can occur correct?

if a heat pump works in one mode then it will work in the other providing the reversing valve isn’t bad. I don’t test heat pumps in both. And I thought it should be above 60 degrees for 24 hours, not 48.

At yesterdays inspection they had left the ac completely off, by the end of the inspection the house had cooled down to about 93 degrees. The thermostat in heating mode would only go as high as 90 degrees, so I was not able to operate the gas furncace as I climbesd into the attic.:frowning:

Well Brian you are suppose to be there longer than 15 minutes:p When It is 100 degrees outside and the house is vacant I unlock the door and run not walk to the stat. There is a reason they call me Candy A**:eek: :wink: Oh by the way that is why they placed a RED and WHITE wire on the back of the stat for when it is above 90 in the house

Bad Charlie! Bad Charlie!!!

Test in the Emergency/auxiliary heat mode.

Stop and think about what you are asking here. What damage can occur.

In the heat mode of a heat pump the A-coil becomes the condenser and the outside condenser becomes the A-coil.

When operating a heat pump in the winter you will have the room temperature which is somewhere between 70 and 75 for normal people and that is the temperature passing across the condenser no damage right??? normal operation.

In the summer the if the A/C has been operating the indoor temp will be 70 to 75 degrees for normal people right.

So what damage can occur if you operate a heat pump in the heat mode in the summer with an indoor temp of 70 to 75. I do it all of the time. Operated one Tuesday with an outside ambient at 85 the indoor temp was 70 degrees as my Candy A** had been operating the A/C unit:)

I think that the concern behind this is about excessive head pressure. High outdoor air temperatures cause the equipment to absorb large amounts of BTU.

The home inspection gurus are concerned about home inspectors operating equipment outside of their designed parameters.

Inspection laws and SOP are designed so that anyone with just a little bit of knowledge can be a home inspector. The testing procedure on a heat pump, in the heating mode, in the summertime, is more complicated (and must be sequential) than what the lawmakers and SOP makers feel that inexperienced home inspectors can handle!

I think you’ll find that most inspectors that hide behind the minimum standards of an SOP or state inspection law (outside of protecting oneself in court) are not qualified in a particular area or do not want to exert the effort on behalf of their clients.

There is a difference between* not inspecting an entire crawlspace *area because you can’t fit under the air-conditioning ducts and *not entering the crawlspace *because there is low clearance (some will say 3 feet). When I have a loose toilet or two in the house I find it difficult not go into the crawlspace because of clearance.

Technically, OSHA regulations identify “confined spaces” and many crawlspaces qualify for this exemption. I just find it difficult. I guess we’ll have to leave it at that.

David as you know the temp across the condenser in the heat mode is roughly 70 degrees summer and winter makes no difference for the 5 minutes or less that I operate the unit.

Yes I agree some Home inspectors hide behind the sop’s and use and twist them to find a reason not to inspect something. It sounds like you and I think alike we look for reasons to inspect.

All printed information I have seen says to not test in Cold weather.
I would be most interested to see Printed informtion telling me different.

I do not hide behind the SOP but do try and avoid doing some thing I should not.

I also do not think most other experienced Home inspectors try to hide behind the SOP.

(" Easily Damaged")
(" Sever damage can occur to air conditioningcompressorsif they are turned onwhen the outside temperature is below 60 F. ( 15 C). Some compressors contain a small heating element which must be on for twelve to twenty-four hours prior to compressor starting up. If the heater has not been turned on or the outside temperature is low,the compressos should not be tested .")


Roy I made no reference to your post I was actually thinking about David’s post about entering a crawl space and the height requirements you are suppose to be a mind reader:p

And I do think some HI’s hide behind the SOP’s I see it in real life and in the post on this BB every day. SOP are minimum standards for minimum home inspectors. I try to excel through education.

Oh I did not mean my post against you sorry I should have explained my self better.
Unfortunately yes some HIs might hide behind the SOP but as I said I feel most experienced Home Inspectors do not hide behind the SOP I feel it is the unexperienced who do try to hide behind the sop.
Great that we can communicate here and help ourselves and others to learn more .

We were not point fingers in any direction, just a generalization seen on a day-by-day basis in the industry.

There is nothing wrong with using the SOP as intended. It’s when you won’t move personal property to inspect something, and the personal property is a used bath towel! Can’t be broken, damaged or adversely affect the property owner in any way.

“Experienced Inspectors” use the SOP when they know they are in danger (how many inspectors have fallen off a ladder this year?), understand that there is a high potential for property damage ect…

… and to make the client “understand” what HI is about and keep out of the court room! :slight_smile:

The crap about “if you exceed the SOP in one area, your expected to do it forever” is a piss poor reason not to inspect something that can be safely inspected. IMHO
Yes, it’s an argument that can be used in court, but court is nothing but a “Big Argument” anyway!

IAW with SOP/Laws, if you don’t inspect something, it’s required or a good idea to report why you didn’t inspect. That’s where the SOP comes into play.

It is my opinion that when you go one step further for your client (and they know it) there is little or no chance to be sued by them, even if your wrong! When they know your trying your best but screwed up once they are more likely to let the little stuff slide.

Totally agree. That’s why my “Agreement” has a disclaimer about “exceeding the SOP if the inspector deems it necessary”.

“In certain instances the Standards Of Practice may be exceeded as an added value and courtesy for the CLIENT. This shall be performed at the sole discretion of the** INSPECTOR** and shall in no way cause any deviation from this Agreement.”]

I try to inspect as much as is “safely” possible, but sometimes I just don’t feel like I want to get up on that 12/12 slate roof. Or enter a crawl space through a 10x20 opening and 12" or less head room. Or an attic that’s even smaller.

I will fire an air conditioner in cold weather only insofar as it starts–that’s I need to know at that time. I defer to an HVAC for regular seasonal service of the equipment. The unit should not be operated for an undue length of time in the winter. But starting the unit just for the purpose of knowing it does start will do no harm.

FWIW, TX SOP states not to test units below 60 degrees.

What exactly does “test the unit” mean?

If it means running the unit for a length of time to determine its operational facility in some way, I agree. But if it refers to starting the unit and immediately turning it off, that is a whole 'nother bowl of pickles.


I think some of use need to sit on the side and let this ride!

You know as well as I, that there are hundreds of HVAC units running in A/C 365.

Hell, in New England, if you need heat, you just shut off the A/C (commercial).
But code says you must maintain a heat source! ???

There are those that know what the orange or blue wire is for on a Heat Pump. As I posted, you can try to teach, but you can’t make it happen.

For those that know the difference is between T-Stat wires, just hang.

For those that REALLY want to test in the winter, I designed a device (that you likely have in your garage) that you can put on your refrigerant gauges and “make the a/c run in the winter time” for as long as you want (it will make the unit think it’s 100 degrees outside!). I will share this with anyone that is willing not to cuss me out for over stepping the SOP.

Send me a PM.