Adequacy of HVAC system

Was wondering if anyone out there comments on the size of an HVAC system. I inspected a 3300 sq ft 2-story house yesterday with one (not zoned) 5-ton 12 seer cooling system. I see this quite often with the big box houses and don’t know how the builders get away with it. Of course it was a foreclosure and I’m sure the previous owner wasnt told that thier electric bills would be more than their house payment. I know that we are not required to report the size, adequacy of the system, etc. But I feel its my duty to at least inform the client about it. After all I am looking out for their best interest.
I have previously reported this in my reports just as my opinion and to get a second opinion but should I report it at all and just verbally give client my opinion.
Was just wondering how other inspectors have handled this.

Are you a qualified HVAC contractor or have other credentials making you a system expert?

If so, I do not think it is a problem to report something within your expertise.

Personally, it is not my responsibility to determine the inadequacy of any HVAC system, so I only report the apparent condition of the equipment.

Ditto. There are several more variables that must be considered in addition to SF and BTU output.

If you have any concern about the adequacy of a system, recommend in the report that it be evaluated by a qualified HVAC technician before closing escrow. I imagine I ticked off a few realtors for doing so but it beats getting an angry call from the client months later. Or even worse, their lawyer looking to strong arm me into a settlement for something outside of the SOP …

With todays building standards and depending where you live…3300 SF and a 5 ton unit…thats under 700 sf per ton. I do not see ap problem with it…But then again, I did not do an energy audit on it. I do not know how many windows, what kind of windows, the type of roof, the color of roof, the amount of insualtion…

When it comes to this type of problem it sounds as though you are giving “advice” instead of facts. What if you think their refrigerator is not the proper model? Do you say get a bigger refrigerator? KEEP FACTS as FACTS and OPINIONS as OPINIONS. I am training a new guy, been with me for six months…Its not always about what you SEE or think…Its also about what you Hear, Feel, and Smell…Meaning. Go through the house with either the heat or AC on and as you walk through the house notice if it FEELS consistent from room to room, temperature wise. Insure that it can raise and lower the temp in the proper amount of time…If it FEELS wrong then it typically is WRONG. But get PROOF…People do not hire you because you are suppose to be well rounded on the aspects of a home, not because you think something could be better. All the house down here in Fla need to have a energy rating sheet stuck to the air handler, insure that its the right size.

Remember what is CODE and what is OPTIMAL is two different things…

Technically speaking, in many states only a licensed professional engineer can comment on the adequacy or inadequacy of any mechanical or electrical system.

This is precisely why most SOPs are written the way they are.

You can comment that you have a concern about sizing, but always follow up with a need to contact a PE for further evaluation.

I’ve done enough 1 year builder warranty inspections on these types of houses to have heard all of the complaints from the owners about the A/C.

Although I disclaim design issues, I will comment that typically these types of systems are at least outfitted with a damper system and two thermostats. The owner will most likely have difficulty with establishing similar comfort levels throughout the home if there is only one thermostat (usually located on the second level). Sometimes moving the thermostat to the middle of the stairway helps some.

How can you provide consistent comfort levels throughout the home when there is only one thermostat on the second floor?

Answer: you can’t.

I think you’re on the right track. :wink: