Air Handler installed in garage attached to the ceiling

Common in Florida.

I might be concerned about the additional weight to trusses or rafters. Air handlers are heavy.

IMO, this is the wrong way to approach inspecting. It sounds like you’re accepting being wrong and just moving on. Do some research and be right. If not this time, next time.

I’ve made more mistakes and called things wrong more times than I can count but I’ve NEVER been wrong about the same thing twice because being wrong stings like all hell and makes me feel terrible for taking people’s hard earned money and giving incorrect advice. Fwiw, it also makes me feel terrible because I lose the confidence of those hiring and referring me and that’s a short road to a failing business.

I’m really not trying to bust your balls and don’t have the energy some other posters here to argue. Just don’t ever accept not knowing something. Grab the manual if nearby or Google the model number and get the manual. With a solid internet connection I could do that and verify acceptable installations in no more than a few minutes.

Our basic purpose is to determine if something is performing. There’s nothing about installations in there. If we are going to go down that road and open that “can of worms” we need to know 1000% that we are correct. I say all this more in defense of our industry and am speaking beyond just to the OP. By FAR, a tradesmen’s biggest complaint about HIs is that we make stuff up and don’t know what we’re talking about.

I agree with much of your statement, we’re all human and we all make mistakes and should learn from them, in this instance I personally would make the same call if I saw this same scenario tommorrow, but that’s me and how I do inspections, we all have the right to run our businesses and do are jobs as we see fit.

This part of your statement I completely disagree with. Yes, we are to verify performance of certain items and systems, but we should 100% be looking at the installation as well.

I find installation problems all the time, Weekend Warriors are a big part of what keeps us in business.

An example for me would be electrical, I find electical issues on a consistant basis, the system functions fine, but if I can touch the overhead service conductors from the deck or from a window, I now consider that an installation problem, at least from an inspection point of view. But if a licensed Electrician comes out and say’s it’s okay and I then subsequently get a call from my client saying the electricain said it’s all good, I tell my client not only to get it in writing but that he may want to consider a second opinion as well. My job is done.

As a home inspector I can and will always call out anything thing I consider a defect, IMO it’s job to do so, and I personally don’t care what the contractor comming in behind me say’s. We all know the inspector is the first one to always get thrown under the bus. But as I said earlier, he can put it in writing, then if there is a problem moving forward, it’s on the contractor and not the inspector.


You disagree that SOPs require us to evaluate installations? I’m guessing that’s not what you meant.

My point is we’re going to exceed SOPs (or even if not) we need to be correct and accurate. Of course, I call stuff out that is installation like crap… we all do. I just think HIs lose focus on the core reason we are there and exactly what we are required (if in a licensed state) and have agreed to do.

I may be reading it wrong, but it seems your statements that I highlighted above are in a round about way, in contradiction to each other.

I agree 100% that the SOP requires us to evaluate installations.

A material defect would include anything that is in the opinion of the inspector, not properly installed.

Do you agree?

From InterNACHI SOPs definitions: material defect: A specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the property, or that poses an unreasonable risk to people. The fact that a system or component is near, at, or beyond the end of its normal, useful life is not, in itself, a material defect.

I’m not seeing anything about installations.

We’re getting off in the weeds here a bit. I think what we’re debating is what we are required to do vs. what we all actually do. My main point from the start was that if we as HIs don’t know something we need to figure it out. Your initial post seemed to go against that which was likely not your intent.

Fwiw, while we’re off in the weeds I’ve always felt InterNACHI’s definition of material defect is incorrect. A paperclip that is folded up and won’t clip papers has a material defect in that its main function is gone.

Here’s a quick Google definition: Material defect: The term “material defect” means a defect in any item, whether tangible or intangible, or in the provision of a service, that substantially prevents the item or service from operating or functioning as designed or according to its specifications.

Basically, a material defect is something that largely prevents an item from functioning as intended. NOT a large (expensive in InterNACHI’s context) item that doesn’t function as intended.

Thus the reason I don’t “classify” defects in any of my reports. Every system is “Satisfactory, Marginal, Repair or Replace or Further Evaluation” and comments are added as needed.


Devil’s advocate here, aren’t those “classifications?” :man_shrugging: :grin: :wink:


I like number 4. :grinning:

4. A material defect is a defect which is both observed and deemed material in nature by the individual inspector.

It is the inspector’s own experience and judgment that enable him/her to make the ultimate decision to call out a defect as material, which is why there is no specific photo or lengthy checklist that can teach or tell the inspector what constitutes one (although we’ve made an effort for purposes of this article).

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Not to the extent of classifying a “defect” in the terms as “material” etc. :wink: I just don’t use the term “defect” and try to classify it. To each there own in reporting styles.


I don’t either. I’ve never liked the idea of trying to figure out my client’s tolerance level for defects.

To some people, chipped paint is major. And to some people a big crack in the foundation is minor.


In Florida, I see a lot of this type of air handler installations. It is no different from installing the air handler in the garage, where most of them are here in Florida. I just finished a new home inspection 12,000 sq ft that had three air handlers, two in the garage on the ceiling and one in the upstairs closet. New construction usually have drip pans installed beneath the air handlers.

(iv) State whether the condition reported requires repair or subsequent
observation, or warrants further investigation by a specialist

Doesn’t go for all of us…

Little off post, Kevin. Is that a bond beam running the width of the garage? Is this a structural masonry townhome or building? What I am driving at is, are the floors and ceilings concrete?

Fire/Fume rating.
Those insulated flex ducts do not appear to be sheet metal. As well, the cabinet and filter area on the plenum are metal but not air tight, thus making toxic fumes capable of entering the habitable space.

As for AHU cabinet clearance, the manufacture has their input.

I had no way of inspecting what the support straps were attached to, but it wasn’t a concrete ceiling as part of it was visible through the holes the installer left when installing the ductwork. It was a 6k sq ft home with 2 additions, each addition had it’s own HVAC system added to conditioned that area so there were 3 zones. This particular system heated and cooled the master bedroom which was located directly above the garage. When the sysem was turned on excessive noise was present in the bedroom above most likely due to the the fact that the unit was jammed against the floor joists with no type of damping system to help with noise and vibration.

Although there is not, nor has ther ever been, any dispute that an air handler can be suspended from a ceiling in a garage, it should be obvious to any home inspector, and especially any self proclaimed HVAC tech, that this install was a complete hack job.

And yes, there were multiple paths for carbon monoxide to get into and or around the system and subsequently enter the bedroom above.