Dish and clothes washer inspections

Had a situation where I went to run a dish washer. When I started it, water started running out from under it. Had to clean up a mess. Got me thinking of all the bad things that could have cost me more than some clean up time.

Poll question:
What is the general sentiment on running dish and clothes washers.

Do you think your client would like to know if these appliances work?

When something fails during testing, or you have to shut something off because it’s dangerous, contact your clients real estate agent (or the listing agent if the clients agent is not available) and advise them of the situation and what they need to take corrective action and put it in your inspection report.

You are responsible for things like dropping the ladder you’re carrying through the house on the TV. You’re not responsible for operating what your client would normally operate and subsequently have it break during testing.

You are there to do exactly what caused the failure (running the dishwasher). It’s the sellers responsibility as well as the listing agent to notify you (and your client) of anything in the house that is taken out of service, is dysfunctional or is a safety concern.

Crap happens sometimes and no one is responsible.

As for dishwashers, if they are simply not properly secured to the base cabinet and they tilt out, I will not operate them because they are not properly installed.

Inspect the installation of the components you are about to test and if they are not properly installed, don’t do anything else!

If you have an overheated circuit breaker, you don’t turn on everything on the circuit to “see what happens” do you?

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First off I personally do not operate/test a washer or dryer, but for a built-in dishwasher I usually will do a visual evaluation before I test. If I see any indicators that there may be a problem I would note in report and indicate why. But there are times when you never know until you operate device, always standby and be prepared.

= own a cell phone! :wink:

I run dishwashers through a regular cycle, check on it every now and then throughout the inspection. When the inspection is done, so is the cycle and I open the door to let it dry.
I turn on clothes washers to see if they fill up and then I turn it to the spin cycle to drain it.


I do… that’s why I check them.

Good job.
Now your client knows it needs repair.
Some guys do not bother to check much.

Always check under the dishwasher and under the sink for leaks .

No different than checking traps and disposals and should be done if the appliance is staying.

To be more pointed on my concern. During testing of water appliances if leaking occurred, damage could be caused to wood flooring as well as downstairs drywall. I don’t mind so much cleaning up a little water. I would prefer not to be on the hook for replacing flooring or drywall damage.

I ask the homeowner to put a load on , so if it leaks or breaks down, they did it. If no owner home i tell client i dont do it for liability reasons But i do check the hookup and see if properly secured to cabinet and tell them to run it at final walkthrough. My contract states i dont test them unless owner is present.

Robert best way to check is look under the baseboard as soon as the water comes on.

You are not on the hook if you are doing what you were hired to do.

If your agreement (or state law) states the appliances will be inspected, then any subsequent damage is the result of required testing.

However, if you take something apart, turn something on that was turned off, light a fire in the fireplace or anything outside of what is expected of you, it becomes your liability and responsibility.

If something gets broken by accident. That’s what you have insurance for. You don’t think the insurance company will pay for something they are not responsible do you?

We are not there to inspect houses and pay to fix what we find broken, or what breaks! I don’t see that in any standard of practice. Just because the seller thinks that it was okay before you operated it, and you were the last one there, that does not make you responsible. Again, that’s what you buy insurance for.

The client is always right, but not when they’re wrong!
Paying for things because you’re a nice guy and want everybody to feel good is not always a good business practice as often perceived.

Good post .

I inspect dishwashers but not clothes washers…they seldom go with the house around here. I had a DW leak all over the place once…still inspect them.

Yes I test the appliances.
I run the clothes washer briefly, see it fill and starts agitating and then set it to spin so it drains.

Dryer, I set it on high (cotton) and wait for it to warm up while I’m doing something else, make sure it’s spinning and check the temp with an infrared gun.

Dishwasher, set it to short wash cycle and let it do its thing.

Do you check them for safety ?
Dryer vents,drain pans,makeup air,outlets,etc.

While you are at it perhaps you should check “all” the appliances such as refer, ice maker, microwave, toaster…? If there is a potential problem, such appliances are not necessarily considered a “fixture” under normal real estate language and contracts generally exclude them. If it’s a potential liability, unlike flushing a toilet, why stick your neck out…? If it breaks later, you would be no more liable than if you had performed an appliance check in advance and commented (DW appeared serviceable). Check what’s obvious about the general installation and comment accordingly about its installation, not it’s function ability…

Rick many items on my appliance checklist are as important or more important than other components.

How about bacterial infection from a drain hose attached to a disposal and no air gap. ?

How about the disposal hanging by conductors with no BX mount bracket ?

How about no gas shutoff behind a light weight stove with a brass flex hose ?

How about waterlines leaking ?

How about ungrounded plugs on hanging adapters that shock you through the metal casing ?

How about 12 volt halogen puck lights with transformers inside the wall ?

Got some old bath towels? Put them in your vehicle. They come in handy when leaks are found. Place one under the dishwasher before it is started. As with any inspection item, look first. Open the door. Check for lime build-up on the door seal. Look for rusted racks/age/soap build-up. Make a determination to start, or not to start the appliance. I do not check any appliance that is portable, or removable. “Staying with home not determined…”.