Do you report Age of HVAC equipment?

I just got finished going through the NACHI standards of practice to collect information conflicts between our new state law and our SOP. There is a substantial amount of guidance in the sop concerning projected life expectancy, age, capacity, engineering evaluation of HVAC equipment. None of which is required by NACHI or our state law.

A considerable effort seems evident that home inspectors are trying to produce a product in the least amount of time possible. Report writing takes as long if not longer than inspecting a home in some instances. I have asked this before, but I will ask it again; what is the fascination with age, identification and capacity of HVAC equipment? Is it just because you use a computer reporting system that will not allow you to change the format of the report? It seems that a lot of time is spent waiting on a reply to determine how old a piece of equipment is. It states in the NACHI sop course that the age of equipment alone should not be the basis of reporting deficient equipment. It specifically states that BTU capacity is not required in the written report.

I just went through my inspection report and changed the things that are unnecessary to report on in accordance with the sop and my state law, to reduce the time it takes me to write my inspection report (the state law increased several pages of “things you must report upon” and I’m trying to thin the fat). This does not mean I do not inspect these items, it just cuts down on the recollection of the inspection, potentially answering the question wrong and reporting an error/omission. I went through what appliances are required by my state law (which is not required by the NACHI sop) and took out any appliance that reporting is not required. It takes longer to do the written report, there is an increase liability with everything that you say and it appears that it is only “eye wash”. So why do it? Am I missing something here?

I record but do not put in my report the age/size of the HVAC equipment & water heater. That’s in case a question ever comes up about it and it only takes a minute or so to write it down. For those folks that do include that information then I’d say they are simply exceeding the SOP, nothing wrong with that if that’s their strategy.

SC sop’s require reporting btu’s if available.
I also note the age due to its importance to the client for budgeting.

If the age is not easy to get and the unit appears more than 15 years old I make sure to report it.

Same here…components have lifespans. Many things can affect that lifespan but I know I would like to have some idea as to age.

I think this came from the NAHB:

I will report it if the date is on the data plate (very rare). This applies to appliances, water heaters, etc.

I may make a comment like, the (insert component here) appears to be newer than the house or possibly the same age as the house, but only if it is apparent.

Other than those two conditions, I stay away from aging anything.

I photograph the equipment data plate for record.

I often verbally advise the client that a piece of equipment is a POS and $$$ should not be invested in large repairs. Best use the money on a down payment.

I would not list expected life in my report as it is then obvious that you are predicting the future.

My post is about the time spent to get this information and increased report writing on something that can not hold water.

I understand SC wants BTU listed. I have no idea why. TN also wants some things listed that are questionable. We must attempt garage door reversal, event though we damage many doors in this testing. Appliances must be tested and reported. These things I can understand though. But to spend the time gathering and determining a “coded” mfg date/capacity which could be wrong, when there is no correlation between this information and the house it is installed in.

I see so far in the poll that most do it to do a better job and give a better report. That makes sense, if you have the time and expertise to do it. I just wonder how many of those that answered “Yes, it makes my report better.” post to the HVAC section and wait for someone to decipher the code.

The only question I get about age from my clients and Realtors (when I don’t report the age) is if the equipment appears to be original equipment.

I put it on especially if the unit is old. What I do not not do is say if the unit is to big or small for the house

I don’t think it takes all that long to include the information in the report.
I do include the age and size and SEER, the client can do whatever with the information.

Inquiring minds want to know…

I put an ESTIMATED age to the
HVAC system
water heater

It really does not take any longer to report it.

I could not read the nameplate on this one last week and just about gave up, when I noticed the date is painted above the plate.:shock: DUH.:oops:

I write the age of any item I can find an age for…appliances, water heaters, HVAC equipment, etc. I also cite a third party source (NAHB) for generic life expectancies of said items for comparisions sake. It allows clients to get a sense of deferred maintenance costs.

I keep pdf files of ages for all these items (found here on this site in several threads) on my tablet and simply tap the appropiate tab to decipher the serial numbers.

I also include any info that may be useful for clients - BTU, size of units, etc. In addition to giving them a sense of thoroughness, it provides info, and demonstrates that I have taken the time to carefully review each items (in case anyone ever tries to claim otherwise)…oh, and the photos of each don’t hurt, either!

95% of the time the approximate size is in the model number and the date of manufacturer is in the s/n or on the data tag. Therefore it is relatively easy to report the A/C is approximately 18 (+/-) years old, and it appears to be a 3 Ton (+/-) unit.

Most A/C units, furnaces, water heaters, etc will be installed within 2 yrs of the mfg date so I use the terminology (+/-) a lot. That also covers you in case you identify the A/C unit as 48,000 btuh because you read the O/S data tag BUT you didn’t know rhat I/S the installer used a 36,000 btuh coil.

I don’t tell anyone the age. However, I do report the date of manufacture on everything that I can find it on.

I take many pictures of appliances of all sorts, and record the manufacturer’s name, model number, serial number, and other pertinent information. Then, when the Client closes escrow and moves in, they contact me for my FREE appliance package, which has the pictures and all the information in it. Now they have all their important insurance information for those appliances in one place.

It also keeps my name in front of my Clients for many weeks, sometimes even months and years, after the inspection: first, when they call me for my FREE appliance package, second when they get the FREE appliance package, third when they have a need to replace something, fourth when they need to file a claim, fifth when they need another home inspection, etc.

Marketing, marketing, marketing. Anyone can be in business for a short time, so never fail to market if you want to be in business for a long time.

The age of the equipment in the home is often an important parameter in the buyers overall purchase thought process. The most common question I’m asked is the age of the components of the home (roof, water heater, HVAC equipment, appliances, etc.) so it is in the report. Further, if the equipment is nearing it’s design life, I add a comment like this;

“The cooling system in the home is nearing the age of its intended life span. The unit was operated and was functioning normally during the inspection. Because of the age of the unit, the need for repairs or replacement of the unit is possible at any time. You should budget for repairs or replacement of the unit.”

Remember, we are not only here to inspect the home, but to educate the buyer. This is a simple part of the education.

There should have been a fifth poll answer; “Yes, it’s good information for the buyer”

Blaine, I agree that it is good information for the buyer. It sounds like you took your comment right out of one of my old home inspection reports! :slight_smile:

In actuality, my inspection report generally has two pages of data concerning the HVAC equipment. My poll is based upon the flow of this bulletin board. I see a lot of inspectors trying to determine age and I see a lot of inspectors concerned about the time it takes them to write their reports and I see a lot of inspectors attempting to reduce their liability. If you understand the system and can provide adequate and accurate information I think you should. If you are obtaining and providing information because a computer-generated report engine requires it and it is not a report requirement, there needs to be a better reason for doing it.

I’m in a different observation mode these days. Has to do with liability. Our state passed home inspection licensing last week and I am modifying all of my paperwork to comply with state requirements. It’s my perception and past experience that if you comply with the requirements of a higher power your liability is drastically reduced. As Russel provides an appliance report separate from his home inspection report (which is not be construed as part of his home inspection report), this brings out another tactic. I provide a considerable amount of research information which is specific to the clients property (not just general overall home repair and maintenance stuff). This information is the education part of my services. My perspective on this is that if I write something, I’m liable for what I write. There are several parties involved concerning the home inspection report. You have the buyer, the seller, the real estate agents (times two), and repair contractors. The less you put in the home inspection report, but still get the job done the better off you will be. With all the different people involved and each with a different perspective, interpretation of your report may end up being “what I wrote is not what I meant to say”. You can be liable for information you provide even if it does not pertain to the house you’re inspecting. The information you provide can “induce” buyer to purchase the property when it may be later perceived by a jury that the client should not have purchase the property. All of this is general and hypothetical but it is feasible.

When I was a HVAC field diagnostic engineer, I came across a particular piece of equipment that in my opinion need to be replaced the day it was installed. It was junk and continues to be junk right out of the factory. To this day, this company produces a piece of equipment that has leaking evaporator coils. When you order a new coil, it has more leaks than the coil your replacing! So if I entice my buyer into purchasing a property because the air-conditioner is two years old and the house is 10 years old (but the HVAC equipment is junk and was junk two years ago)!? “Your report said it was in working order and was nowhere near the end of its projected life expectancy”. Your defense, I’m only required to evaluate the equipment through the thermostat!? Not anymore !

For those of you that have not been sued yet, you usually get nabbed for the stupid stuff not always were you actually screwed up!
Living for 2 1/2 years under a lawsuit is not a lot of fun. I’d rather go fishing! Which is what I think I’ll do right now! :slight_smile:

Just my thoughts today.

I understand your position, Dave.

You must be speaking of “Janijunk” or “Comfortfaker”, both of which aren’t as good new as a 15 year old Trane!

Catch some big ones!:smiley:

This is a GREAT habit to get into…include it in your report images and file away…so their is NO doubt.

I agree they need to be included. If the asphalt roof, forced air furnace and a/c are all over 15 years old, this is need to know information. If the water heater is 10 years old they need to know.

The client is bombarded with information over the course of the 3 or so hours we are with them and can’t remember everything they need to know. I inspect alot of 50 - 100 year old homes and the people are cross-eyed by the end of some of them. Including these is part of any decent report.

I think in an effort to stream line the reporting process, the client gets further left behind with many of these ‘improvements’. The wow value of the digital photos does not make up for the lack of these basics that should be included. I’ll continue to take a little extra time and deliver a quality report.

Adam, A Plus

And for brand new units, perhaps a slight modification:

Absolutely Russel. I have a similar statement for new, young, and real, real old units. I just don’t do the margarita thing with them.:smiley:

Which is why all of us in unlicensed states should be writing our legislative representatives requesting that someone sponsor some good home inspector legislation. I write mine the first Saturday of each money and use Massachusetts and Texas as my preferred standards.

I certainly consider it a part of my home inspection report. My report is not a static document to be thrown away after the date of the inspection. My report keeps giving and giving and giving. And I keep reaping and reaping and reaping.

Can certainly be true. That’s why I have so many links in my [Interactive Report System]( for NACHI members.pdf), links to powers that are higher up the knowledge scale then lowly ol’ me.

I used to think that way, but the courts are convincing (perhaps have convinced) me otherwise.

I’m not sure I’m following you there.

Yeah, but now you’re getting into associated risks. My risk of being injured by driving on the freeway is very high here in San Diego, but I do it each day nonetheless.

That’s one of many reasons why I provide CPSC research for my Clients. What good is a brand new, structurally sound house if the microwave is defective and the house burns down? True life experience for me for a property I bought in Slidell LA in the late 1980s. And true life experience on brand new microwaves in 2001 when many were recalled right out of the factory. One could buy a new Kenmore or Whirlpool microwave off the showroom floor with a square, green sticker next to the serial number, indicating that the defective microwave had already been repaired.