HVAC question for the seasoned HI

I have a serious question for a change.

As an HI not a HVAC person what would you consider as your #1 concern about an attic installed central heating and cooling system and lets discount the fact if the unit operates from the stat or it does not. I have a reason for asking this question lets just see where it goes.

My first thought is insulation ,or lack of.

Condensate drain

Preventive maintance

Yes, it may be like, in our area, having a furnace in a crawlspace. The ones I inspect typically have dirty filters and the owners are unaware.

Well we have had 25 lookers and I guess 4 seasoned HI’s respond only two with somewhat similar answers Hope I get more answers but I guess all of the CMI’S are hunkered down in their meeting.

I have no concerns with a properly sized and installed system.
I have two in my attic (split system heat pumps).

Best system I have found yet. No dirt in the ducts, good even airflow etc.
I might add the fact that these are Seer 13, variable speed airhandlers that have overall selectable airflow and also have duct dampers to fine tune small rooms. Attic is also large, well ventilated and allows for easy service.

This is mainly a cooling climate and your mileage may vary in a heating climate where you want warm air discharging next to your easy chair.

Bruce I am not asking if you like or dislike an attic installed system my question is what is your # 1 concern when you as an HI are inspecting an attic system for a client.

I would check to see that the unit has a pan under it with either a float switch on the pan or a secondary condensate disposal line. Also, that there is a diconnect for the unit. a clear floor area for access and maintenance, a light, and a GFCI protected outlet for maintenance/service as well as the usual stuff.

My main concern is to not miss anything. Too many items to list and all are important. Strange question there Charley, you better have a good reason for asking that. :mrgreen:

There are several concerns. In no particular order…

  • Attic Ventilation. Temperature of the environment containing the air handler and distribution ducts.
  • Accessibility. Routinely a problem with attic mounted systems.
  • Condensate Recovery. Handling and where it is terminating.
  • HVAC Duct. Type materials. Damaged areas of HVAC duct or disconnected (not installed). Damage and incomplete installations are more common in New Construction from our experience.
  • ETC…

This is my # 1 concern when I first enter the attic I look for the drain pan always first; not to say there are not plenty of other concerns with just importance but the drain pan is the first I look for.

The reason I even bring this up is I performed a mold inspect today on a home that just had a full house inspection by another inspector. Not me.

I was poking around in the attic looking for mold from a roof leak and low and behold there sat the furnace no DRAIN pan. The buyer was present for my mold inspection So I casually asked him if the drain pan for the A-coil was going to be installed as part of the contract. He gave me that blank look and stated he did not know what I was refering to as he did not read in his inspection report anything about a drain pan on the furnace.
Me thinks I stuck my foot in my mouth I think I can already smell the stink.

I was just making casual conversation and did not have any idea that another home inspector would not place any importance on a missing drain pan. But on the other hand only a couple of post from above mentioned condensate as their # 1 concern. I can honestly state That if a ceiling gets wet after one of my inspections it will not be from a missing drain pan. Ok guys have at it that was the reason for this post.

Yep. Pans are important. . .




You are probably 100% correct.I just typed the first thing I would have noticed.
Good post.
Another concern is filter access as far as maintenance for the client.

Yes, pans are important. Being the #1 major concern, maybe. But there are so many different things to check, I’m thinking #1 major concern is to assure there is an air handler.

Because there is no pan, you made the right call pointing it out no matter how you phrased it. What you don’t know is if the inspector the client used did report the lack of a pan and the client just didn’t bother reading the report. Or was told about it and didn’t bother giving it any further thought.

I had a client call me to do another inspection for them and she requested that I check the GFCI outlets in the bathroom to assure they are working properly since they weren’t working properly at the 1st house I inspected for them. I looked up the old report and there it was under the bathrooms,“GFCI outlets not working properly…”.

Condensate problems are inevitable, not possible!

Pans and pan switches above a finished ceiling are a must.

I made such a stink over pan switches (and builders calling the codes department about it) now it is a local code!

I figure a $7 dollar switch is more affordable than a $7k ceiling job! Same for pans!!!

Sorry I was late to class Charlie! :wink: