Inspecting Appliances

I had an Agent today rant and rave about not testing the washer/dryer and refrigerator during my afternoon inspection.

I told her that normally these items are not included in a general home inspection, but I would turn on the dryer, run the washer on a short cycle, and look at the refrigerator (all were 3 years old). She then went ballistic on me…no kidding!

She started to go around the unit and inspect things that she thought I may have overlooked or assumned I did not test. I quess she thought because I did inspect the non-built in aplliances, that I may have missed or didn’t inspect other things in the condo.

I tried to keep my cool, but she started to explain to my client that I was not doing my job and that other inspectors evaluate and report on the non-built in appliances. (Ugghhh)

Ok, I am explaining all this because I would like to get some feedback as to what other inspectors whould do in this situation. I have conducted over 750 inspections since I started in this business, and have had agents ask a few times in the past if I look at the washer/dryer, but nothing like today.

What would you have done???

Also, why are the washer/dryer and refrigerator excluded in SOP’s?? I mean, the range that is installed between base cabinets and the coundertop is not technically built in…is it? (just playing devils advocate)

This issue is really hard to explain to a client much less a Realtor.



I’d point her to my contract that says what I don’t inspect and to my website which has a copy of my state’s SOP and I’d tactfully decline to spend my time inspecting those things. “If I inspect everything in the house, I’d have to raise my rates because I’d be here for 5 hours.”

In a real estate transaction the washer and dryer / fridge can be negotiated but by no means are required to remain in the house. You did all you could by looking at those items to please her, dont loose any sleep tonight.

I usually ask if the washer and dryer are staying, and run them if they do. I always check the refrigerators unless I’m told they aren’t staying, it is customary for the refrigerator to remain with the house in this area though.

Some inspectors here don’t test things that are “part of” the home, like well pumps for watering lawns, lawn sprinkler systems, etc. I check everything, and get more business because of it.

Look at it from the home buyers perspective. If it is in the house, they want to know if it works.

Do you check the coffee maker, TV…stapler?


Do you check the dishwasher? Built in microwave? Garbage Disposal?

If it’s a major appliance (Washer, Dryer, Fridge, Stove, etc.) and it’s staying, I check it. (Operation only, not performance)

Please post procedures for checking these appliances…what do you check and how…


I do a short test to make sure they work if they are to remain in the home as part of the sales transaction and report this in my limitations section…

The appliances are not tested for a complete cycle or under real load applications. The inspection of appliances is limited to basic response of basic features only and to listen for unusual noises. How well the appliance will performance under real conditions is unknown.

Almost identical to my verbiage Linas…and identical to what I do.

In my report I list all (built in) appliances and report Operated/Not Operated/N/A.

A copy of the Inspection SOP is a good way out.

Another is raise your fee to include these issues.
“Oh, your client wanted the 1100 sf technical inspection @ $695.00 ??” :-o

Blaine, do you check security systems, telephone, cable and basically all low-voltage systems and components? Just curious.

I explain that appliances such as ovens, fridges, washing machines, etc. are interchangable items that are not vital to the structure. Also, inspection of them would be highly limited due to time constraints and the limited amount of education on the infinate amount of makes and models. Plus, there would be a lot of grey area as to how these appliances performed (more of a matter of opinion than fact). If the client wants to test them and has the blessing of the seller, go for it! But my inspection of them is limited to issues affecting the structure or occupant saftey such as the fuel lines, plumbing connections, etc.

That depends. I have arranged inspections on all of those systems for clients (except the home depot lighting).

In this area almost every house here has a washer and dryer, refrigerator, and lawn irrigation system, which are customarily thought to be as much a part of the house as the stove, which isn’t built in or hard wired either. Almost no houses here have alarm systems, etc.

My pre-inspetion agreement explains how the appliances are checked.

If you don’t check appliances that is fine too, as long as your clients know what you do and do not do per your agreement.

Could you please give us an idea of what you do for your inspection of these items…fridge, washer, dryer, etc.


Frig: examine the seal for deterioration, temps for frig and freezer, try to determine age and note cleanliness/noise regarding compressor when running.

microwave: heats/doesn’t, turntable present or not, opens and shuts properly.

range: burners work/do not work, presence of hood and filter, test fan and note where it exhausts. Note and determine age, serial no. and model no. Note gas or elec.

oven: set thermostat and test. Note and determine age, serial no. and model no. Note gas or elec.

Washer: let it run through its cycles. Note age, model no. and serial no. Note evidence of leaks at hookup and quality of hookup. Note evidence of damage to hoses (swelling, etc.)

Dryer: Start up and see that it works and heats. Note exhaust (permanent or temp flex). Note age, model no. and serial no. Note gas or elec.

Microvave: see if wet paper towel gets hot, see if I can pull it off the wall.

Range: see if burners light/get hot, see if oven gets hot, check fro anti tip device, check appliance cord/gas line.

Vent Fan: Turn it on and light, look for filter, see if I can pull it off the wall

Garbage disposal: Run water turn it on, look for leaks and wiring problems.

Dishwasher: Close soap dispenser and run, check to see if it secure, look for leaks and high loop/Air gap, take manuals and candy out

Fridge: I do not care, put my water jug in freezer.

Washer dryer: Turn on dryer to test outlet.

Basically what Jim and Brian wrote. I have a cup in my tool bag that I use to heat water in the microwave oven rather than a piece of paper towel. Does the washer fill, drain and agitate without leaking, does the dryer heat and tumble, etc. Basically, do the appliances appear to function normally using normal operating controls?

I have found three dishwashers this week that did not drain, an oven that did not heat, two disposals that were locked up and a fridge set on the highest setting that was 50 degrees. The clients were happy, so I was happy.

A cup Blaine what an excellent idea, thanx
I was using a NACHI tribble but it just sorta burnt up.

I should start carrying some instant coffee too. Might help some mornings! :smiley:

So… when the drain tube has jiggled off the back of the dishwasher and you’re downstairs in the family room and suddenly water is running out of the ceiling light cans… you will no longer wonder why appliances are excluded in the SOP’s and you’ll wish the agent would stop asking you in a loud sarcastic voice in front of your client how you could be so stupid as to test an appliance if you can’t see the connections.
Won’t do that again.

Realtors know how to operate washers. If they want them tested, they can operate them and assume the liability.

Hey Brian, what happens when you discover that you can pull them off the wall?