Inspection of refrigerators

Usually I write one of the following:

  1. Refrigerator was noted, but not tested.
  2. Refrigerator is cooling. No inspection is made of interior components (shelving, racks, pans, interior walls, etc.) in occupied homes
  3. No refrigerator was present.

If the buyer is present, will usually do temp readings and let them know the temperture verbally, most likely will not write in report.

Hope this helps.

I also get the serial # I have had a call on switched refrigerator

During my decades in real estate, I have switched refrigerators, water heaters, disposals, dishwashers, ranges, microwaves, washers, dryers, cooling condensers, and furnaces. That’s why, as a home inspector, I take pictures of absolutely everything on the property, inside and outside. I don’t use all the pictures in the report, but they can come in handy.

Forgot to included that I take pictures of everything as well - most do not make the report, but when the client comes back and asks . . . they sure come in handy.

A standard inspection should only include permanent fixtures. Appliances can be easily removed or replaced with faulty look-a-likes. You can offer ancillary inspections on appliances and earn more money. As far as refridgerators, you note any outside damage,check door seals,check interior lights,shelves and drawers for cracks,rust and supports. Check controls and vents. Temperature,check the coils underneath or on the back,for clogging from dust and dirt buildup,also if the unit is operating properly the coils should be warm or hot to touch. And last but not least locate the defrost timer and turn the knob to put it in the defrost mode.To verify the timer works,note the position of the knob when the defrost cycle started,then rotate the knob around and stop just before it. Wait a few minutes and it should go into the defrost mode automatically. If not timers bad. Next verify that the heating element is working,while it’s in the defrost mode unplug the refridgerator and then whatch the plug closely as you plug it back in,it should arc. If the freezer is empty you can just look at the vents in the back wall and you should see a red glow after minute or so. NEVER touch the element!,it will burn you. Always write down the serial and model numbers take a picture inside and out and put it writing that you offer no future warrantees or gaurantees of any kind. (Note chest freezers do not have defrosters)

Wow. Just inspecting the refrigerator would take longer than most of my inspections do right now. :shock:

Does anyone know the maximum safe temperature for food storage in a refrigerator? Seems to me I recall it is 42°.

At what temperature would you be concerned with?

I don’t do refrigerators. If the appliance is not attached, it is not inspected.

I’ve had issues (in the past) where the Sellers switched the refrigerator with an oldie, after Buyers walked through.

Nah it’s quick easy money,it took me longer to post that reply than it would to inspect one. I was a appliance technician for sears.

Even though I don’t inspect refrigerators, I can tell you that the preferred temperature is somewhere between 35 and 38 degrees F (1.7 to 3.3 degrees C). Anything higher than that, foods will spoil too quickly.

My high-tech KitchenAid allows me to set the refrigerator temperature between
33°F and 41°F, inclusive. I prefer 33°F since it keeps the margaritas colder. :margarit:

I don’t includ appliances either. That is crazy. If you ever owned an appliance you know that they most often break without warning.

It worked when you inspected it. Things break.

Hi all,

Good post going here. As a new inspector, I see posts like this and think “do I try and add no inspection on appliances to my report as well”? It seems with things that are not in a normal inspection (such as appliances), fireplace disclosures **etc, **where do you draw the line on disclosures and things covered and not covered in your report? It would be interesting to see sample reports that some of you veteran inspectors do!:idea:

I worked very closely with my real estate attorneys and insurance providers (E&O, GL, AD&D, Life, Workers’ Comp) to determine what I would and would not do as part of my inspection protocols.

I would not dare make the attempt to make those determinations on my own, not even with the help of 9,500 NACHI members.

To see how I address disclosures, education, further evaluation, etc., check out SOLUTIONS](, my Internet-based, educational, interactive report system.

I always explain at the beginning of every inspection that “The Inspection is a snapshot of the house on the day of the inspection. I don’t carry my crystal ball with me (always gets a smile). If the furnace works today that doesn’t mean it won’t quit tomorrow”. I do finish with some reassurance that there should be tell tale signs if something is going to fail but you can never know. A fridge you can’t really tell if the temps (I use the digital Themomoeter also) are OK the day you do the inspection.

I like that. I’m adding it to SOLUTIONS](, in my own unique writing style, of course. :margarit:

Happy to be of service! Oh and no charge (lol).


I also include the make, model # and serial #, it has been know to happen that the nice Refrigerator that was in the kitchen was swapped out for the crappy one that was in the garage or basement and the nice one moved out with the previous owners. It has even happened that people have swapped out the plumbing fixtures.

In the course of my real estate career, I’ve had sellers remove just about anything that can be removed. Sometimes they replace it with crappy stuff, sometimes they don’t. Depends on how much of a hurry they are in and where they are moving to, across the city or across the country.

That’s also why I have a [Free Appliance Package]( appliance package page.doc) with most of my inspections. It provides the manufacturer’s information on appliances–model numbers, serial numbers, BTU, capacity, etc.–as well as pictures and safety and maintenance tips and tricks.