Leaking ice maker AFTER testing

Hello All, I performed an inspection at a home where I pulled a glass out of the dishwasher and tested the ice maker and the water dispenser. No ice would come out, in fact the auger would not turn. The water did dispense. I noted it in the report and moved on to other items. When I came back by the fridge there was water on the floor. I looked up at the where the ice comes out of the hopper and the door flap was open and water was dripping out. I opened the freezer door to find a SOLID block of ice in the hopper. I removed the hopper to the sink and melted away the ice and then replaced hopper. Cleaned up the water on the floor and watched it for a few minutes…all looked good. Before I pulled out of the driveway, I contacted both the sellers and buyers agent to inform them of what I had found with the ice maker. When the sellers returned home (not sure how long after I left) there was a lot more water on the floor. A technician performed a service call on the ice maker and determined that it needed replacement. I now have a bill for a new ice maker in front of me. I do not feel responsible for an ice maker that was clearly having issues (solid block of ice in the hopper) before I arrived. How would you handle this issue? Would you pay it and have it be the cost of doing business, or, tell them to pack sand and see you in court? Thanks in advance for your feedback! Rick Davis

Why are you inspecting personal property?

You break it, you buy it. That’s how this stuff works.
Get out the checkbook.


Seller’s dwelling is not a personal property? it’s only personal if the seller is not including it as part of the transaction. How do you know the ice maker is not included?


Because in accordance with Real Estate Law, it is not Real Estate, regardless if it is being sold with the house.

Ever see a RE Contract that lists “Personal Property” to be conveyed with the property?

Yes, including furniture and electronics, such as TVs.

Do you inspect those??

David makes a good point, but regardless (and not to discount his opinion)…

Most homes I inspect, the appliances almost always stay with the home. Knowing this, I ONLY do a cursory review of the general condition, and in the case of Refers and Freezers, verify if they are ‘on’ and if they are ‘cool’ (but not necessarily to proper temp). When ice/water is located in the door, THE FIRST THING I do is open the door and look at the ice bin and associated components. NO MORE, especially if there is a problem noticed.

SO… did you inspect the ice bin and components BEFORE operating it? No? Why not?
IMO, that’s makes you negligent, whether you should have or not touched it to begin with!

Good luck.


The SOP says that we are not “required” to inspect a lot of items, yet I know good inspectors that will test stoves, dishwashers, ice makers and such. Not finding fault with an appliance is just as wrong as not finding a leak in the roof. You’re not doing your client justice by not “normally” operating these devices. If the appliance is listed in the contract (and refrigerators are almost ALWAYS listed as such) then they should be checked for operation and noted in the report as such. That doesn’t mean that I am responsible for the stove if I turn on the front left burner and it doesn’t work. I just identify it as a faulty burner. Or in this case, a faulty ice maker.

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That YOU did not see the warning signs of prior to operating it!!

I’m also confused why you inspected the refrigerator. I only inspect the built-in appliances that are present at time of the inspection, NOT the freestanding appliances or other components (such as countertop appliances, couches, tv’s, bed’s or whatever). If the buyers want to look them over that’s on them.


See also

My perspective is that you COULD have avoided this by first visually checking the icemaker hopper, and seeing the problem. But it was ALSO reasonable to use the normal operating controls of the item, just as you might a sink or dishwasher.

In my view your error was attempting to fix the problem, rather than shutting off the angle stop to the fridge water line and reporting. You crossed a line by essentially offering a repair service. That’s where you are on the bad side of the Standards of Practice “performing a non-invasive, visual inspection”.

If you’d stopped at shutting off the water, you’d have been non-invasive.

That said you could tell them to pack sand, politely. Offer to pay for water damage or the emergency service call, but not the already defective icemaker.


I don’t know where the OP is from but in Florida we are required to test the appliances.


True, (and we are also allowed to exclude them if we list that fact and the reason).

I would never push those dispenser flaps (ice or water) without checking all the parts/pieces, including the hopper and auger area.

In this case, I wouldn’t feel responsible either. Show them the CYA pictures you took of the solid chunk of ice at the time of inspection. Apologize for the water that leaked onto the floor and ask if any damage was done by the leaking water. If the answer is yes, go and investigate that damage. But the icemaker itself is not your responsibility.


The stove is “Real Property”. Look it up.

No kidding! I did the same for years.
My point, you mess with someone’s “Personal Property”, operate it, move it, drop a ladder on it, and that falls on you. You make an insurance claim, and you may not have insurance next year. They may decide your not covered for the loss, especially if it’s big cost or personal liability.

SOP’s say you can do anything you want outside a HI SOP, “if your qualified/licensed to do so”. Doesn’t say your exempt from liability. If you elect to exceed any part of the SOP, your throwing out any protection from “This issue is outside of the Home Inspection Standard”.

These, “your were in my house and now it doesn’t work” claims are all over the place in this industry. Take a poll here of how many calls like this.

Not finding fault with an appliance is just as wrong as not finding a leak in the roof.
Well that is BS because you are directed to inspect the roof for leaks and condition. There are no Refrigerator/Ice Makers in that requirement.

As I say over and over again; I don’t give a crap how you run your company. But when you come here and cry in your beer about a complaint you received, you can expect a reply you may not agree with. You can expect to be sued. You can expect your licensing board to suspend your license till they complete their investigation.

As for the difference between Real and Personal property, Real property is affixed to the property in a way that it’s removal will leave damage to the property (above ground pool vs. in ground pool that would leave a hole in the backyard). In this case, removal of a refrigerator only requires unplugging it and possibly detaching a water supply. No damage will result from it’s removal.

Look it up again. Permanent installed appliances “REQUIRE” inspection. A refrigerator, chest freezer, de-humidifier, washer/dryer, the wives vibrator are not in that group.


If the fridge is included in the sale, then I do a cursory inspection including the door front ice/water dispenser. I find defective ones all the time.

Tell the sellers that they had a defective ice maker which you identified and that is that. We find broke stuff. You operated the icemaker as it is intended to be operated. In your specific case, your possible legal exposure is removing the hopper which takes you way beyond normal operation of the appliance.


Basic operation only. That means if the fridge is plugged in is it cold inside. I don’t test icemakers / dispenser or water in the door. I record the serial number, so I have to open the door to do that.


61-30.807 Standards of Practice, Interior Components.

The inspector shall inspect household appliances for normal operation – using normal operating controls to activate a primary function. Inspectors will not operate systems or appliances with owners’ belongings, or if there is a risk to the property being inspected.

Food in the fridge?

Toasters? Blenders? etc.

Does it define appliance?

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State of Oklahoma spells it out clearly for us Okies!
(k) Appliance inspection requirements.
(1) The inspector shall inspect the:
(A) food waste disposal;
(B) range/stove, regardless of whether it is an installed or free standing appliance;
(C) cook top;
(D) oven(s);
(E) dishwasher;
(F) ventilation equipment or range hoods;
(G) installed microwave;
(H) trash compactor; and,
(I) gas appliance connectors and shut off valves.
(2) The inspector shall describe the range/stove, cook top and oven(s) by the energy source.
(3) The inspector is not required to:
(A) operate appliances in all modes or self-cleaning cycles; or,
(B) inspect clocks, timers, thermostats or household appliances not listed in these standards.