Question Please

I received an email with this ? and as HVAC is my weak point I am wondering if any of you do this ? I do check to see that the unit is operating as intended at the time of inspection

When it comes to the air conditioning unit what do you check? Do you go to the condensing unit and check to make sure the receiving line is chilled and do you check the air handling unit…temperature output at discharge, etc.?

A good review and understanding of the SOP will help you answer these types of questions.

What your answer? Maybe we can comment on that!

As James pointed out, seeing HVAC is not your forte, the standards of practice is there just for inspectors just like you!

#1 there is no such thing as a receiving line.

#2 checking temperature output at the evaporator requires drilling the holes in the air duct system. Is that in your SOP? Do you have permission from the seller to drill holes in their house?

Save yourself some time and cut and paste the HVAC section of the SOP and send it back.

My reply

To answer your questions I am sending a copy of my inspection agreement and our SOP. As for the checking the temperature “NO” I do not as you know it will vary during the duration of operation, I just check that it is chilling at the time of inspection. If you have further questions a call would be the best way to get the answers you need. 818-929-4860

sounds good to me!

The inspector shall inspect:
A. the central cooling equipment using normal operating controls.
II. The inspector is not required to:
A. determine the uniformity, temperature, flow, balance, distribution, size, capacity, BTU, or supply adequacy of the cooling system.
B. inspect window units, through-wall units, or electronic air filters.
C. operate equipment or systems if exterior temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, or when other circumstances are not conducive to safe operation, or may damage the equipment.
D. inspect or determine thermostat calibration, cooling anticipation, or automatic setbacks or clocks.
E. examine electrical current, coolant fluids or gases, or coolant leakage.

If you ask me this is pretty weak. Accoriding to the NACHI standards all you have to do is turn the system on and see if it is cooling. How do you determine if it is operating properly??

There have been many dicussions on this of these boards. Some of you will agree and many of you will disagree. However, I think these standards need to be a little more specific. Can you imagine being pulled into court over this. The judge asks: How do you inspect the Cooling system. Your answer: Per the NACHI standads. The judge asks: and what is that? Your answer: I turn the system on and if it blows cold air it is working.

There are many things to check on and AC system. You can stand by these standards. If you do, I think you can expect problems. I check the coil fins of the condenser unit, the running load and fan amperage compared to the label, the shut off rating on the label compared the the actual breaker or fuse, the capacitor wiring (just looking for any burned wires) the air handler coils, the taping around the plenum, the duct system in the attic, air flow, and temperatures at the register. Usually there is no point in taking a temperature drop, as there will problems with the system that need to be corrected before a proper drop can be taken.

Now, I know I will catch flack from some of you for this, but I have never had anyone come back at me on an AC unit. I give them enough information so they know the condition it is in. After that, they can decide if they want to repair or replace it depending on the costs.

NACHI is another word for “Newby” in more cases than most of us are willing to admit. In this instance, turning it on and verifying that cool air is coming out is about all that many are qualified to do and, frankly, is about all that the majority of home owners want to know (along with age and model).

If you are qualified to do Manual J calculations, have the owner’s permission to drill into the flue to measure draft pressure and check flue gases…do it and charge for it.

But for the pittance that people are charging and paying for a home inspection, our SOP fills the bill, IMO.

First of all you must go out and get certified so you don’t violate international law!

But as a home inspector you just refer to paragraph A.

This is considered a safety concern as we are not electricians and trained for this activity.

This is one of those situations where so many home inspectors exceed the standards of practice (whether or not qualified) that it becomes an expectation by lawyers and judges. Just because everybody else does it, they will actually sue you for not doing it even though it is not within your job description or training.

There are a lot of inspectors here that came from the HVAC Field and are allowed to exceed the standards of practice if they are properly certified and trained (as stated in the standards).

Not testing adequacy is better than not performing improper evaluation of the system.
When you attempt to evaluate the system and you are wrong, instead of just saying you are not qualified, you are looked upon as attempting to do something you’re not qualified to do in pass off as a professional in the field… this moves you from errors and omission to negligence and fraud.

You do what you feel you need to do, but be prepared to stand up and justify your performance.

Taking an amperage reading does not make one an expert. One does not need to be an electrician to take this reading. Anyone with a meter can do it. I would rather take the reading and be able to ward off a potential problem than have a problem two weeks after the inspection. It is a simple reading that anyone can take, but most are too lazy to do as it requires opening a a panel cover up.

FYI - for those of you that do hold an HVAC license and are home inspectors, you will be held to your highest license, so if you are not going beyond the SOP and there is a problem that “should or could have” been detected, dont think that the lawyers will not pray on this.

it’s not about being an expert to operate the equipment. It is about personal injury liability to yourself. Home inspectors are not expected to know how to safely take readings, thus were not required to insert anything into a live electrical panel.

excuse me, but you still have to open the panel! Remember the rest of the SOP? Or have you read it?

and you are currently holding the position of Supreme Court Justice?! Again, if you read the SOP this is an “option”. It is not a requirement. There are requirements in the SOP. This is not listed as one. (it is listed, however it’s not something you must do but something you are not required to).

Because I’m a brain surgeon doing home inspections, I am being held to the highest standard that I must determine your mental capability when buying a house?

Because I have a thermal camera, I have to now perform thermal imaging on every single property?
Because you have mold testing equipment you’re responsible for mold even though it says in the contract, in the SOP, in the state law that you are not required to evaluate the presence of mold?

Just a bunch of more made up home inspection crap!

From the iNachi Agreement:

  1. INSPECTOR does not perform engineering, architectural, plumbing, or any other job function requiring an occupational license in the jurisdiction where the inspection is taking place, unless the inspector holds a valid occupational license, in which case he/she may inform the CLIENT that he/she is so licensed, and is therefore qualified to go beyond this basic home inspection, and for additional fee, perform additional inspections beyond those within the scope of the basic home inspection. Any agreement for such additional inspections shall be in a separate writing.

Say what you want, but you will be held to the highest license you hold. Therefore, if you are an licnesed HVAC contractor doing home inspections, you will be held to that standard. You will not be able to hide behind your wimpy NACHI SOP. As far as the brain surgeon analogy, just another lame excuse to make a stupid arguement, one which I will not get into. I have said my thing on this post. It will be the last one you see from me here. Good luck if you ever get sued.

Just another old wives’ tale left over from the Keith Swift days when he was selling a HI report software with the first 42 pages of the inspection report being a disclaimer. Paranoia sells software and insurance…but no one can produce a single case to show any truth to your claim, and you aren’t the first to make it.

When you contract with a person to perform a certain level of work and have received consideration (payment) for performing that level of work contracted to, that is your duty. Because I know how to rebuild the engine does not mean that, when you come in and pay me for an oil change, I am obligated to rebuild your engine.

Your HVAC contractors not using anti-vibration collars in their duct systems at/near the unit plenums??

oh give me a break!

You used to work as an electrician and now you decided to go out on your own and become a home inspector – you’re now required to do more than the rest of us because of your past life?

get out of here!

If you want to persist with this bull crap, post something to support your claim. I don’t want to hear about stupid lawsuits. I got involved in one of those. When I showed up to court after two years, the lawyer couldn’t even tell anybody what she wanted me to be responsible for in the case. It turned out that she didn’t like the way I worded my report, even though all of the pertinent information was there. A follow-up reinspection was conducted and she did even have a copy of that after two years of disclosure requests!

If you have to run around and hide behind rocks and trees because some moron lawyer is out there, maybe you’re not in the right profession.

I don’t care to get into the middle of any thing here, but a question, if I have a general contractor’s licence does that mean I am held to a higher standard then a HI

In California in most cases yes


If you are contracted to perform an inspection in accordance with the NACHI SOP, all of the rest of this thread is moot.

You have offered, by contract, to use the operating controls to test to see if the air conditioner comes on and turns off. Your client has agreed that this is the extent of your agreement and you have been paid, accordingly.

Neither your contractors license, fishing license, or marriage license will require that you do more than what you contracted to do and was paid to do.

Good night.


Out west here things are a bit different.

Good Night


Perhaps, when you find the time, you can provide a case citation we can look up and read to support your claim. With so many millions of licensed Californians, there should be thousands of such cases…