Service before close of escrow

I am in my 49th year of being a service tech or a inspector of HVAC systems. It amazes me to see about 95% of all Hi’s use the statement recommend service of HVAC equipment before close of escrow or some like statement. My question is why do you do that you are being paid to give an opinion on all fixed equipment in a real estate transaction. You do not recommend service on a refrigerator, dishwasher, cookstove/cooktop garage door opener, central vac system or any other equipment just the A/C and furnace why is this. Are not HI’s trained to some extent to detect a visual problem with HVAC.

I have heard most of the excuses like the MFG recommends service every year and I did not see a posted schedule of maintenance. Well hell yes MFG recommend service every year you think they are stupid they are trying to help their distributors get a twice a season contract so they place that statement in the owners manual.

Do home owners have their cook stoves service every year No, so why should they have a A/C unit serviced every year.

Yes I am stirring the pot trying to get another 5+ pages started Kevin W ya can chime in any time now

I do recommend that the client obtain a service contract.

I don’t state that it should be before close of escrow. I don’t have a background in HVAC so my inspection is to operate and observe. If there is any physical damage to the system or corrosion I do recommend that it have a more invasive inspection performed.

If the refrigerator or the range go out that would suck. If your HVAC goes out it could end up being downright uncomfortable not to mention expensive to repair. I try to limit passing the evaluation onto another, but if there are any signs that it needs it, including age, then I will.

The main reason is the huge number of cracked heat exchangers and leaky A/C coils in units that are not worth spending the huge sums that the HVAC techs charge to repair these systems.

Another reason is due to many hvac techs being on commission these days.
When a cheap sensor or capacitor goes out it ends up being a major expense to most homeowners.

Lots of systems can be working fine with no visible issues for a home inspector to report and end up needing major repairs or replacement in a very short time.

I have talked to several clients that are HVAC techs and learned a lot about what goes on out there.

Ok Troy you are the first to jump in here so to contuine this on Hi’s typically use the service statement to Cya just in case there was something they missed is it right or the wrong approach. In my 16 years of inspecting I have never had a call stating you inspected my cook stove and now it does not operate. The cook stove was 30 years old was it mentioned in the report as end of life.

My point is why the drama over Hvac

I have been involved in Home Inspection for over 11 years now.
The reason we recommend such a thing,

is because some 49 year Experienced,
**UnLicensed, **
**UnInsured, **
**UnTrained Contractor **
will come along and state…

“Your Home Inspector did not recommend service,
no worries, he will pay for the replacement…”


After more than 10 years of Inspecting…
I am always amazed at the endless stream of
49 year Experienced Contractors…
that lack…

That sell the Client on the idea that the lack of a Exclusionary Comment in a Home Inspection Report…
Obligates the Home Inspector to Pay for the New HVAC (Chimney, Plumbing, Electric… etc)

Your market may vary…
I know mine…

Joe that line is getting a little old you have been using it for ever. I don’t use disclamers in my reports never have and never will. After 16 years of inspecting residential and commercial and I have never purchased a chimney any electrical or plumbing. I use training/education to prevent those purchases. I don’t pass the buck it stops with me

as I said…
I know my market…
You know yours…

I was not the one to start a thread criticizing how Inspectors present a Report…
you did…

I don’t consider it as criticizing I was opening a dialog for discussion and you took offense. Knowing a market has little to nothing to do with one educating themselves to where disclaimers are not necessary

A disclaimer in a report and a written recommendation to get more technical evaluations made are not the same at all.

I can’t somehow help to think this thread was partially started by a past one I made. In my specific situation, I don’t always use the comment as a generic way to cover myself, but the inevidable can always happen.

In this specific case, a unit tested in Oct worked as intended. My issue was the gung ho contractor said I didnt tell him about a wrong sized unit, filter sizing, and a cracked heat exchanger.

I personally dont do filter or equipment sizing when the diference is 1/2 ton. Now if the unit is grossly over or under and its obvious, I will recommend it be reveiwed to determine as such. As far as filter and duct sizing, we all know this is beyond any basic home inspection. If they want more they should pay for such.

The root of the issue was the guy felt he was not informed of age, life expectancy and the need for equipment review. My recommendation for service and cleaning as a “repair” was done so due to all of the above, as well as the heat exchanger issue.

Lastly we all know most guys dont take apart units at all. I personally don’t dissasemble units, and don’t want the responsibliity when I have no license to say so.

I personally have a basic disclaimer for service at the beggining of the hvac section, because you know people love to blame another. If it works with no other visible signs of age or wear then I say its fine. If not I advise service for the specific reason of the above metioned.

I don’t use that type of “general disclaimer,” and HVAC is still my weakest area - although I am getting better :wink:

I generally report on more items in the HVAC system than I have seen in other reports. I include individual comments on the function and/or condition of the furnace, vent pipe, circulating fan, fan motor, gas valve, combustion air vents, return air compartment, evaporator coil, condensation drainage, drip pan, disconnects, refrigerant lines, temperature differentials, thermostat, registers, duct work, dampers and humidifiers. If need be, I will add additional comments for additional items within the system.

If I see/find nothing wrong with the system, there will be no recommendation at all. If it’s dirty, I recommend cleaning. If/when I find multiple defects or a significant defect, I will include this statement;

The split-system needs to be serviced by a qualified HVAC contractor. This service should be scheduled within the inspection period, because a specialist might reveal additional defects or recommend upgrades that could affect your evaluation of the system.

This will be followed with the list of defects that I noted.


After being an inspector for 10 years I finally decided that I did not know enough about HVAC systems. I studied, learned and earned my Texas HVAC Contractor’s license. I now feel that I give a much better and more thorough inspection. If I recommend some HVAC repair I am confident that it is required. By the way the only HVAC “work” that I do is to compute load calculations for other HVAC contractors.

Defect Recognition and Report Writing

I just finished this course here at NACHI.

Glance through it and you will see almost 99% of the defects found end with:
“Recommend evaluation by a licensed, qualified contractor.”

For the HVAC:
“Recommend having the heating and cooling system inspected, cleaned, and serviced by an HVAC professional
prior to closing.”

Maybe because these are clearly visible defects? Am I missing something here? It’s like constantly deferring the responsibility to someone else.?

As a newer inspector, this is what is being taught, again unless I’m misinterpreting something…?

I commend you for seeking more education above and beyond you will be a more efficient inspector because of it.

I agree but my reference is to blanket disclamers just to CYA

Yes newbies are like a robot programed to think just one way. There is nothing wrong with recommending a contractor if there is a visible need but why recommend one to check the heat exchanger just because one can not see it as a blanket recommendation

I am in the 5%. I have never recommended “service” of anything as you describe above. I consider it normal or in most cases, non-existent maintenance, and not my concern.

I like your statement I highlighted in red I changed your statement in bold from service to repaired and I would not use the word might in a report as mites are found on a chickens Butt:D and have no place in my opinion in a report as a item is either performing as intended or it is in need of repair.

See ya in Vagas we can talk and have our own little forum over a Beer

Welcome to the 5% club:D