Sometimes I hate home inspections...

I used those two examples above for a reason.

The water heater, yes, I would turn on.

The pool pump was at an occupied home. I instructed the Realtor not to turn it on, because it was probably off for a good reason. They never listen! As he flips the breaker on, there is a loud pop followed by a large flash of light. Fortunately, after he got up, he was OK. The breaker on the other hand…not so good.

As you said Russ, everyone can do what they want. Just think before you do.

It didn’t shut down when I adjusted the dial to fire it up, it shut down when I took off the cover which protects the gas lines and the small inspection window. I take that cover off every inspection, I don’t ask the homeowner to do it. It’s no different than removing the front cover off a furnace. It simply lifts off.

As I said before, if you had to do anything to it to get it to work, it wasn’t ready to be inspected, was it?

Now, I probably would have done the same thing as you. What I wouldn’t have done is call anyone or tell anyone what exactly happened. I simply would have put on the report “Water heater was not functioning” and been done with it. Let everyone else shoot it out.

Stepping back a little bit, when you got to the home, were there any signs of re-modelling? Did you know that the homeowner was a flipper? When you did a walk around, did you find a bunch of other things wrong before you even started the inspection?
Here, I see these half-assed flip renovations all the time. Generally, if something is shut down it is for a reason and I just write it up.

I was going to do an inspection last week on a condo and I asked the Realtor if the water was on. she went to the property and said no. She then turned the water on. Guess what happens next? One of the valves under the non-existent sink in the kitchen was open and when she tried to shut the main back off, it broke!

I’m not sure we are discussing the same thing. I’m talking about this thermostat which can simply be adjusted up to force the burners on so the water heater can be inspected. (the red dial below)

I didn’t have to get it to work, it was working until I removed the cover plate(like the one this dude is messing with.) I described this in my original post, in more detail than even I thought was necessary, and I’m anal. :wink:

That’s as clear as I can make it. I interpret “normal operating controls” as the faucets or the thermostat on the valve. Both will get the burners on.

I still don’t know of any protocol that calls for adjustments to temperature settings in order to inspect a water heater.

I don’t know of any which would recommend against or prohibit it. :slight_smile:

Glad we don’t adhere to that garbage…

And I don’t think theres a need to even fiddle with that dial,
just run hot water for a few minutes in any sink.
That water heater should start up shortly…then you can go look…


What if the house is vacant and the water heater is turned to vacation mode?
Bushart, will not answer my question, maybe you will.

Same here.

Waste of time…

It’s much more efficient (time wise) to just turn the dial a bit and fire it right up, rather than turning on a fixture then waiting by the heater for it to fire up. I don’t know about anyone else, but I want to see and hear the initial start up whenever possible.

IMO, these are normal operating controls - no different that the thermostat of the HVAC system.

Start the dishwasher and the washing machine. It will"fire up". Using your logic, I assume you take the covers off and turn the thermostats up on electric water heaters.

Here is the issue:
Homeowner fiddles around with the water heater controls and now, his water heater doesn’t work. He calls a repair man and pays him to fix it.

Home inspector fiddles around with the water heater controls and now, the water heater doesn’t work. Homeowner still pays?

Using that logic I assume you open all the doors and windows in the house in order to fire up the furnace?

If the HVAC system breaks down when you adjust the thermostat, are you responsible?

I want to observe the flame and its start up. I do so by using normal controls of the heater.

I’m dealing with that very situation and it has nothing to do with adjusting the dial. I just removed a cover. I can honestly say adjusting the dial has never caused a water heater to stop working in 8 yrs. Not that it can’t happen, but the odds are so stacked against it that it isn’t a logical limitation to self impose. You could just as easily have a faucet handle snap off. Again, I see no reason not to use the controls on the valve.

Aside from my way always being right, it’s just inspector preference. :mrgreen:

The situation has to do with the fact that the water heater worked before you got there and now it doesn’t. That isn’t the problem. The problem is you decided to be Mr. Nice guy and told the seller what you did, basically, admitting to causing the failure…at least in his eyes.
Do you see what I am trying to say?

Personally, and I don’t see many gas water heaters, I am not adjusting the thermostat to fire it up. It either works or it doesn’t. Since I test appliances, that would seem to be the easiest way to get it to come on.

And getting to your other question about the vacation setting, I would probably turn it on as I too feel the odds are slim that something bad is going to happen. On the other hand, if something did happen, I would feel obligated to fix it.
I try to leave every home as I found it. I am sure you do as well. This is probably a 1 in a thousand situation, but in some peoples eyes, all it takes is “1”.

What difference would it have made if I hadn’t said anything? He would have noticed when he had no hot water, and I was the last person who was in his house with any reason for touching his hot water heater. I see what your saying but I’m just wondering if, given the type of person the owner seems to be, it would really make a difference either way.

I ask this quite seriously, what would Mr. Mean Guy do?

Sounds like you may have bumped the TC when you opened the cover and it wasn’t tight. That’s about the only thing I can think of that would make it go out when removing the outer cover. Check to make sure it’s snug before giving up on it next time.

I’m sure the folks here that think you shouldn’t even remove the outer door will have a complete meltdown over the prospect of your snugging up the TC nut…:wink:

If you hadn’t said anything, when he calls you simply say, it didn’t work a the time of inspection. Do you know of any problems with it before I got there? I don’t know what else to tell you, sir, it just didn’t work.

It’s a matter of perception to him. I am sure he would say something like, "I have never had to touch the thermostat or open any door on the water heater…it worked before you did that…fix it.

Of course, you can always come back with, “had I not done that, something serious could have happened, you should be thanking me”, but we all know, sellers don’t think that way.:mrgreen:

Respectfully, I think I’m sticking with the nice guy approach, flawed though it may be. Otherwise I’ll be forced to change the name of my company. :wink: