Steam heat inspection?

Does anyone have a good protocol for doing an inspection
on a steam heat system?
Are you turning on the water to fill up the system, how are
you Checking the radiators?

Just operate as a normal homeowner would, and observe & report (check guages, check for leaks, etc. etc.). I always recommend further evaluation/servicing, by an experienced professional, with a steam heat system.

If the system is shut down, gas shut off to unit, water turned off, do you fireup those items to check the unit?

Absolutely not.

No Gary, it was shut down for a reason not known to me, regardless what the others say. For instance, it may have been malfunctioning but someone figures you can get it running. :shock: Anything that is shut down gets disclaimed and deferred to a qualified professional as far as I’m concerned.

Gary unless your familiar with that system it is not wise , you do not know why it was shut down and so . let a professional fire it up , besides that there could be air in the system , Missing bleeders faulty traps and so on.

I feel the same way. But on the other hand, I feel I am doing a dis service for my client by not inspecting. I know of the liabilities. How are you guys handling, when a client says this is why I hired you?

Set the expectation on the front end. Talk to them first about why everything needs to be on and why you won’t turn it on.

Tuesday had a client where the valves were closed to the laundry basin, she said to me, “I know you can’t turn them on, what should I do?”
We had previously had communication - mostly email (paper trail) - about utilities, pilots and valves.

This spring had a boiler turned off, again, client understood that i wouldn’t turn it on and why. Through the course of the inspection found a broken elbow on a boiler pipe that would have been a nightmare had I indeed turned it on. And that was one that I could see - I don’t know about what’s in the walls, though. :mrgreen:

You can always re-inspect when everything is on.

If the boiler is shut down upon my inspection, I disclaim its function and I simply recommend that the Sellers have this operational for my clients’ last minute walk-through.

Don’t touch anything that is “Shut down” unless you don’t mind footing the bill for any unexpected water damage.