Originally Posted By: rray
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I don’t unplug anything from any outlet that is in use, and I tell my Clients that up front. There is a lot of case law that seems to indicate that you either unplug everything or you unplug nothing. I don’t want to be in front of the 13 when the prosecution asks me why I unplugged xxx but did not unplug yyy. And we know that we cannot unplug everything and we cannot test every outlet (I’m not moving furniture). Here’s three standard paragraphs that I put in every report:
Home inspectors as movers?We often get asked why we didn?t move something during the course of our inspection. Insurance concerns is the main answer. We do not know how much an item might have cost its owner, or the special history of any item, so our insurance precludes us from moving something and possibly damaging it. Even the unlikeliest-looking item could be a priceless heirloom. Additionally, if we were to move only one item, case law throughout the nation would require us to move every item. Obviously, time constraints preclude us from taking on that role. Home inspectors are not movers, and we do not know of any movers who are home inspectors. They are two different professions.
Unplugging equipment to test outlets?We do not unplug any item to test an outlet. We have a choice of unplugging every item or unplugging no items. Making decisions on a case-by-case, site-specific or equipment-specific basis would not be fair to all Clients, so we must make a company-wide decision on whether or not to unplug items. Unplugging every item presents problems when there is programmable equipment; sensitive equipment that could be damaged by power surges when plugging the equipment back in or turning it on; lost data from programs running on computers, especially if data had not been saved; or other concerns. In many cases, looking at the equipment?s on/off lights and switches tells us whether the outlet is functioning. Looking at equipment, though, cannot tell us if the outlets are wired or grounded properly. If you have any concerns about any outlet, particularly if it is going to be used for sensitive equipment, have the outlet tested by a qualified electrician.
Turning valves and breakers on?We not only want you to be safe in your new home, we want to be safe while we are inspecting your new home. Therefore, we do not turn any water or gas shutoff valves on, or move any electric circuit breakers to the ?on? position, simply for the reason that we do not know why the valves or breakers were off in the first place. Turning them on without such knowledge can cause property damage, personal injury, and, in a worst case scenario, loss of life.
Home inspections. . . .
One home at a time.