How does a home inspector inspect a refrigerator ice maker?

Thursday, June 21, 2018

There are four scenarios an inspector can encounter when checking a refrigerator ice maker:

  1. Ice maker is functional when tested at door service, or bin in freezer at refrigerator with no door service is filled with ice - Yes, we verify that the ice is crescent-shaped. Regular cubes indicate that maybe the ice maker doesn’t work and the bin is getting filled with bagged ice from the store.
  2. Ice maker not functional at door service, or bin at freezer with no door service is empty, although ice maker is on - We recommend further evaluation and repair. Troubleshooting the cause of the problem is beyond the scope of a home inspection.
  3. Freezer is cold (around 0º F) but ice maker turned off - If the lever is up at the beginning of an inspection, we turn it down to activate the ice maker. However it may not make any ice during our approximately two hour inspection. A normal ice-making cycle is 90 minutes, but opening the door for a couple of minutes to inspect the interior of the refrigerator and freezer will raise the temperature and delay the cycle by 20 to 30 minutes. So ice may not appear before we leave, and we turn it back off. In that case we recommend that the ice maker be turned on for several days and checked at or before the  final walkthrough at closing to determine whether the ice maker is functional or needs repair. Because the typical ice maker repair/replacement costs between $300 and $400, following up on this issue before closing is important.
  4. Refrigerator is off at beginning of inspection - All we can do is plug it in, turn it on, and see if the compressor starts up, then check at the end of the inspection to verify that the refrigerator cools down a little in the several hours we are in the home. It takes 24 hours for a refrigerator to reach a normal temperature setting, and the ice maker requires a temperature of about 15º at its sensor to activate it. Again, our recommendation in the report is to check it at or before walkthrough for closing to verify that the ice maker functions satisfactorily. 

    The State of Florida’s Standards of Practice for Home inspectors (61-30.801), as published by the Department of Professional and Business Administration (DBPR), does not give specific guidance as to how to inspect an ice maker. It states that inspectors should examine and report on “household appliances,” and further specifies that:

The inspector shall inspect household appliances to determine whether the appliances are significantly deficient using normal operating controls. Inspectors will not operate systems or appliances if they have been excluded in the scope of services disclosure or if there is a risk to the property being inspected. Inspectors will first review the system to be operated and use professional judgment as to whether it is safe to operate using normal operating controls and report accordingly.

   So each inspector must determine what must be done “to determine whether the appliances are significantly deficient using normal operating controls.”

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Here’s links to a collection of some of our other blog posts about APPLIANCES: 

What are the building code requirements for installing an appliance (furnace, air handler, water heater) in the attic?

Which house appliances need a dedicated electrical circuit? 

Is a washing machine drain hose required to be secured at the standpipe?

When was GFCI-protection for kitchen dishwasher receptacle outlet first required? 

Why does venting a clothes dryer into a garage, attic, or crawl space cause problems?

Does a refrigerator water supply line require a shutoff valve behind it? 

My spa tub stopped working. What's wrong?

What is the maximum recommended height above the floor for an above-the-range microwave?

Why would a home have natural gas appliaces but no gas meter? 

Is a hot water faucet required at a washing machine?

Can I remove a 240-volt range receptacle and hard-wire the range? 

 Can a dishwasher be wired to a kitchen counter small appliance receptacle circuit?

Why is it bad to have a clothes dryer vent near an air conditioning condenser (outdoor unit)? 

Do home inspectors test the appliances?

What are the most common defects with over-the-range microwaves?

Are a range and refrigerator required kitchen appliances for a house to pass FHA inspection? 

What are the code requirements for an outdoor dryer vent cover?

What is the maximum length for a clothes dryer vent? 

Why are my ceiling fan blades drooping?

How do you inspect a dryer vent? 

• Why is there a water hose connected to the back of the clothes dryer?

    Visit our APPLIANCES page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles. 


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