How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes

Do home inspectors test the appliances?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Florida State Statute regarding home inspection standards for interior components (61-30.807) requires that inspectors test appliances. Here’s what it says:

“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.”

  The law also has these further exceptions for appliances or situations that may be excluded. The inspector is not required to:

  • Inspect central vacuum systems.
  • Light gas fireplaces or heater, or other unlit pilot light appliances.
  • Activate any system or appliance that is shut down, disconnected, or otherwise rendered inoperable.
  • Operate any gas appliance that requires the manual lighting of a pilot light for burner device.
  • Operate any system, appliance or feature that requires the use of special codes, key, combinations, or device or where user manual reference is required. 
  • Operate any system, component, or appliance where in the opinion of the inspector, damage may occur.
  • Determine thermostat(s) calibration, adequacy of heating elements, operate or evaluate self cleaning cycles, door seals, indicator lights, timer, clocks or timed features, defrost cycles or frost free features, or other specialist features as it applies to the appliance device.
  • Determine leakage from microwave ovens.
  • Determine the presence or operation of back draft damper devices in exhaust devices.
  •  Move any appliance.
  •  Confirm operation of every control or feature of a system or appliance.

    A simplified explanation of this long list of exclusions is that a home inspector is not an appliance expert and is only doing a visual inspection, briefly checking to see if the appliance is functional. Verifying that the self-cleaning feature of an oven works properly or that a dishwasher adequately cleans the dishes without spots is beyond the scope of the work. A lawyer would say that the inspection is not “technically exhaustive.”

    The two major national home inspector associations have a somewhat different view of appliance testing. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) states that “the home inspector is not required to inspect or move any household appliances,” while the Standards of Practice of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) says that “the inspector shall inspect installed ovens, ranges, surface cooking appliances, microwave ovens, dishwashing machines, and food waste grinders by using normal operating controls to activate the primary function."

   We test the washing machine, clothes dryer, refrigerator, range, microwave/hood fan,  and garbage disposal if they are installed in the home, except when the appliances are not included in the sale. We run each appliance through a representative cycle after examining for any visual and safety defects. 

    Although multiple items and situations are allowed be excluded, many inspectors opt to check a few things for their customers that are beyond the minimum scope requirements. We test microwave ovens for leakage, for example, and some inspectors offer a service that checks for manufacturer recalls on the home’s appliances, usually for an additional fee. 

   Inspectors don’t do troubleshooting. If the appliance is not functioning properly or not functional at all, we simply note the nature of the defect and recommend further evaluation and repair. 

    Click on any of the links below to read other articles about what is required to be included, or not, in a home inspection:

AFCI •• Air conditioner •• Ants •• Appliance recalls •• Appliance testing •• Attic •• Awnings •• Barns and ag blgs. •• Bathroom exhaust fan •• Bonding •• Carpet •• Ceiling fans •• Central vacuum •• Chimneys •• Chinese drywall •• Clothes dryer •• Dryer exhaust •• CO alarms •• Code violations •• Condemn a house •• Crawl space •• Detached carport •• Detached garage •• Dishwasher •• Docks •• Doors •• Electrical •• Electrical panel •• Electromagnetic radiation •• Fences •• Fireplaces  Furnace •• Garbage disposal •• Generator •• GFCIs •• Gutters •• Ice maker •• Inspect in the rain •• Insulation •• Insurance •• Interior Finishes •• Grading & drainage •• Lead paint •• Level of thoroughness •• Lift carpet •• Low voltage wiring •• Microwave •• Mold •• Move things •• Help negotiate •• Not allowed •• Outbuildings •• Paint •• Permits •• Pilot lights •• Plumbing •• Plumbing under slab •• Pools •• Questions won't answer •• Radon •• Range/cooktop •• Receptacle outlet •• Refrigerator •• Reinspection •• Remove panel cover •• Repairs •• Repair estimates •• Retaining walls •• Roaches •• Rodents •• Roof •• Screens •• Seawalls •• Septic loading dye test •• Septic tank •• Sewer lines •• Shower pan leak test •• Shutters •• Sinkholes •• Smoke alarms •• Solar panels •• Specify repairs •• Sprinklers •• Termites •• Toilets •• Trees •• Troubleshooting •• Wall air conditioners •• Walk roof •• Washing machine •• Water heater •• Water pressure •• Water shut-offs •• Main water shut-off •• Water softener •• Water treatment systems •• Well •• Windows •• Window/wall air conditioners •• Window blinds •• Wiring 

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

  To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

How can I make sure I don't get screwed on my home inspection? 

How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

Can I do my own home inspection?

How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole? 

The seller gave me a report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector? 

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1940s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s house?

• What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property? 

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been moved?

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

   Visit our HOME INSPECTION 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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