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.”
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.
Also see our blog post “Does A Home Inspector…?” Page for a listing of articles that clarifiy which components are included in a home inspection and how they are inspected
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