Does a home inspector check wall air conditioners?

Friday, November 15, 2019

Most wall air conditioners are permanently installed and therefore required to be inspected by the Standards of Practice of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the State of Florida. The definition of installed by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), for example, is “attached such that removal requires tools.” The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), however, specifically exludes through-wall and window air conditioners from inspection. 

    The inspector must describe the energy source and cooling system, but is not required to determine the cooling supply adequacy (whether the unit is large enough for the area served), distribution balance of the system, or indoor air quality. Also, the inspector is not expected to operate an air conditioner when the outdoor temperature poses a risk of damaging the system, which is usually considered to be under about 55º F.

    Many wall air conditioners are 240-volt units and on a dedicated circuit and receptacle. But the #1 defect commonly found with 120-volt wall air conditioners is that the homeowner has ignored the warning on the side of the big higher-BTU units to “use on single outlet circuit only,” and plugged it into the nearest regular wall receptacle outlet. The manufacturer wants it on a separate, dedicated circuit because of the high amperage rating, and it’s an electrical safety issue.

    Also, even when a wall air conditioner has a HEAT mode, if it is the only heat source in a room, it does not meet the standard of “permanently installed heat” necessary for the room to be considered part of the living area of a home. Both the International Building Code (IRC) and the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC) specify that a “habitable room” must have an installed heating system capable of maintaining 68º F. A plug-in space heater or window air conditioner does not count. Another sticking point is that older homes that need a four-point inspection to get homeowner’s insurance are expected to have installed heat as a requirement for coverage.

    To learn more, see our blog posts What are the most common problems with wall/window air conditioners? and What is the average life expectancy of a window unit air conditioner or heat pump? 

    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 •• Garage door opener •• 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 air conditioners •• Window blinds •• Wiring 

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

  To learn more about heating and air conditioning systems, see these other blog posts:

How can I find out the SEER of my air conditioner? 

My air conditioner won't turn on. What's wrong? 

How can I find out the size of my air conditioner? 

How can I tell whether the condenser (outdoor unit) is an air conditioner or heat pump? 

Where is the air filter for my central air conditioner and furnace? I can’t find it? 

Does an old air conditioner use more electricity as it ages? 

How did homes stay cool in Florida before air conditioning? 

What is wrong with an air conditioner when the air flow out of the vents is low?

Why has the thermostat screen gone blank? 

Why does it take so long to cool a house when an air conditioner has been off for a while? 

Why is my air conditioner not cooling enough? 

Will closing doors reduce my heating and cooling costs? 

   Visit our HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING 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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