How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
Does a home inspector check window air conditioners?
Friday, November 15, 2019
Any appliances that are not permanently installed are not required to be inspected by the Standards of Practice of the two national home inspector associations and the State of Florida, and window air conditioners are specifically excluded in the standards for that reason. The definition of installed by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), for example, is “attached such that removal requires tools."
Window air conditioners are usually not part of a real estate transaction anyway, since the seller will be removing them when they leave. But many home inspectors, including us, ask whether the window units are going with the sale and if the homebuyer wants us to examine them.
The #1 defect commonly found with 120-volt window air conditioners is that the homeowner has ignored the warning on the side of the larger, 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 window 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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