Does a inspector enter the crawl space under the house?

Saturday, April 4, 2020

“Are you gonna go under the house?” That’s often the first question we get asked when arriving at an old house inspection. And our answer is always the the same: “Sure, we will try.” 

    Several obstacles can make the process of getting into a crawl space, and then moving around inside, difficult or impossible. If the access opening is too small, or there is no defined access opening, or the height of the crawl space is too low, or plumbing, a/c ducts, and/or stored junk make getting around to some areas impossible—then we may not be able to get in, or get all around the whole area. Usually we can at least see some of it.

    But the Standards of Practice for inspectors in the State of Florida, along with the two national home inspector associations, each put slightly different limits on what is expected of an inspector when examining a crawl space. And it is all based on inspector safety. 

    Florida Standards state that the inspector is not required to enter or traverse any under-floor crawl space, if in the opinion of the inspector: a) An unsafe or unsanitary condition exists, b) Enter areas in which inadequate clearance exists to allow the inspector safe entry or traversing, or c) The potential exists to damage insulation, ductwork, other components or stored items.

    The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) requires the inspector to inspect the crawl space, and describe the type and location of the access to the under-floor space. But the inspector is not required to enter any crawlspace that is not readily accessible, or where entry could cause damage or pose a hazard to him/herself.

    The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) Standards state that the inspector is required to describe the methods used to inspect the under-floor crawlspaces, but the inspector is not required to enter under-floor crawlspace areas that have less than 24 inches of vertical clearance between components and the ground or that have an access opening smaller than 16 inches by 24 inches.

    Also, see our blog posts What does a home inspector look for in the crawl space under a home? and What does a home inspector look for when examining a mobile home crawl space?

    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 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? 

If we already looked at the house very carefully, do we still need a home inspection?

    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 do I need to know about buying a foreclosure? 

What should I look for when buying a former rental house?  

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 should I look for when buying a house that is being "flipped" by an investor seller? 

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 and "DOES A HOME INSPECTOR…?” pages 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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