Forced Air – Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning – HVAC Systems – Common Home Inspection Findings

Air flow to the air conditioner condenser, the air conditioning unit located outside of the home, should not be restricted by particulate accumulation on the condenser coils/fins. Excess particulate accumulation leads to inefficient operation of the air conditioning system.  Homeowners should routinely check the condenser unit and clean it as directed in the owners’ manual.

dirty condenser coil - HVAC systems dirty condenser unit - HVAC systems

HVAC forced air system filters should be checked every month or every other month during operation.  Keeping the HVAC systems operating efficiently is important for energy savings, comfort and air quality.  Furnace and air conditioning duct work typically contain a filter located within a couple inches of the furnace.  This air filter typically should be changed every month to two months during operation.

dirty filters - HVAC systems dirty filters - HVAC systems

Forced air HVAC systems often include a humidifier.  The humidifier typically contains a water panel that needs to be changed at the beginning of the heating season.  The water panel may also need to be changed during the season.  Refer to the owners’ manual or search the model number of the humidifier online to become familiar with operations and maintenance of the humidifier system.

Some forced air systems include an ERV/HRV (Energy Recovery System or Heat Recovery System).  These systems are designed to exchange air inside the home with air outside the home.  Filters within the systems need to be routinely checked and changed as directed.  Most ERV/HRV systems contain a set of maintenance directions inside the unit.  Refer to the owners’ manual or search the model number of the system online to become familiar with operations and maintenance.

Evidence of a leak from the evaporator coil of the air conditioning unit (portion of the air conditioning system inside the home), should be evaluated by a qualified HVAC technician as soon as possible.  Leaks may be caused by a clogged condensate line, a frozen evaporator coil, a cracked drain pan, a hole in the refrigerant line, or other issues.  If a leak is allowed to continue, more significant and costly damage to the HVAC systems can occur.



Electrical Systems – Common Home Inspection Findings

Inexpensive cover plates, that a homeowner can install, on switches, receptacles (outlets), and junction boxes enclose energized components of electrical systems.  Installing cover plates is critical to ensure safe operation of electrical systems and prevent shock or electrocution, yet, It is common to find one or several cover plates either missing or damaged.

missing cover plate - electrical systems

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters GFCI’s are receptacles designed to prevent a person from receiving an electrical shock. GFCIs are commonly installed in electrical systems near sources of water, including, but not limited to, the kitchen, bathroom, laundry, garage and the exterior.  To be effective, the GFCI’s must trip when tested, and reset.  GFCIs should be evaluated, repaired or replaced by a qualified electrician.

malfunctioning GFCI

Knockouts are removable sections of an electrical panel.  The knockouts can be removed for the installation of breakers, conduit, and wires.  If knockouts are removed and the holes are not properly filled with breakers, conduit, wires, and fasteners or covered properly, an individual gaining access to the electrical panel without knowledge of the components inside of the panel could receive a fatal shock.  Missing knockouts also provide an entrance for mice and other insects.  Rodents and insects could cause major problems inside the electrical panel.  Missing knockouts should be repaired or replaced by a qualified electrician.

missing knockout - electrical systems

Following the manufacturer’s specifications and installation instructions ensures electrical systems will operate correctly.  Panels and breakers are often labeled as being able to be connected to one or two circuits or conductors.  Panels or breakers specified by the manufacturer as only being designed to accommodate one circuit or conductor should only be connected to one wire or conductor.  Adding additional conductors increases the potential for an arcing, tripping, overloading, or overheating. Double tapped breakers should be evaluated, repaired or replaced by a qualified electrician.

double tapped breaker - electrical systems

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