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TOPIC: Size/Adequacy of HVAC systems

Size/Adequacy of HVAC systems 12 years 1 month ago #34415

As a generalist and according to my SOP I am not required to determine the size and adequacy of the HVAC systems.

But, I wanted to give you an example of a possible potential law suit on a home I just inspected.

Here are the specs and details.

2001 built Ranch home with a partially finished basement. Sq.ft of livable 1st floor is about 1800 sq.ft. Basement had about 800-1000 sq. ft of finished area. (Not included in the 1800)

A/C condenser. Comfortmaker, age of the house. 1 1/2 tons.
Furnace. High efficiency 50000 BTU's

temp in house 78, 60 degrees observed at register in cooling mode.
90 degrees observed at registers in heating mode. No defects observed when running  both systems. No records of recent service.

Now as a generalist I reported the system to be operating properly at time of inspection. I did recommend a system clean and check as there where no records of prior service.

My client, potential buyer wants to have a humidifier added as he has allergies. I informed him to inquire on an air purification system for your heating system.

Now to me the systems seemed undersized. I would think a 2 or 2 1/2 ton AC and about a 74,000 btu furnace would be needed.

I stated to my client and in my report I am not a specialist and I can not determine the adequacy of the systems. I also documented in my report. I did recommend he contact a HVAC specialist to calculate this for him. I also called my HVAC pro to discuss with them. He is having the specialist do a manual J done before closing to determine the adequate size.

If I did not say anything I could be liable, as when my client, thinking the HVAC was fine inquired about his humidifier add on when taking occupancy of the home, the HVAC technician states "this is undersized your inspector could of caught this".

I am just curious on how others go about reporting, disclaiming size and adequacy of the systems.

Do you note the size of the systems in your report? Like BTU of the furnace, tonnage of an AC?

Please any suggestions, comments are appreciated.

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Home Safe Home Inspections
Link Url: Cleveland Home Inspector - www.hshinspections.net/
Body:Performing Home Inspections in Cleveland, Parma, Brecksville, Broadview Heights, North Royalton, Strongsville and surrounding areas.
Keywords:Parma,Broadview...
Last Edit: by David Macy.

Re: Size/Adequacy of HVAC systems 12 years 1 month ago #34436

Personally I think you did the right thing. If you thing it's obviously undersized (and you talked to an HVAC tech) then I'd at least state that it's POSSIBLY undersized and to have it further evaluated by an HVAC tech. It would seem at a certain point though you'd be able to state this definitively without deferring to anyone.

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Dominic Maricic
Home Inspector Pro Home Inspection Software - CEO

Re: Size/Adequacy of HVAC systems 12 years 1 month ago #34454

There is no potential law suit because you are not that person that determines these things...

What is the cooling load of the basement?

What is the yearly average temp of the soil below grade?

What is the R-Value of the walls, U-Value of the windows?

What is the compressor BTU capacity?

What is the SEER of the unit?

What climate zone is the house located?

What is the ACH of the house?

The furnace must be sized for the A/C, not the other way around.

You turn it on and take what readings you can and let it go.

If you have an issue with not covering HVAC like a TAB Tech just write another line in your report that you don't know this stuff and it's not your job.



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Home Inspector
HVAC Systems Design
ITC Level III Thermography - Building Science Thermographer
Thermal Imaging
Serving Clarksville - Nashville TN and the Mid TN area
www.MidTnInspections.com
www.ThermalImagingScan.com
To link to my pages:
www.midtninspections.com/link-submission

Re: Size/Adequacy of HVAC systems 12 years 1 month ago #34455

Dave A.

I understand what you are saying. (Not that I would be able to answer your questions as they pertain to the specialist) but my client called an HVAC specialist and he stated this home should have a 2 1/2 ton AC and a 75000 BTU furnace. He also stated that the finished basement does not need to be added into the calculation due to being below grade. (I disagree with this)

If he had an HVAC person come in after he bought the home and they stated this then I could be liable. (All it takes is a contractor saying that the home inspector should of caught this to start the litegeous ball rolling)

I gave my client a repitable HVAC specialist to inquire with on determining if his sytstem is adequate. (If he chooses to do so)

I hardly ever(if ever) come across a 1 1/2 ton system.

My home is the same size, style with about the same windows, insulation. I was sized with a 2 1/2 ton system.

By the way I no longer list the tonnage or BTU's on my reports.

Dave you stated somewhere that you do not note the age of the systems. I feel this is important that the client is aware of the age, in case the need to begin to budget for a new system as the have a 14 year old heat pump or a 19 year old furnace.

Dave, did you work in the HVAC industry? You seem to know a lot more than most.
Surely a lot more than me.

Thanks for the response. Just trying to do a service for my clients.

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Home Safe Home Inspections
Link Url: Cleveland Home Inspector - www.hshinspections.net/
Body:Performing Home Inspections in Cleveland, Parma, Brecksville, Broadview Heights, North Royalton, Strongsville and surrounding areas.
Keywords:Parma,Broadview...
Last Edit: by David Macy.

Re: Size/Adequacy of HVAC systems 12 years 1 month ago #34460

I didn't mean to imply that you should know the answers. But those answers are a requirement to make the call. If you don't gather this information, you can not be held liable. I agree that you can get those calls because if contractor ignorance and their attempt to pass the buck...

I do not do age, because age has nothing to do with anything. Yes, I have worked in the HVAC field. I have a degree in HVAC system design. I base equipment condition according to "Apparent Age". That is, equipment 3 yrs old could be in 20yr condition or the other way around. I have worked on my church chiller Mfg Date 1952 until a tornado removed it from the face of the earth a couple years ago. It ran like a Rolls-Royce (just leaked a little bit of oil)!

If that is truly a 1.5 ton than you need more than that if the house is "normal" construction.

I built a house in Bedford, Ma. through the school I was teaching HVAC that was 2600sf and only had 1.5 tons. It had four zones and was geo-thermal. 8" walls. Solar collectors on the roof (which blocked the sun exposure) etc.

My only point is that a lot of information is needed before we can be calling out stuff. On the other note, you don't want to damn a 1.5 ton when it is designed for it! Your just as wrong and the bill will be high.

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Home Inspector
HVAC Systems Design
ITC Level III Thermography - Building Science Thermographer
Thermal Imaging
Serving Clarksville - Nashville TN and the Mid TN area
www.MidTnInspections.com
www.ThermalImagingScan.com
To link to my pages:
www.midtninspections.com/link-submission
Last Edit: by David Andersen.

Re: Size/Adequacy of HVAC systems 12 years 1 month ago #34488

Dave

Thanks for the response, comments and your professional expertize.
I appreciate your professionalism and knowledge.

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Home Safe Home Inspections
Link Url: Cleveland Home Inspector - www.hshinspections.net/
Body:Performing Home Inspections in Cleveland, Parma, Brecksville, Broadview Heights, North Royalton, Strongsville and surrounding areas.
Keywords:Parma,Broadview...
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