Home Appliance Inspection: What’s Mandatory?

by | Jun 9, 2022

The home has a small handful of major appliances that are checked for operation. Some of these major appliances are mandatory, while others are a normal installation, but would not negatively affect your health if you did not have them installed. During a home inspection, the only appliances that are mandatory for the exchange of possession are an operating heating system and a water heater. The kitchen and laundry appliances are needed, but they are not required to obtain a loan on the property. 

What’s Included in a Home Appliance Inspection?

The major appliances included in an appliance inspection include the heating system, the water heating source, the laundry machines to include both the washing machine and the clothes dryer, the refrigerator, cooktop and oven, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and garage door openers.

All systems are visually observed for damage and operated if power is provided. If an appliance is unplugged or the breaker in the electric panel is in the off position, the appliance operation cannot be verified. The inspector is not permitted to turn a breaker on nor plug in an appliance to test it. The inspector is mandated to assume the machine has been unplugged for a reason unknown to the inspector and is to be assumed non-functional unless proof of operation can be provided. 

Appliance Inspection: How Does it Work?

All machines are tested by operating their standard controls, but not all settings are tested. The machines are checked by their normal or regular settings just for operation. These machines are not tested in full cycles as the inspection would come to an end before they were complete, and the inspector is not permitted to leave appliances running after he or she exits the structure at the conclusion of the inspection.

What About Heating?

Space heating and water heating have already been covered in their own separate articles in this blog, so we will not include them any further in this section. Please read “The Importance of a Heating Inspection” and “Your AC Inspection Guide” for more information. 

Appliance Inspection by Room

The kitchen, laundry and garage appliance observations and verifications are as follows. It is good to remember, that none of the following appliances are required for the sale of a home. 


Refrigerator: Check operation by opening the doors and checking the interior temperature with your hand or thermometer. The inspector should also verify if this unit contains a water distribution connection to make ice as well as dispense water. Check for water on the ground in front of the unit, which would point out a defrost cycle issue. Inspectors are not permitted to pull the unit out from the wall as the refrigerator could damage the finished floor.

Range or Cooktop/Oven: Range is a term that refers to an oven and cooktop combo in a single unit. If these cooking methods are installed separately, they then are described as a cooktop and oven separately. These units are checked for operation using their standard controls. The cooktop burners are evaluated for operation, not for temperatures. The same is true for the oven. The oven operation is checked on both bake and broil cycles. The interior temperatures are not verified for temperatures.

appliance inspection kitchen

Dishwasher: The dishwasher is run for a cycle. The inspector is to check that the unit did not leak onto the floor and open the unit to ensure it is filled with water and make sure the interior is warm from hot water. 

Exhaust fans: These units are usually installed above the range or cooktop. The most common exhaust fan installations are a hood type that secures below the cabinetry, or a microwave style that has the functions of a microwave as well as an exhaust fan. The inspector is also checking to see if the exhaust fan has an air duct that terminates at the exterior air. 

Garbage disposal: this unit is set below the sink and is simply checked for operation at the switch. Sometimes this switch is located on the wall and sometimes it will be found below the sink.

Laundry Room:

Washing Machine: This unit is checked for power and water. The inspector should not run this unit for a full cycle, as it may not be complete by the time the inspection ends. 

Clothes Dryer: Turn the unit on for as long as it takes to verify the heat and spin of the drum. The exhaust duct should be visually verified for connection, pipe condition, pipe length, and termination into exterior air.


Mechanical Door Opener: This unit is checked for operation from its wall-mounted operation switch. This unit’s operation included up and down, but also checking the safety features such as the automatic recoil should a person get caught below the garage door when it is coming down. The lasers are also checked for function to be sure the door recoils back upward if the laser line is broken by a moving object below the door closure.

An Appliance Inspection Recap

There are other appliances that are installed infrequently and are not mentioned here. If these units are easy to operate, we will do so, but sometimes they are specialty appliances, and the inspector should recommend asking the selling party to demonstrate operation to the buying party before the close of the sale.

At Octopus Home Inspections, we are committed to upholding a strong code of ethics, including professionalism and integrity. Our home inspections are extremely thorough, fairly priced, detailed, and accurate. We strive to be a home inspection company that you can trust completely, knowing we have your safety and wellbeing in mind. If you’re looking for a home inspector you can trust in Portland, Oregon, contact us here.

“It was an absolute joy to work with Chris. He did two inspections for us and his attention to detail was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. My husband and I are first-time home buyers and we are so grateful that he was part of our home buying experience. Both reports were received within 24 hours and left us feeling significantly more informed and prepared to make important decisions. I am genuinely excited to direct friends and family to him for inspections in the future.”

– Sydney (5 Star Google Review)