Here in the Pacific Northwest, an operating heating system is required for a home to be considered livable. In new construction, a heating system is on the checklist of requirements for that space to earn its COE or Certificate of Occupancy. A properly operating and dependable heating system is one of an inspector’s focuses during an inspection and a checklist should be used to review this heat source.
What is a Heating Inspection Checklist?
A heating system evaluation checklist is used to ensure that the machine has been evaluated correctly. This checklist is only for a visual inspection and does not include testing and evaluating limit switches, pressure switches, or electrical systems. The very first thing required of an inspector is to recognize the fuel source for the heating system.
Types of Heat Sources
There are different heat sources that can be used and different energy sources that need to be recognized. Gas is by far the most common in urban settings. Gas is run to structures using underground pipes and is currently the more affordable fuel for heat, vs electric or solid fuels such as wood or even coal. The latter three fuels would be found more commonly in rural areas where running underground gas pipes would be difficult and costly.
Once the fuel source is recognized, the inspector is then to evaluate the age of the system. A heating system has a limited life span to serve the occupants indoors, and different heat sources have different expected service lives, and this information should be communicated to the client.
The Importance of a Furnace Inspection
A gas furnace has the shortest expected life span of about 15 – 20 years. These machines can certainly last longer with an annual maintenance schedule, but often they are installed and their operation is taken for granted. The shorter life span is directly related to the combustion of a fuel and the exhaust properties of that fuel. A fuel-burning heat source will not outlast an electric heat source, but the cost of operation for a gas-burning heat source is lower and therefore more desirable on a monthly basis with reference to the utility bills.
Key Considerations About Heat Sources & Inspections
The operation of the heat source is evaluated differently depending upon the system. There are centralized heat sources that require ductwork to deliver the conditioned air to the different areas of the home, and there are zonal (or spot) heat sources that are set in a specific room or area and operated with a thermostat specific for that area. These zonal heat sources are usually electric baseboard heaters and/or wall heaters, usually referred to as “Cadets”. Cadet is the name of the manufacturer.
Operation must be tested to ensure the heat source can be depended upon. Should the inspector feel there is a concern about the heat source’s operation, it must be noted on the report and a specialist should be contacted for a house visit. Take note; if a zonal electric heat source, such as baseboards heaters or Cadet wall heaters are not operating as the manufacturer had intended, a licensed electrician should be contacted. An electrician is the correct professional to repair or replace electric zonal heat sources.
Getting a Reliable Heating / Furnace Inspection
If you’re looking for a reliable home inspector in Portland Oregon, be sure to contact our team. We take great pride in helping our customers and 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 look forward to hearing from you.
“Chris and his team at Octopus Home Inspections blew my mind when it came to the service and skill you receive from a home inspection. Chris and his team were specific and thorough with the overall inspection. More so, the way he delivered this information to us was in such a friendly and helpful way and it was like we were family and he was walking through my future home showing me little things that needed to be taken care of and reaffirming and empowering me take it on! I would recommend this team and specifically the owner, Chris, to anyone looking for a home inspection — I’ve already personally shared his info 4 times with friends who are buying and under contract since my inspection last week. Overall, absolute delight amongst the chaos of the home buying process!”
– Sarah (Google Review)