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Home Inspection Error

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K

kevinka

Guest
What is the name of your state? New Jersey

The home inspection report (April, 2002) addresses the condition of the furnace as ¡®CARBON MONOXIDE TEST PERFORMED WAS GOOD (NEGATIVE). FURNACE NEEDS GOOD PROFESSIONAL CLEANING. RECOMMEND CONTRACTING A MAINTENANCE INSURANCE PROGRAM¡¯. After the closing (June, 2002), I¡¯ve hired a professional furnace services to perform the cleaning, however the mechanic advised that the Carbon monoxide level is extremely high (21PPM - which can kill 3 year old, 9PPM is the acceptable limit). Thus, the furnace needs to be replaced. I understand that Home inspection is not intended or to be used as a guarantee or warranty, expressed or implied, regarding system. However, if a home inspector has failed to do his job, do I have a case to go after him? or maybe after his insurance?
 


A

annefan1000

Guest
Only if you have a second inspection performed by a certified, licensed Home Inspector and/or other HVAC professional. In order to litigate the first inspector, you would need to prove your accusation that he failed in his performance. However, my suspicions pique when you state that the mechanic suggested replacement of the furnace. Perhaps he's devised a crafty way to supplement the business profits. Just my humble opinion.
 

HomeGuru

Senior Member
kevinka said:
What is the name of your state? New Jersey

The home inspection report (April, 2002) addresses the condition of the furnace as ¡®CARBON MONOXIDE TEST PERFORMED WAS GOOD (NEGATIVE). FURNACE NEEDS GOOD PROFESSIONAL CLEANING. RECOMMEND CONTRACTING A MAINTENANCE INSURANCE PROGRAM¡¯. After the closing (June, 2002), I¡¯ve hired a professional furnace services to perform the cleaning, however the mechanic advised that the Carbon monoxide level is extremely high (21PPM - which can kill 3 year old, 9PPM is the acceptable limit). Thus, the furnace needs to be replaced. I understand that Home inspection is not intended or to be used as a guarantee or warranty, expressed or implied, regarding system. However, if a home inspector has failed to do his job, do I have a case to go after him? or maybe after his insurance?

**A: yes you do. The inspector also should have advised you to hire a licensed furnance contractor for further review PRIOR TO CLOSING.
 
A

annefan1000

Guest
Guru,
Are you saying that if the licensed Home Inspector found the elements and operation of the furnace in acceptable condition, that he should have still advised the buyer to obtain further diagnosis?
 

HomeGuru

Senior Member
annefan1000 said:
Guru,
Are you saying that if the licensed Home Inspector found the elements and operation of the furnace in acceptable condition, that he should have still advised the buyer to obtain further diagnosis?

**A: No, that is not what I am saying but yes to your question. Reason being, the home inspector is a general practitioner and not a specialist in inspecting furnaces. Also the inspector most likely is not a licensed furnance contractor.
And the furnace would not be in acceptable condition if the CM levels were so high.
What kind of equipment/tester did the inspector use to detect the PPM levels?

In this case, I believe the inspector failed to properly inspect the furnace. I would question the experience and qualifications of the home inspector.
Did the home inspector perform the inspection using the proper standard of care and following the ASHI standards of prectice? Did the inspector have the expertise to inspect furnaces and conduct a carbon monoxide test? Did the inspector defer to experts for further evaluation?
Specifically, I would question why the inspector recommended only cleaning rather than a complete inspection/evaluation by a licensed furnace contractor.
Instead, this inspector recommended contracting a maintenance insurance program. What kind of program is that? The recommendation is vague and ambigious. Is it a program to insure maintenance? Is it a home warranty plan? Is it a general maintenance plan contracted with a licensed furnace contractor?
And would such a program include CM testing and inspect the furnace or is it just fill out an application and sign up? In addition, the inspector did not state when the Buyer should do this ie, before closing, after closing etc.

The writer is free to get more estimates.
My opinion is that the writer should go after this inspector and his E&O insurance carrier.
 
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It also depends on whether the inspector X'd the furnace completely. (As in, did he put an X in the box under R for needing repair or not functioning). If he did that, he doesn't even have to write anything else about the furnace. Just a thought. Best of Luck.
 
K

kevinka

Guest
I¡¯ve contacted the home inspector¡¯s insurance company, and stated my position. I received a letter from the insurance company, stating that because the inspection was done in April 2002 and the professional service was done in July 2002, the condition of the carbon monoxide level on my furnace might have changed, so they (inspector) are not responsible. I¡¯ve advised them that no one lived in the house for that period, further it was during spring/summer season. Furthermore, carbon monoxide (CM) level does not change over a couple of months from safe to extremely dangerous level. However, it seems that the insurance company is focusing on the time lag between the two different CM testings.

I have questions as follows: i) Is the insurance company has a good argument there? Or just trying to find an easy way out ii) Is there any way for me to argue this in a legal manner?

thanks for your advises.
 
E and O insurance is like that and that's why we don't carry it. They don't have to pay, unless ordered by court or you can prove in a court of law that it was an omission by the inspector. You may also want to contact another independant inspector to do another carbon monoxide reading or buy an at-home kit, although their not always as reliable for exact readings. Some furnace companies might tell you that to sell you a new furnace. We see cases of that every day. The companies try and tell you it was something your inspector "should have caught" and the unit is replaced before the inspector can send out for a second opinion. Furnace and a/c companies don't always know the limits or parimeters of inspections as well. I would recommend a second opinion either way. You'll need it to proceed any further. Best of luck.
 

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