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  1. #1
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    Default Dishwasher overflowed...

    I did an inspection today and as usual, ran the dishwasher while inspecting the kitchen area. After running it a few minutes, I canceled the cycle operation and watched it drain (air gap) and looked under the dishwasher to make sure there was no leaking. After seeing no leak, I moved on to other areas of the home. About 30 minutes later I came back to the kitchen area where the buyer was and we both saw water puddling all over the laminate flooring. It was coming from the dishwasher. It leaked from the dishwasher across the floor to the other end of the wall. I turned off the water supply to the dishwasher and we all spent about an hour cleaning up the water. I could already see the seams of the flooring swelling up at some joints.

    The homeowners, an elderly couple, said the dishwasher had not been run in a few years but worked fine before. The buyer and owners felt bad about the situation and no one pointed fingers - yet. However, I wanted to post this up here to see what my responsibility is in all this. If the homeowners or buyers ask me for reparations, is this something I am liable for? Any help or advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you.

    NHIE Practice Exam
    John Chung
    Bluebird Inspections

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    As a standard business practice, I look to see if the dishwasher appears to be "idle" or un-used.

    If the house is occupied, and the owners/tenants are home during the inspection, I always ask what I can and can't operate; and I get permission to run the appliances (particularity any appliance connected to plumbing, and the GDO).

    If no one warned you, how are to know it didn't work or had a leak?

    Although if you watched the dishwasher drain and then stop, where exactly was it leaking from, and how did you stop it?

    Dom.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    If the house is occupied, I would expect the owners to tell me if I should not test or operate something. If no one says anything, or has left a note telling me not to do something, then I'm going to do my job.
    If the house is vacant, and has been vacant for quite some time, I will caution my clients that the dishwasher may very well leak when tested. If the unit looks old, and it hasn't been used for a long time, I'm not going to test it unless I'm given permission by the owner, or their representative.

    That said, dishwashers can leak for a variety of reasons, and it kind of falls under the "failed during test" scenario. Stuff happens. Things fail all the time without warning.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    It will happen eventually to all of us. I think I gave had about three dishwashers leak over the part 20 years.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Dom - the dishwasher kept filling up with hot water and leaked through the door, only after I canceled the cycle (although I didn't wait for it to shut off completely before I left the kitchen). Apparently it never turned off and for some reason, kept pumping water into the unit. When I realized this, I shut off the hot water valve in the sink cabinet. Funny thing is that there were no signs of any leaks from the unit during operation except the air gap at draining. The unit itself wasn't that old, probably 5-10 years in a home that's built in the 70's? Usually older looking dishwashers I ask or will not run.

    Thanks Jack and Scott for the encouragement! I always appreciate the responses I get in this forum. Will keep you guys updated if anything comes up.

    John Chung
    Bluebird Inspections

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by John Chung View Post
    Dom - the dishwasher kept filling up with hot water and leaked through the door, only after I canceled the cycle (although I didn't wait for it to shut off completely before I left the kitchen). Apparently it never turned off and for some reason, kept pumping water into the unit. When I realized this, I shut off the hot water valve in the sink cabinet. Funny thing is that there were no signs of any leaks from the unit during operation except the air gap at draining. The unit itself wasn't that old, probably 5-10 years in a home that's built in the 70's? Usually older looking dishwashers I ask or will not run.

    Thanks Jack and Scott for the encouragement! I always appreciate the responses I get in this forum. Will keep you guys updated if anything comes up.
    John, you just can't let small things like this get you down. This is a good example of why we have or should have general liability insurance. If the owners give you trouble simple turn in the claim. The owners will then need to file on their homeowners and then the two insurance companies will work it out.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Thanks for the heads up. Best to let it run a full cycle.
    I've shut them down and had water left in the tub, so then what? Start it again and cross your fingers?

    Appliances are not included in my SOP, but I will run a DW sometimes if it seems important to my client. As a rule, I disclaim them.
    In time I expect we will all be required to test them as this gig gets more demanding every year.

    I had a condo inspection where the tenant had done no housekeeping in about 10 years and was a bit of a hoarder.
    I was having a hard time gathering relative information for my client, so thought I'd push some boxes aside and try the dishwasher. Well how was I to know Dumbass had poured liquid dishwashing soap in there?
    That time I had to shut it off mid-cycle. Soap bubbles were squeezing out past the door gasket.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 08-29-2014 at 08:13 AM.
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    You are at fault and are responsible for damages.
    If you have GL insurance, notify them and they will handle it.
    If you do not have GL, have the HO make a claim with their HO ins, and pay the HO the deductible. Hope the HO ins will not expect you to reimburse for the loss.
    Not much else you can do,
    Live and learn then go to work another day.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    The dishwasher was not really leaking but rather it was overflowing. The door gasket is designed for the splashing and spraying of water, not as a seal to hold water. The supply solenoid valve failed to close causing the water level to rise past the base lip. If the float became stuck it would cause the valve to remain open. Why, several possible reasons but not getting into that.

    Rick, you take the position that the HI is responsible for all damage. On what would you base you position? Is it due diligence, bailment or some other doctrine?


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Rick, you take the position that the HI is responsible for all damage. On what would you base you position? Is it due diligence, bailment or some other doctrine?

    I think it would be negligence this time.

    The HI is hired to find defects in a house by a party interested in purchasing.
    The HO has every reason to expect the HI to be a qualified professional, with knowledge of the items being inspected.
    The HI operates the DW to determine if there is a defect.
    An inspection of the DW would certainly include determining if the DW overfills.
    However, after turning on the DW the HI leaves the DW unattended and apparently the DW tub overfilled.
    The HI was negligent because they should have known a defective DW can overfill, and therefore, should not leave the DW unattended until it had been determined it is safe to do so.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    To follow that logic, you would need to stay by the dishwasher thru the entire cycle. What if the float switch gave out when it filled during the rinse cycle?


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Negligence | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia | LII / Legal Information Institute

    DEFINITION


    A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act (e.g., a duty to help victims of one's previous conduct).
    OVERVIEW

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/negligence

    DEFINITION

    Primary factors to consider in ascertaining whether the person's conduct lacks reasonable care are the foreseeable likelihood that the person's conduct will result in harm, the foreseeable severity of any harm that may ensue, and the burden of precautions to eliminate or reduce the risk of harm. See Restatement (Third) of Torts: Liability for Physical Harm 3 (P.F.D. No. 1, 2005). Negligent conduct may consist of either an act, or an omission to act when there is a duty to do so. See Restatement (Second) of Torts 282 (1965).
    Five elements are required to establish a prima facie case of negligence: the existence of a legal duty to exercise reasonable care; a failure to exercise reasonable care; cause in fact of physical harm by the negligent conduct; physical harm in the form of actual damages; and proximate cause, a showing that the harm is within the scope of liability.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Their dishwasher malfunctioned. There was no indication that it had malfunctioned in the past and no foreseeable issue to not operate the appliance as it was intended.
    From what I have read, there was no negligence.
    The appliance failed due to no fault of the inspector.
    Clean up any water to minimize continuing damage, report the failure to the owner and advise them not to use the appliance until it is fixed and that you turned off the valve to protect their house.
    Move on down the road.
    If I break something that is my fault, I will pay but if I simply discover a fault with their house then no, not my problem.
    "Failed under testing"

    Last edited by Jim Luttrall; 08-29-2014 at 11:57 PM.
    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    The old folks are at fault for letting the gasket and rubber parts dry out.
    The inspector is at fault for not knowing this and watching closer for leaks.

    Get a battery-powered water alarm. They cost about $20.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    The inspector is at fault for not........ watching closer for leaks.

    Get a battery-powered water alarm. They cost about $20.
    I agree

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    The old folks are at fault for letting the gasket and rubber parts dry out.

    The gasket in any condition would not prevent the dishwasher from overflowing and passing the gasket. DW don't have gaskets designed to hold a volume of water.

    John, Then there is the question of how did you determined the gaskets were dried out.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Rick I side with you, just was looking for the basis you had.
    Jim, Have to disagree and here is my reasoning.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Chung View Post
    .....ran the dishwasher ...... After running it a few minutes, I canceled the cycle operation ..... I moved on .....About 30 minutes later I came back .....saw water puddling all over the laminate flooring. ........
    Quote Originally Posted by John Chung View Post
    .....(although I didn't wait for it to shut off completely before I left the kitchen). .......
    The fact that John initiated the chain of events which lead to the damage and was negligent in that he left the DW running in the cancel mode and failed to observe shutdown. The reasons for the DW to fail is not really the issue. Had John waited till the DW shut down and saw that the water was still filling into the machine, the amount of water that would have flowed out would have been minimal. The amount of damage would have been mitigated.

    The damage from the water, if John had stayed and observed the failure, would have then not been John's responsibility.

    The damage resulting for John's failure to observe shut down and then his absence , in this scenario, is what makes it John's responsibility.

    Failed under testing covers the initial water and the fact that the HI didn't cause the failure and therefore the HI is not responsible for the repair of the DW or the initial damage if any.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by John Chung View Post
    I wanted to post this up here to see what my responsibility is in all this. If the homeowners or buyers ask me for reparations, is this something I am liable for?
    Earlier this week as I was putting an electric panel cover back on I blew out two circuits as I drove one of the screws in - wires were too close to the blunt tip screw. I left a note for the owner telling them what happened and to get an electrician to repair it. In my view you and I found a problem - something that we are paid to do. I see no liability in that.

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    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Earlier this week as I was putting an electric panel cover back on I blew out two circuits as I drove one of the screws in
    You could have continued on your business after the screw shorted, but you did not.

    He was not at fault because there was a leak. He was at fault for leaving before he determined it was safe to leave the DW unattended.
    Also he is not responsible for the initial leak, however he is responsible for damages that would not have happened had he been there to observe the DW and shut it down.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Get a battery-powered water alarm. They cost about $20.
    PHCC PRO SERIES Alarm, Indoor Water - G2511555 at Zoro

    Sounds Alarm When 1/32 In Water Detected,

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Earlier this week as I was putting an electric panel cover back on I blew out two circuits as I drove one of the screws in - wires were too close to the blunt tip screw. I left a note for the owner telling them what happened and to get an electrician to repair it. In my view you and I found a problem - something that we are paid to do. I see no liability in that.


    Eric,,, How long were those screws????

    From the pict they appear to have been 3 inches long or at the least longer than normal. So it begs the question of why you would not have noticed the length and then questioned what they may contact prior to using them to reattach the face cover????

    Playing something of the Devils advocate here.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    I've only been inspecting for a little under a year now and have had 3 DW leak when testing. One we didn't even notice until the client stepped in it as we were leaving after the inspection. I check all water draining appliances several times now during my inspections process. I don't think its the HI liability if it leaks, it just needs to be fixed and it's the owner appliance so they should pay for it. However, if it caused damage to the home then I think the repairs are up for grabs.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Earlier this week as I was putting an electric panel cover back on I blew out two circuits as I drove one of the screws in - wires were too close to the blunt tip screw. ...... In my view you and I found a problem - something that we are paid to do. I see no liability in that.
    How about this line of thinking.:::::-)
    Mr Baker.
    Was this the first time you removed a panel cover ??
    Do you recognize the screws that are standard to service panel covers??
    Did you not recognize that the screws removed were longer than standard??
    The screws being longer than the standard used did you not know that there may a conflict between those screws and internal wiring??
    Given your years of experience why did you not know that there was a potential problem with reusing that panel screw??
    In retrospect did you not cause the problem by reusing the screw that cut through the wiring??

    Therefore;
    By knowingly reinserting the incorrect screw you damaged the wiring and are responsible for the damage. Your knowledge and experience put you in the position of responsibility for the damage.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Did you not recognize that the screws removed were longer than standard??
    Who said they were not original screws or that they were the incorrect length for that panel?

    Maybe the wires were stuffed in too tight, or routed incorrectly. Maybe someone added some circuits after initial installation that caused a problem.

    I don't know, can't see the whole panel, and there no photos of the screws.

    Dom.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    How about this line of thinking.:::::-)
    Mr Baker.
    Was this the first time you removed a panel cover ??
    Do you recognize the screws that are standard to service panel covers??
    Did you not recognize that the screws removed were longer than standard??
    The screws being longer than the standard used did you not know that there may a conflict between those screws and internal wiring??
    Given your years of experience why did you not know that there was a potential problem with reusing that panel screw??
    In retrospect did you not cause the problem by reusing the screw that cut through the wiring??

    Therefore;
    By knowingly reinserting the incorrect screw you damaged the wiring and are responsible for the damage. Your knowledge and experience put you in the position of responsibility for the damage.
    In addition to what Dom said is this - So, Mr. Sorrells, you elected to not reinstall the panel cover because the screws were, in your opinion, longer than standard? Mr. Sorrells, did you not consider the hazard and attractive nuisance you created when you left the cover off that electrical panel? The hazard and attractive nuisance which lead to the premature and untimely demise of my client's child.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    PHCC PRO SERIES Alarm, Indoor Water - G2511555 at Zoro

    Sounds Alarm When 1/32 In Water Detected,
    Ten year anniversary doing this gig on the 9th and I haven't had a bad dishwasher overflow yet (minor leaks yes). YET being the key word; ordered the alarm today.....Thanks Rick.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    ...you elected to not reinstall the panel cover because the screws were, in your opinion, longer than standard? .....
    I had a panel with sheet metal screws in the cover.
    Not much I could do, but I did not re install the cover.
    Left a note and called agent.

    Since then I try to carry some panel screws with me.
    I have replaced improper screws several times.
    I think a package of 4 cost me $2.

    I also carry a few different sheet metal screws in case some are missing in the air handler.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Ten year anniversary doing this gig on the 9th and I haven't had a bad dishwasher overflow yet (minor leaks yes). YET being the key word; ordered the alarm today.....Thanks Rick.
    Happy to help.
    Hope you never have the need for it to go into alarm.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    The moral of the story is; don't inspect appliances. Unless you run them through all the various cycles - its a crap shoot.


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    I had a panel with sheet metal screws in the cover.
    Not much I could do, but I did not re install the cover.
    Left a note and called agent.

    Since then I try to carry some panel screws with me.
    I have replaced improper screws several times.
    I think a package of 4 cost me $2.

    I also carry a few different sheet metal screws in case some are missing in the air handler.
    Sooo ... you are one of those repair home inspectors who repair minor things rather than put them on the report? (I know you aren't, but, you did just admit to it ... )

    Nope, me, I put the same screws back that I take out ... if the screws YOU put in cause another problem, or the person who put the long screws in takes the cover off and it falls and injures them ... you could be found at fault. Not kidding.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Sooo ... you are one of those repair home inspectors who repair minor things rather than put them on the report? (I know you aren't, but, you did just admit to it ... )

    Nope, me, I put the same screws back that I take out ... if the screws YOU put in cause another problem, or the person who put the long screws in takes the cover off and it falls and injures them ... you could be found at fault. Not kidding.
    Very very doubtful
    I don't think re installing the wrong screw is what should be done, ever.
    Especially after seeing Eric's photo.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Very very doubtful
    I don't think re installing the wrong screw is what should be done, ever.
    Especially after seeing Eric's photo.
    Eric noted that the screws were blunt and put them back into the panel; after all that is the only requirement of the screws that we have been taught. In this case it is a little like being on your own side of the road and not giving a little extra space to the semi that is barreling toward you on the center line. There is one thing (well two) that we can be sure of: 1) Eric most likely had a sphincter malfunction; 2) He will be much more analytical of full panels; maybe moving some wires or leaving out key screws.

    I'm glad he was not hurt.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    The moral of the story is; don't inspect appliances. Unless you run them through all the various cycles - its a crap shoot.
    I don't think so.
    I'm a pilot (Instrument rated), service/install burglar and fire alarms, and have rental property.
    Some people believe these to be risky. To some extent, they are.
    With training and proper procedures the risk is reduced to an acceptable level.
    But without following procedures it would be much different.
    For example, testing electric garage door openers.
    Many inspectors refuse to test them as they should be tested.
    I don't have a problem with testing them. I have confidence in the test procedure.

    Testing/inspecting a DW is such low risk I don't understand someone not doing it.
    We, as professional Home Inspectors, inspect and test, that is what people hire us to do.
    Someone can get their brother in law to simply turn on things to see if it comes on.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    .... He will be much more analytical of.... panels; ....
    Now if others will only learn from these experiences (Eric and John) , they may not need to experience it for themselves.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Eric noted that the screws were blunt and put them back into the panel; after all that is the only requirement of the screws that we have been taught..

    I did not say I found fault with what Eric done, (although I do have some reservations).
    My response was in answer to Jerry's statement.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  36. #36
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    I don't think so.
    I'm a pilot (Instrument rated), service/install burglar and fire alarms, and have rental property.
    Some people believe these to be risky. To some extent, they are.
    With training and proper procedures the risk is reduced to an acceptable level.
    But without following procedures it would be much different.
    For example, testing electric garage door openers.
    Many inspectors refuse to test them as they should be tested.
    I don't have a problem with testing them. I have confidence in the test procedure.

    Testing/inspecting a DW is such low risk I don't understand someone not doing it.
    We, as professional Home Inspectors, inspect and test, that is what people hire us to do.
    Someone can get their brother in law to simply turn on things to see if it comes on.
    Testing appliances is not a set procedure in my view. As stated there are too many time consuming cycles on appliances and over many years inspecting there have been very few requests to test appliances by my clients.

    BTW what is the proper procedure for testing a stove, washer, or other appliance? Simply turning them on or off is not really a set procedure for functionality give the number of functions.

    Is a client any further ahead by an inspector only turns the appliance on or off? Do inspectors take clothes out of a washer to test the fill, wash, rinse, spin cycle?

    I know inspectors who test appliances most certainly do not test the self cleaning features of ovens due to the fact it takes several hours to run the cycle.

    Mind you nothing comes without risk, but I'd rather limit my risks and concentrate on what my clients ask of me and those wants are not with the appliances.


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    maybe moving some wires or leaving out key screws.
    I am inspecting some apartment buildings during their construction, that very thing (see above) is something I have told the electricians at many of their panels - some even had indentations in the insulation (not cut, just an indentation from being pushed against the screw) to the extent that they actually understood what could happen is the screw was re-inserted against the conductor ... cut into, and possibly through, the insulation, resulting in a ground-fault and its resulting arc.

    They are now (finally) beginning to use cable ties and tie the conductors back from the cover screw holes.

    We did find one conductor which the screw had cut into it, not sure why it had not arced yet, but there was enough conductor length to cut that section off and reattach the conductor to its terminal. The cause was they left that much excess conductor length that it was causing the conductor to be pressed back out against the screws.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    I'm glad he was not hurt.
    A thoughtful statement.

    That has actually happened to me once over the years. I was putting a screw back into the panel and punctured a wire. After that, I always looked for and recommended blunt-tipped fasteners. But I didn't realize you can actually puncture the wires with blunt tips too!

    John Chung
    Bluebird Inspections

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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Testing appliances is not a set procedure in my view. ...
    It should be


    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    BTW what is the proper procedure for testing a stove, ...
    What I do is: (basic electric oven)
    I check for:
    breaker size, plug (if applies), Anti tip device
    Operate burners on low , medium, high, then off, and record.
    Check door seal, interior light.
    Set oven to 250, 400, broil, then off, and record.

    No, I do not operate timers, automatic controls, or cleaning features.

    I suspect that you may operate several appliances
    Furnace, AC, water heater, vent hood, disposal, garage door opener (even if you do not test it),
    bath fan, jetted tub, ceiling fans, power attic vent, and maybe even the doorbell.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    ah... yes but those so called appliances only have one function, one setting in most cases. Todays appliances, leaving out garage doors (which I do test), furnaces, ac et ceteras ... are sophisticated with electronic controls. My dishwasher here at home has several settings, including steam and dry heating cycle.

    Of all the appliances I have been asked to check over the years has been the central vac. And always asked by the women. They seem to have a vested interest in that appliance..

    Another thought, if we start testing appliances where does it end? Do we start testing alarms, intercoms, wireless lighting, security cameras... maybe a bad comparable arguement, I don't know..

    For me its a business decision.


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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    I should have said this in my first post.
    Thank you John Chung (and Eric) for telling us of your experience.
    My post (and others) is not to find fault with you, but to use your misfortune as an example so that others may learn and benefit from.
    I hope you (both) do not take it as a personal assault.
    If it were not for the bad experience of others, we all would have to learn it the hard way.
    So again, thank you for posting.

    Raymond
    It's not that you do or do not test/inspect a particular appliance. It's, when you do inspect/test an appliance, you have a procedure that is likely to find defects if they exist, and not have unnecessary risk while doing the inspection/test.

    The OP did test/inspect the DW, however the procedure he used did not discover the defect until after substantial damage had occurred. He asked if he was responsible for the damage. Although, he may not have like what I said, I think I was the first poster that answered his question. Only after being asked to explain, did I say why I thought he was at fault.
    He and others may choose to never inspect a DW again, or they may choose to modify the inspection procedure so that this defect can be found before damage results.

    At least one inspector on this forum says he does not walk through insulation because doing so damages the insulation. Many others do not test the electric garage door opener, and some do not fill a shower pan with water. I myself do not inspect houses that have EFIS (I have not been trained in the proper procedure). Each have their reasons for not doing those inspections/test, however, if we eliminate too many items from the inspection because of risk (real or not) we will eventually stop inspecting everything.
    So, I'm not faulting anyone if they don't test/inspect the DW. I'm only trying to suggest a procedure that will make it less of a risk and yet still do a reasonable inspection/test of the appliance.

    Also, you ask where does testing appliances end.
    It ends when the inspector does not have the knowledge or ability to properly inspect/test an appliance, and/or when they choose not to inspect it.
    I install burglar and fire alarms, yet I do not inspect/test them during a home inspection.
    I, of everyone on this forum, am uniquely qualified to inspect an alarm system. It is because of my knowledge of alarm systems that I don't include them in an inspection.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Eric,,, How long were those screws???? ......

    Playing something of the Devils advocate here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    How about this line of thinking.:::::-)

    In retrospect did you not cause the problem by reusing the screw that cut through the wiring??

    Therefore;
    By knowingly reinserting the incorrect screw you damaged the wiring and are responsible for the damage. Your knowledge and experience put you in the position of responsibility for the damage.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    Who said they were not original screws or that they were the incorrect length for that panel?

    Maybe the wires were stuffed in too tight, or routed incorrectly............

    Dom.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    ........ So, Mr. Sorrells, you elected to not reinstall the panel cover because the screws were,........Mr. Sorrells, did you not consider the hazard ............ untimely demise of my client's child.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Eric noted that the screws were blunt and put them back into the panel; after all that is the only requirement of the screws that we have been taught........... 2) He will be much more analytical of full panels; maybe moving some wires or leaving out key screws.
    [QUOTE=John Chung;247324........... putting a screw back into the panel and punctured a wire. After that, I always looked for and recommended blunt-tipped fasteners. But I didn't realize you can actually puncture the wires with blunt tips too![/QUOTE]

    Don,
    Since Erick did not reply with the length of the screws and that in actuality the length of the screws really doesn't mater for the discussion I elected to push forward. As you pointed out "Maybe the wires were stuffed in too tight, or routed incorrectly..." .

    The fact that they may have been non standard is only the first thing that would flag you to look closer and more critically at the wiring in the panel. In fact the standard (provided with panel from manufacture) may be a problem, you have to look.

    Jerry,
    No, I would reinstall the panel cover but without the problem screw(s). I would most definitely "...consider the hazard ............ untimely demise of my client's child." By reinstalling the potentially hazardous screw, potentially energizing the entire panel, I would be be creating the potential "...untimely demise of my client's child...".
    ----So I personally would based on my experience, competence and ability
    a) Inspect the wire for damage and if no damage was found relocate out of harms way and reuse screw if only appropriate.
    b) Inspect the wire and if damaged and posing no immediate threat, reinstall panel without offending screw, then notify owner of problem for correction.
    c) An "If - then - else" scenario would continue till all all possibilities were exhausted.
    d) Leaving the panel cover off is not a scenario that I would consider unless its replacement in any manor would create a higher risk than all other possibilities. (never happened put a possibility).

    What is done will be determined by experience, competency and ability.

    For argument sake lets say all screws were in conflict with the the internal wiring and the HI has no competence in this area and has no idea what to do. Which is not to far fetched given the sate of the Home Inspection world at present. Then what?? Duct tape the cover on, put up yellow caution tape, block the area off in front of the panel, notify everyone presently at the property and contact the property owner immediate notifying them that an emergency exists and an electrician must be called at once to correct the hazardous life threatening condition. Then pull your skirt over your head and "run Forest run".


    Vern points out part of the problem, "...screws were blunt and put them back into the panel; after all that is the only requirement of the screws that we have been taught..".

    Followed up by John saying "...I always looked for and recommended blunt-tipped fasteners. But I didn't realize you can actually puncture the wires with blunt tips too!"


    Many states that are licensed expect that the service panel be opened and cover panel removed even though doing so is beyond their SOP requirements. So often a HI is told that something is beyond the scope of their experience and competence level, and sadly this is true. What is typically offered as training in the process of obtaining a license falls far short from what is reality and what is needed in the field.


    Eric's electrical interjection into responsibility and liability discussion is interesting. Taking a screw out and reinstalling that same screw does not ultimately mean that there is no responsibility for any damage caused by reinsertion of the screw. Point being is that you have to be vigilant and discerning in making observations and determinations. No mater how many times you do something it needs to be under cloud of concern about damage potential.

    Short screw or long screw is not the issue. Knowing and recognizing the potential for damage is the issue and mitigating the extent of that damage is a responsibility.

    IF you started the dishwasher THEN you are responsible to mitigate damage.
    IF your removed the panel cover THEN you are responsible to mitigate damage.

    ELSE don't do anything and keep you hand in your pockets.

    Last edited by Garry Sorrells; 09-03-2014 at 08:23 AM.

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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    IF you started the dishwasher THEN you are responsible to mitigate damage.IF your removed the panel cover THEN you are responsible to mitigate damage.ELSE don't do anything and keep you hand in your pockets.
    I completely disagree with the above.With that thinking ANY defect the inspector finds is their responsibility - NO WAY.

    You open the front door and it falls off its hinges - NOT the inspector's fault.

    You turn the range on and the switch arcs - NOT the inspector's fault.

    You open the fireplace chimney damper and it falls off - NOT the inspector's fault.

    Neither is any damage resulting from such failure or defect.

    The above said, though, there is nothing wrong with learning from experience and adjusting your inspection procedure to try to catch those defects before much damage results from the failure.

    (used edit to format text as it would not format properly from my phone)

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 09-03-2014 at 02:05 PM.
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    there is nothing wrong with learning from experience and adjusting your inspection procedure to try to catch those defects before much damage results from the failure.
    That is what I have been saying
    Have/use a procedure that enables you to perform the inspection, while it also reduces risk at the same time.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Sorry Jerry you missed one of the main points.

    As a HI you should be able to recognize that the screws will do damage to the wires.
    The HI then should act accordingly. Meaning not put the screws back and cause damage that could have been avoided.

    The HI is not responsible that the panel had wrong screws or that the internal wiring is wrong. But is responsible to recognize it and act accordingly. HIs want to have a mantel of Professional accorded to them, part of that is acting accordingly.

    The OP dishwasher damage was after leaving the dishwasher run and not observe its operation or verify that it shut down correctly.

    How about this scenario.
    You start running water into a bath tub (in basement). You want to see if the tub operates as intended. The tub has an overflow. You leave and come back 2 hrs later to see how the overflow is doing. You observe that the overflow is not working (clogged). The running water from the bath has now filled the tub and overflowed filling the basement with 2" of water. Would you then conclude that the bath tub failed under testing and that the HI is has no responsibility for the 2" of water in the basement and the resulting damage that was caused. The HI did not cause the clog and is not responsible to repair the overflow line in the tub. But I think most will agree that the HI is responsible for the resulting damage.



    You mention "You turn the range on and the switch arcs - NOT the inspector's fault.". The HI is not responsible for the cause of the arc but to act accordingly. Meaning not to step back and watch the resulting fire without dong anything. Or to walk away and not observe the testing of the appliance which failed. The Hi should have completed the test. Upon failed test the HI could have turned the switch off or thrown the breaker which would have mitigated the the damage (loss of house due to fire caused by switch arcing). The HI is not responsible for the failed switch or the initial damage that the switch caused, it failed.


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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Sorry Jerry you missed one of the main points.
    Sorry Garry you missed the main point - the HI is there to actually find out if things work or do not work, and that the HI is not there to make repairs.

    When the HI backs the screw out and the wires go POOF! because the wrong screws were installed by others - there is no way the HI is responsible. The HI is also NOT responsible to take corrective action by carrying panel cover screws with him or her - do you expect HIs to carry hinges, replacement switches, replacement dampers, etc?

    The HI is also NOT to leave the hazard exposed, such as the electrical panel cover, and is expected to re-install the panel cover ... using whatever screws are there. I have had that happen, and I would re-install the panel cover using the screws which are there ... but leave out the screw that hit the conductor (there is that course of action I described which needs to be considered and which, apparently, you did not consider).

    If you expect the HI to carry backup supplies for things they find wrong ... they might as well have a Big Box truck follow them to their inspections.

    You seem to have missed ... or at least ignored ... THE point.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Jerry
    I think you may be mixing my post and Garry's post.

    Garry said he would not knowingly reinstall improper screws.
    I carry panel screws with me. I don't think Garry said he carries screws with him.

    Also
    Garry did not say the HI is liable if something happens while removing the screws.
    He said the HI may be liable for knowingly reinstalling improper screws.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  49. #49
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Seems that you (Jerry) and Garry agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post

    The HI is also NOT to leave the hazard exposed, such as the electrical panel cover, and is expected to re-install the panel cover ... using whatever screws are there. I have had that happen, and I would re-install the panel cover using the screws which are there ... but leave out the screw that hit the conductor (there is that course of action I described which needs to be considered and which, apparently, you did not consider).
    .
    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    No, I would reinstall the panel cover but without the problem screw(s).
    .... reinstall panel without offending screw, ....
    d) Leaving the panel cover off is not a scenario that I would consider unless its replacement in any manor would create a higher risk than all other possibilities. .


    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  50. #50
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    If you are an ASHI member you should be inspecting to the ASHI Standards. Inspecting appliances using "Normal Operating" controls is what we should be doing.

    This is directly from the ASHI SOP:
    F. installed ovens, ranges, surface cooking appliances, microwave ovens, dishwashing machines, and food waste grinders by using normal operating controls to activate the primary function.

    I have been doing it for 20 years, I've had some leakers with dishwashers and disposals and even had a microwave to almost catch on fire. Had one dishwasher that was sabotaged by the disgruntled spouse, they squirted liquid dishwashing detergent in it. We had about a foot suds covering the kitchen floor about 15 min after I started it.

    Everytime one of the appliances decided to leak or die, I acted professionally, did not freak out, cleaned up the mess the best I could and finished my inspection. I can't recall ever being accused of breaking any appliance and I never offered to pay for any repairs. If an item broke or failed when all I did was to turn it on as my client would be doing, I'm sorry but t is not my fault. 99.9% chance the owner was aware that the appliance in question had a problem and they were just praying it would not be discovered.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Scott,
    Do you start the dishwasher and walk away to let it run?
    Do you wait till the fill cycle has completed before you leave it to continue through the rest of the functions unattended to check back on it later?


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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Scott

    I thought the SOP changed to include appliances, but when I go to the ASHI site it says the following:

    Interior | ASHI, American Society of Home Inspectors

    10.2 The inspector is NOT required to inspect :

    paint, wallpaper, and other finish treatments.
    carpeting.
    window treatments.
    central vacuum systems.
    household appliances.
    recreational facilities.

    ?


  53. #53
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    I highlighted only for clarity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Earlier this week as I was putting an electric panel cover back on I blew out two circuits as I drove one of the screws in - wires were too close to the blunt tip screw. I left a note for the owner telling them what happened and to get an electrician to repair it. In my view you and I found a problem - something that we are paid to do. I see no liability in that.

    Eric,
    I am not beating up on you. You did what many do, that is open the panel see no damage from screws then put the screws back in.

    Correct me if I am reading your post wrong.
    -Upon opening the panel you did not see any damage to the wires from the screws?
    -The damage to the wires occurred upon reinsertion of the screws?
    -You did not take notice of the length of the screws and positioning of wires after the screws were removed and the wires had been exposed when you removed the panel cover?

    Then:
    -If upon opening removing the panel cover you saw that the wires had been in contact with the screw or that the wire had been damaged by the screw, would you have reused that screw that caused the damage?


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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Sorry Garry you missed the main point - the HI is there to actually find out if things work or do not work, and that the HI is not there to make repairs.

    When the HI backs the screw out and the wires go POOF! because the wrong screws were installed by others - there is no way the HI is responsible. The HI is also NOT responsible to take corrective action by carrying panel cover screws with him or her - do you expect HIs to carry hinges, replacement switches, replacement dampers, etc?

    The HI is also NOT to leave the hazard exposed, such as the electrical panel cover, and is expected to re-install the panel cover ... using whatever screws are there. I have had that happen, and I would re-install the panel cover using the screws which are there ... but leave out the screw that hit the conductor (there is that course of action I described which needs to be considered and which, apparently, you did not consider).

    If you expect the HI to carry backup supplies for things they find wrong ... they might as well have a Big Box truck follow them to their inspections.

    You seem to have missed ... or at least ignored ... THE point.
    Sorry folks for reposting the quote. Just do not want to have things attributed to me that I did not say nor intend.

    Jerry,
    Take a step back and take a deep breath. You are muddling posts for some reason. Maybe you need a phone with a larger screen. Please beat me for what I say but not for what someone else says or you have muddled together from multiple sources. I do attempt to be specific thus the long/wordy posts. Shallow attempt for clarity.

    Eric posted a situation where the POOF occurred upon reinsertion of the screws. He did not say that there was any damage prior to reinserting the screws. I am pretty sure that Eric is not trying to cause intentional damage nor kill himself. Yet the damage occurred upon closing the panel. My guess is that he sensed that something was wrong and reopened the panel to see the picture that he posted.

    I agree that as you stated "When the HI backs the screw out and the wires go POOF! because the wrong screws were installed by others - there is no way the HI is responsible". I do not think anyone is intimating that the HI has any responsibility of the damage that occurred in your electrical panel example.

    If having a couple of screws (which I do keep) allows me to close the panel safely and protect others from possible harm, I would use them. I also would inform the owner of the conditions and my actions. I, by no means, suggest HIs perform repairs. With the electrical panel scenario it is just a mater of expedience and safety to be able to secure the panel cover. Just selfish of me to be able to leave without having to worry about someone getting hurt, my bad....

    Some fuel to the fire::::::-) Finding undamaged wires that would be in conflict with inserting a screw I would move them. Not talking about rewiring the panel, just a tweak if possible to resolve a problem for myself and be able to close the panel without damage. Would I suggest others to do that, absolutely not. UNLESS they knew what they were doing and were comfortable in their capabilities and experience. Just as I would not suggest someone should sail 300 miles off shore without the capabilities and experience required.


  55. #55
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Scott,
    Do you start the dishwasher and walk away to let it run?
    Do you wait till the fill cycle has completed before you leave it to continue through the rest of the functions unattended to check back on it later?
    I start them and let them run..... But, I also use the kitchen as my base, so to speak,so I'm passing through the kitchen often to input notes in my iPad and change or pick up tools as I need them.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Scott

    I thought the SOP changed to include appliances, but when I go to the ASHI site it says the following:

    Interior | ASHI, American Society of Home Inspectors

    10.2 The inspector is NOT required to inspect :

    paint, wallpaper, and other finish treatments.
    carpeting.
    window treatments.
    central vacuum systems.
    household appliances.
    recreational facilities.

    ?
    That is an old link, this link is for the new SOP and is on the main Inspector Page accessed from the home page... Quick Links...
    Standards of Practice | ASHI, American Society of Home Inspectors

    It looks like what you posted is the Index from the old SOP, that should be gone when the new website is published.

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 09-04-2014 at 04:31 PM.
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    That is an old link, this link is for the new SOP and is on the main Inspector Page accessed from the home page... Quick Links...
    Standards of Practice | ASHI, American Society of Home Inspectors

    It looks like what you posted is the Index from the old SOP, that should be gone when the new website is published.
    Your link points to the exact same info....


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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    Your link points to the exact same info....
    http://www.homeinspector.org/docs/standards_updated.pdf
    Try this.... March 1, 2014 they went live.... All members were sent a notice and it was in the Reporter.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    http://www.homeinspector.org/docs/standards_updated.pdf
    Try this.... March 1, 2014 they went live.... All members were sent a notice and it was in the Reporter.
    I'm not a member, so I didn't get the memo, but why would a link for something as important as the Association SOP be on their site for 6 months after a new SOP was adopted in March?

    The bottom of the form states the new SOP supersedes all old versions, and went into effect March 1, 2014.

    Just curious, not looking to swat a hornets nest....

    Dom.


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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    I'm not a member, so I didn't get the memo, but why would a link for something as important as the Association SOP be on their site for 6 months after a new SOP was adopted in March?

    The bottom of the form states the new SOP supersedes all old versions, and went into effect March 1, 2014.

    Just curious, not looking to swat a hornets nest....

    Dom.
    That's a very good valid point. No offence Scott, but something as important as the SOP should have been updated the minute it was approved.


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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    That's a very good valid point. No offence Scott, but something as important as the SOP should have been updated the minute it was approved.
    I agree...

    The new SOP is on the website and it is listed at the top of the paragraph where it says Click Here..to download a PDF of the new Standards of Practice. Also the Quick Link on the right bar takes you to the new SOP.

    It looks like the Table of contents at the bottom of the page still directs to the old SOP, it must have been overlooked. I'll give them a call Monday to see if it can be corrected.

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 09-06-2014 at 07:26 AM.
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    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Now this was a fun read. I never thought reading about appliance testing or not would be interesting.

    I run dishwashers after I have opened them and give them a visual inspection. I put them on a short cycle and let em rip and check on them from time to time. If they leak during the normal operation of the unit I can not see how a home inspector is liable.

    If it fails I clean it up, but it failed during normal operation. I take a picture of the mess and document it.

    I also state that appliances are tested to see if the activate and run. They will not be put through all the cycles or conditions as if using them in daily operations.

    I think most people really do understand this.

    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

  63. #63
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,777

    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    But the $ 64,000 question is; Drum roll please.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x.xx..x.x.x.x

    Does anyone know of a case that the home owner took the Dishwasher tester to court for damages done during the inspection?


  64. #64
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Wenatchee Wa
    Posts
    301

    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    Gary,

    I really wonder how much sueing is really going on. We all hear of it happening and I do know one inspector that got sued but I think that it really does not happen that much.

    In fact it is of my opinion that there probably should be more suits done for some of the work I see from other inspectors out there.

    I can only talk for my area, but about 50% or better of the home inspectors here do not even meet the minimum state standards and with our adoption of the 2012 IRC/2014 NEC I bet that number is even higher now since so many of them do not keep up on the laws and how it affects our reporting requirements per our state laws.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Gary,

    I really wonder how much sueing is really going on. We all hear of it happening and I do know one inspector that got sued but I think that it really does not happen that much.

    In fact it is of my opinion that there probably should be more suits done for some of the work I see from other inspectors out there.

    I can only talk for my area, but about 50% or better of the home inspectors here do not even meet the minimum state standards and with our adoption of the 2012 IRC/2014 NEC I bet that number is even higher now since so many of them do not keep up on the laws and how it affects our reporting requirements per our state laws.

    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

  65. #65
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: Dishwasher overflowed...

    I've never read any case where a home inspector was sued for failure of an appliance(s). It does not mean it has not happened, only that a case of such has not been reported in legal proceedings.

    Why this may be the case is the fact an appliance cost is not worth perusing to court due to the low costs involved.

    As to testing appliance simply by turning off and on one cycle is folly. For the same reasons one would not start and stop a car without a test drive in order to hear and feel the car which cannot be had by just idling a car. Apples to apples?


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