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Thread: Utilities

  1. #1
    Gary Winfield's Avatar
    Gary Winfield Guest

    Default Utilities

    Got a call for an inspection today on a house that has had utilities turned off for months. We have had several snow storms in the month of January. I am having the electric & water turned on tomorrow. The gas (propane) tank is empty & is being filled enough to do my inspection. The question is should I have the propane company make sure gas is to the furnaces and hot water tanks or is that the inspector's responsibility? Am I supposed to light the pilot lights or will the propane company do that? What if there is air in the gas lines? Am I suppose to bleed the air out or will the propane company be responsible to make sure the house has heat before they leave? What is the rule of thumb on lighting pilot lights?

    Comments welcome..............

    Gary

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Philadelphia PA
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    Default Re: Utilities

    Many, if not most, home inspectors will not light pilots.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Utilities

    NO to all--the house should be de-winterized before you do inspection. if you are asked to turn on pilot lights and water to house. make sure you get a waiver of responsibility signed by seller or their agent, removing any liabilities on you. better yet call your insurance agent and ask them, if you are covered- check your sop--bet it is not there. that sounds like a big risk to me. i don't do it.

    chas


  4. #4
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Utilities

    I'll de-winterize and light pilots for an additional fee and a waiver. The NC SOP says an inspector can go beyond the SOP if they hold the proper license.


  5. #5
    Gary Winfield's Avatar
    Gary Winfield Guest

    Default Re: Utilities

    James,

    What all do u do to de winterize ?? Aren't u assuming a liability?


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    Default Re: Utilities

    Gary, the way I see it, we should be able to come in and begin operating things as though we are the homeowner and things are ready to go. Lighting pilots and bleeding air out of gas lines does not fall within that realm. These things should be taken care of before your inspection.

    I looked at a house last week where the plumbing system was being dewinterized by a plumber (or somebody with some plumbing background) while I was there. While I was in the basement, he went upstairs and turned the water on to the 1st floor powder room sink. Unbeknownst to him, the water line to the sink was corroded all the way through and water started pouring through the floor into the basement........and into my tool bag. Then, the water heater had a leak at the drain valve and he attempted to replace it without turning the water off to the tank. I was in the garage when I heard a loud spraying noise. Curious about the noise, I walked halfway down the basement steps to see him fighting to get a new valve on the bottom of the water heater tank and water blowing past him in all directions. I turned around and went back to garage.

    Nope. It's gotta be ready to go for me.

    Last edited by Nick Ostrowski; 01-26-2011 at 08:42 PM.
    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  7. #7
    Mitchell Toelle's Avatar
    Mitchell Toelle Guest

    Default Re: Utilities

    Additionally, propane is not something you should mess with (natural gas is bad enough). All supplied appliances should be thoroughly reviewed and lighted by someone much more qualified than we are...and who can take on the risk and liability. LP gas= very dangerous.

    Tank was empty...I wonder why. Leak?


  8. #8
    Gary Winfield's Avatar
    Gary Winfield Guest

    Default Re: Utilities

    Thanks for all the input !!!

    Gary


  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Washington State
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    358

    Default Re: Utilities

    Be sure to walk thru the place first and check to see if the gas lines are connected to all the gas appliances - there may be no stove and no isolation valve on the line - same with fireplaces, furnace, etc.....Personally, I do not operate gas valves or turn isolation valves to gas appliances on. If the gas is on and valves open, I do light pilot lights...........


  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Washington State
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    Default Re: Utilities

    BTW, I always let clients and realtors know that all utilities have to be on for the inspection, otherwise they are wasting their time and money.


  11. #11
    Sam Sloane's Avatar
    Sam Sloane Guest

    Default Re: Utilities

    Many times I have come across empty tanks. If the owner knows he will be selling, he won't have the tank filled. Especially landlords who rent out SF houses.


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