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  1. #1
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    Default HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    hey all

    did this inspection yesterday and saw a crawl space vent outside and that was on first walk around. so waited for the thrill of going into another crawl space later on , i do crawl spaces last because of dirt.

    so on with inspection as usual. when i got to furnace, i did as i have done for 650 inspections.
    1] turned the thermostat up
    2] brought client to furnace and did the usual chat on servicing and changing filter ever thirty days or as needed.
    3] explanded operation of furnace--fan on first--ignitor lighting--click for gas valve--fire

    next pulled off lower panel to show them secondary shut off switch--

    put panel back on and furnace would not fire---thermostat said low battery

    now what the &%$#

    changed batteries in thermostat and still nothing. it was now 5pm.

    checked all low voltage connections to thermostat and they were good.

    its now 6pm--no seller yet and did not have their number--getting hungry and pissed off.

    seller has three young kids, and its cold in colorado.
    so i called my trustworthy hvac guy.

    they get there and tell me the thermostat is shot. what

    replace thermostat and everything is ok.

    billed seller for $250, seller says he is not paying, i broke it, whAT the &^#$

    so what would you have done, my hvac guy says just leave your card and let him call you.

    just diddn't feel i could do that. don't feel i should have to pay.sucks

    so now do we not even take cover off furnace to inspect..**** flows down hill hate being at the bottum. what do you think

    by the way crawl space was covered over with drywall, because seller hated the look,,city inspected and said ok, but when i called city today they said no way, have to have access,which i knew. way to go city, what a world inspector

    charlie

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  2. #2
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    I hope it's a nice thermostat. My usual programmable T-stat is about $25.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  3. #3
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    Default Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    Charlie,

    First of all I wouldn't have called in my own personal HVAC guy. That should be the sellers choice of who they wanted in their home and what should have been repaired.

    I would have just wrote it up as non-operable and moved on.

    I commend you on looking out for their interest, but I think you overstepped you bounds on this one.

    250. for a thermostat? I'd find me another "trustworthy" HVAC contractor.

    Another thought. Be careful entering homes with children there with no adults supervision. Thats a huge liability on yourself.

    Just my opinion.

    Rick


  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    Gotta go with Rick on this one.


    That sucker would have been written up as inoperable and let the seller deal with it. The next time he turned it on it would have happened anyway.

    Never ever pay for anything or have anyone come in a sellers home and repair anything ever unless you fall thru the ceiling and only then if you slip and fall. If you step on a rotted or termite eaten joist don't pay for that either.

    As Rick said. Any children with the buyer and they must have a leash on them. I always kneel down and explain to the nice little rodents that they absolutely have to stay right next to Daddy. For that matter I do not have any of my clients come till the end. That solves that whole problem.

    Repeat. Never bring any contractor into anyones home and have them repair of replace anything, ever. You will be buying them something big someday. Not to mention, you bring someone in and you have to pay them before they leave. You will not get your money back, ever. You took the blame by having it fixed.

    250 That better had been a damn fine thermostat.

    Service call was how much and the thermostat was how much and he chrged you 250. Get yourself another hvac company. Never mind. You don't need one because you will never do that again.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    ted and rick

    children were not in house ,no one was. as for hvac tech,it was 6pm ,that overtime on a saturday . so $250 is for time and product--thats not to bad.. if kids are there i ask seller to curb them or i'm gone

    charlie


  6. #6
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    Default Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    Charlie, I don't know if you measured the control voltages or just checked for mechanical connections. If you have the old thermostat it would be a good idea to try it on another furnace (yours or a friends). What you describe doesn't sound right. Most of the thermostats that require batteries don't need the batteries installed to work. I've had the same experience several times where the real problem was the loss of the 24 volts to the thermostat. The interlock on the panel cover is notorious for not making contact when the cover is replaced.

    I agree with Rick about writing it up as not operative or failed during test and leaving it to the seller to resolve. I hope you did not get ripped off by your HVAC guy!


  7. #7
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    Default Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    Charlie,

    Must be a local thing. You call a HVAC guy in this area and if he'd charged you that kind of money for a thermostat and an overtime charge, we'd just hanged him.

    Rick


  8. #8
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    ted and rick

    children were not in house ,no one was. as for hvac tech,it was 6pm ,that overtime on a saturday . so $250 is for time and product--thats not to bad.. if kids are there i ask seller to curb them or i'm gone

    charlie
    Charlie

    In multiple thousands of inspections I have only paid for 2 items. One because a woman called me for three months crying twice a week and I finally helped her out because I am a sap and cannot take crying woman. That was part of the cost for replacement of an electric panel even though I wrote it up and had pictures. That was a year after the inspection. The other one was 125.00 that I paid for a wire to be connected that a warranty company tried to get 855 for the repair and I was so POd I paid the 125 and had a confrntaion that was not very nice with the HVAC warranty company.

    I could go on forever but I will spare you that. If something stops working when you are there 1. Never pull money out of your pocket and 2. Never do work on someones home if they are not there even if it is your fault.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    RICK

    i charge for trips,when called out for anything, $100 a trip plus miles if its away, so what kind of hvac guys do you have out there, that don't charge for trips and off hours-- thermostat is at least $50, so a saturday call out after 6pm has got to be at least $100 +.. if not why be in business. and i did check the voltage to thermostat and it was ok, thermostat just went downtown. another freak event in the HI world.
    sometimes when things happen and you have not experienced such an event, you do what you think is right or what you would want someone else to do for your safety. did it and got a little burned. won't happen again.

    charlie


  10. #10
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    I am glad to see that you have good ethics and are professional.

    In this case, you just learned a $250. lesson and will have to make your own decision as to how you will handle this in the future.

    If there was a realtor involved, I would have called their office and reported it immediately telling them to get an HVAC company out there because I found a problem. At that point I would have finished my inspection, went home, had dinner and slept peacefully. Not my problem.

    Lesson learned but thanks for being professional and caring anyway.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    Thats about what it would cost around hear to get an HVAC guy on a Saturday to put in a T-stat. That's a difficult call on that one, paying $250 for something that you did not break is a bummer. I can see how a homeowner might expect you to pay for it when if was working properly before you showed up. In the long run it's probably best that you paid for it even though it's not fair.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    ted and rick

    if kids are there i ask seller to curb them or i'm gone
    charlie


    You're a guest in someone's house. If their kids are noisy you stop the inspection and leave? What if the dog is barking?


  13. #13
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    Default Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    neil
    are you agreeing with me--isn't that what i said, as for dogs i always carry doggy treats
    charlie


  14. #14
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    Default Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    Yeah, looks like an expensive lesson Charlie. If it isn't working, write it up and move along. Calling a pro to come and fix everything you find defective or non-operable in a house will drain your checking account pretty quickly. Changing the batteries in the thermostat would have been the limit for me. Beyond that, servicing/repairs needed.

    We can't save the world.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    As others have said, this was a $250 lesson. Kudos to you for your compassion for the family, but.....................

    I can see the $250 charge. In my area an overtime HVAC call is $175 an hour. A t-stat with a markup, I could see it being $50 to $75.

    I would have notified the agents involved that the system was not working properly, and let them have called the HVAC contractor. In fact, I have done it before.

    Again, I do commend you for thinking about the owner and their children.

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

  16. #16
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    South-West Michigan
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    Post Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    I have to disagree that the inspector is a guest in a home being inspected. I get in trouble with my wife if I start inspecting a house that I am a guest in. No sir.

    The home inspector is a professional consultant who is present for only one reason: to do a job, perform a service. Not for the seller. Not for the real estate agents. Not for the mortgage broker. Not for any body other than the client. The ONLY person who has a stake in the inspection is the client. It is THEIR budget that will bear the mortgage payment.

    There should be no unattended children. Dogs should be crated. Hot heads should be sent to the mall/movie theater/etc. if they can not stay out of the way. Regardless of how new the flooring is, shoes do NOT come off. Insurance underwriters are a bit perturbed to pay the expense of a foot injury because proper footwear was not in place. And if push came to shove, they could probably recover their costs from whomever "made" the inspector remove his foot protection.

    Wailing children, barking dogs, loud televisions or radios, obnoxious people - they all get the boot. The home inspector is there to evaluate the property and record the condition, giving a professional opinion that carries with it liability.

    As for the thermostat, colleges are charging around $400-500 per credit hour now. Consider it a lesson learned. Never repair anything. That is not part of the job. If it is not working properly, document that. If there is a safety issue, advise the listing agent or the seller. It is their responsibility to deal with.


    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
    www.housesmithe.com

  17. #17
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    Default Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Aldering View Post
    I have to disagree that the inspector is a guest in a home being inspected. I get in trouble with my wife if I start inspecting a house that I am a guest in. No sir.


    Understood, I get the same thing, however ...

    The home inspector is a professional consultant who is present for only one reason: to do a job, perform a service. Not for the seller. Not for the real estate agents. Not for the mortgage broker. Not for any body other than the client. The ONLY person who has a stake in the inspection is the client. It is THEIR budget that will bear the mortgage payment.
    Legally speaking ...

    Home inspectors, as well as any and all contractors and persons working in the home, are considered to be "invited guests" in the home. The owner of the home (the seller) has a fiduciary responsibility to keep the home safe for their "invited guests". However, that term is not used the way it has been used in this thread.

    I had one inspection I recall where I was not an "invited guest" in the home, I was in there by force, accompanied by two Sheriffs Deputies, as the occupant, the wife in a nasty divorce proceeding, refused us entry the first time, so the husband got a court order to allow me in.

    The house was in the midst of being trashed by the wife, who finished trashing it after the inspection and before being forced out by the sale. The buyer, a real estate agent, was shocked at the condition the house was in after the wife left - I had to go back and inspect it again - it was a mess, as an example of things she did, she poured cooking oil into the pool pump basket, coating everything with cooking oil as the pump operated, the pool was, obviously, a green and slimy oily mess. The agent 'stole' the house, but paid dearly for doing that instead of giving fair value (which was just one of the things the wife was ticked at).

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

  18. #18
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    Default Re: HOME INSPECTOR WRONG

    Jerry,

    Now those are the houses I enjoy inspecting.

    Did one last week that was a divorce situation. The constables made the wife stay out of the house while I did the inspection. She was told to stay outside but could remain out back on the patio or yard if she desired.

    Lets say she decided to do a bit of lawn maintenance. She being a Turkish gal, had a mean swing with a machete and took out some anger on some really nice newly planted palm trees. All of the nice tulips she decided they needed a swim in the pool along with many other of the trimmings she had done.

    The police just stood back and let her perform her magic.

    The last I saw of her she was pushing a propane grill into the pool.

    Now thats pure entertainment.

    Rick


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