Home Inspections & Your Heating System

Certified Building Code Official


A majority of todays homes are heated by some type of furnace that converts fuel to heat and distributes it throughout the home as warm air through duct work, or as warm water through a hydronic delivery system.  But it is not uncommon to find heat pumps, wood burning or pellet stoves, electric-resistance heaters or other methods being used to augment the primary heating system, or sometimes as the primary heating system itself. 

Heating Defect Pictures

Most furnace water leaks originate from condensate lines and are easily fixed. Another source of water leaking into furnaces is the old style drum humidifiers. These are known for overflowing due to faulty floats which become stuck from calcium and mineral deposit build ups. Another source of water entry can be a poorly installed flue pipe which is allowing water to enter from exterior section of flue. Any sign of water or moisture presence in your furnace should be dealt with immediately by a trained furnace technician.

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Complete resource for wood burning technology and information for the home owner.


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I. The inspector shall inspect:

A. The heating system and describe the energy source and heating method using normal operating controls.
B. And report as in need of repair electric furnaces which do not operate. 
C. And report if inspector deemed the furnace inaccessible.

II. The inspector is not required to:

A. Inspect or evaluate interiors of flues or chimneys, fire chambers, the heat exchanger, the humidifier or dehumidifier, the electronic air filter, solar heating systems or fuel tanks.
B. Inspect underground fuel tanks. 
C. Determine the uniformity, temperature, flow, balance, distribution, size, capacity, BTU, or supply adequacy of the heating system.
D. Light pilot flames.
E. Activate heating, heat pump systems, or other heating systems when ambient temperatures or other circumstances are not conducive to safe operation or may damage the equipment.
F. Operate electronic thermostats.
G. Evaluate fuel quality.