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Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump

 
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Old 03-02-2009, 04:50 PM   #1
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Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


Saw something the other day in Morton Grove IL about which I can't find much information. In a basement was what appeared to be a standard sewerage ejector pump serving a bathroom in the basement, vented off the house plumbing and discharging to an overhead sewer. This is been reported by a home inspector as a sump pump (no mention of an ejector pump), and I assumed this report had been in error. However when I asked someone with a great deal of experience in Chicago and nearby communities he suggested this was quite likely a combination sump and sewerage ejector pump, with the inlet for the drain tiles discharging into the sump a few inches higher than the sewerage inlet - that while this is not an ideal arrangement he sees it frequently, that this arrangement is commonly passed by municipal inspectors, and that in Chicago (for example) since the 1990s it is common for a pump to serve both functions. This seems unwise to me: when the pump fails and/or the sewer lateral clogs you are going to be backing sewerage contaminated water into the drain tile system, and I'm a loss as to why code would allow that. 1) Has anyone else here had experience of such systems? 2) Are they permitted by code? 3) If others here are encountering these, how do you advise your customer?
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Old 03-02-2009, 05:23 PM   #2
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
Saw something the other day in Morton Grove IL about which I can't find much information. In a basement was what appeared to be a standard sewerage ejector pump serving a bathroom in the basement, vented off the house plumbing and discharging to an overhead sewer. This is been reported by a home inspector as a sump pump (no mention of an ejector pump), and I assumed this report had been in error. However when I asked someone with a great deal of experience in Chicago and nearby communities he suggested this was quite likely a combination sump and sewerage ejector pump, with the inlet for the drain tiles discharging into the sump a few inches higher than the sewerage inlet - that while this is not an ideal arrangement he sees it frequently, that this arrangement is commonly passed by municipal inspectors, and that in Chicago (for example) since the 1990s it is common for a pump to serve both functions. This seems unwise to me: when the pump fails and/or the sewer lateral clogs you are going to be backing sewerage contaminated water into the drain tile system, and I'm a loss as to why code would allow that. 1) Has anyone else here had experience of such systems? 2) Are they permitted by code? 3) If others here are encountering these, how do you advise your customer?
1) Yes.

2) Chicago code allows that when you have an overhead sewer.

3) Advise them of what?

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Old 03-02-2009, 06:51 PM   #3
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


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3) Advise them of what?
That there is potential for backing up sewage into the drain tiles system?
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:39 PM   #4
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


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Old 03-02-2009, 08:11 PM   #5
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


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That there is potential for backing up sewage into the drain tiles system?
What is your point?

This is why there should be an extensive test to become a home inspector in Illinois, most of them have no concept of what they are inspecting or how it works.
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Old 03-02-2009, 10:33 PM   #6
 
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


[quote=KillerToiletSpider;625670]What is your point?

This is why there should be an extensive test to become a home inspector in Illinois, most of them have no concept of what they are inspecting or how it works.[/quote

A beautifull statement. Is Morton Grove, Cook county and subject to Chicago code?

I am of the opinion that most home inspectors are hacks but his concern is something I agree with... if Morton Grove falls under Illinois Plumbing Code then it is illegal! "Sumps and ejectors handling sub-soil drainage and footing drains shall not receive any sewage. Sumps and ejectors handling sewage shall not receive subsoil drainage and footing drains"
Illinois Plumbing code subpart J: drainage systerm, section 890.1360 a (2).

If its Chicago I just did a whole lot of typing for nothing
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Old 03-02-2009, 10:38 PM   #7
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


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Originally Posted by kane co plumber View Post
I am of the opinion that most home inspectors are hacks but his concern is something I agree with... if Morton Grove falls under Illinois Plumbing Code then it is illegal! "Sumps and ejectors handling sub-soil drainage and footing drains shall not receive any sewage. Sumps and ejectors handling sewage shall not receive subsoil drainage and footing drains"
Illinois Plumbing code subpart J: drainage systerm, section 890.1360 a (2).

If its Chicago I just did a whole lot of typing for nothing
Morton Grove is in Cook county, that does not mean they use Chicago code, but I only know of a two towns in Cook county that don't use some form of Chicago code.
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Old 03-03-2009, 07:05 AM   #8
 
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


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Originally Posted by KillerToiletSpider View Post
Morton Grove is in Cook county, that does not mean they use Chicago code, but I only know of a two towns in Cook county that don't use some form of Chicago code.
So, if you live in the correct town of Cook County you might be drinking your own fecal matter. Sump pumps= de-watering systems- sewage ejectors= sewage systems. The systems should be separate.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:20 PM   #9
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


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Originally Posted by plumber1a View Post
So, if you live in the correct town of Cook County you might be drinking your own fecal matter. Sump pumps= de-watering systems- sewage ejectors= sewage systems. The systems should be separate.
Perhaps in your part of the country, in Chicago all drainage, including rain water, goes to the sanitary sewer and then through a sewage treatment plant that discharges water cleaner than a lot of well water.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:44 PM   #10
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


I'm in Lomard, we have the same set up, but no bathroom in the basement, just laundry and a sink, it's vented because the sump pit should be sealed or it would stink. I did notice one thing, some of the stuff draining from the bathrooms and kitchen from the two floors above seem to make it into that sump pit instead of directly out to the city sewer which is a few feet above the basement floor which is not good if we have a power failure, but then again this house was built by an idiot.

Morton Grove uses the Illinois Plumbing code, the do use Chicago's electric code, just like every town out here they use a combination of every possible code and year, making it real convenient for contractors.





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Old 03-03-2009, 12:53 PM   #11
 
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


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Originally Posted by KillerToiletSpider View Post
Perhaps in your part of the country, in Chicago all drainage, including rain water, goes to the sanitary sewer and then through a sewage treatment plant that discharges water cleaner than a lot of well water.
That explains it all, sounds like the rain water is as dirty as the sewage water. Here we treat the sewage and I'm sure some rain water too, but for the most part rainwater flows to the ocean by rivers or seeps into the ground to replenish the aquifer.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:58 PM   #12
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


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That explains it all, sounds like the rain water is as dirty as the sewage water. Here we treat the sewage and I'm sure some rain water too, but for the most part rainwater flows to the ocean by rivers or seeps into the ground to replenish the aquifer.
In our town, actually right out in front of my house they just separated the rain water and sewage into two separate lines, they've been doing it all around Illinois for years, but I think it's more about flooding.




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Old 03-03-2009, 01:01 PM   #13
 
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


...then move to live in Louisana or Florida.... where everything will be dumped into the Sea... renew & refreshed?.. j/k
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:07 PM   #14
 
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


Morton Grove uses Illinois Plumbing code making combination pit illegal. As a home inspector Im not sure of any course of action that you can take, just let your customers know verbally
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Old 03-22-2009, 09:50 PM   #15
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


Mickeyco, many years ago, I worked for that village when they were required to separate their stormwater from the sewage pipes. We even smoke tested the sewer lines for illegal connections with the roof drains and sump pumps etc. The ILL EPA made them do this because the combined sewers would back up into the homeowners basements. I believe it was called "on site retention" by some of the smartalecks.Anyway, if Morton Grove has separated sewers then this connection would probably be illegal to the ILL EPA.

How is it different between a septic field and a combined drainline/sewage pit? Well, a septic field has some regulations for inspection/perc/etc. I can't imagine how it would be considered a good idea to allow homeowners to spill whatever they want (paint,oil,chemicals) into their toilets and let it seep into the ground surrounding that pit.

I think that the original poster is on the ball to catch such a connection regardless if it is code or not. How many home inspectors would go to all the trouble to even look? I wish my home inspector had been that thoroughall. Keep up the good work.

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Old 03-23-2009, 09:06 AM   #16
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


To those of you who made constructive comments, thanks, I very much appreciate your time and knowledge.

------------

For those of you who concluded that showing up here and asking the question is prima fascia evidence I must be a hack:

This discussion the is a pretty good illustration of the difficulties of my job: I have to inspect in around 80 communities subject to a patchwork of federal state and local jurisdictions, and to technical standards which are often uncertain - for example the experienced contributors here don't entirely agree on whether cross connection of the drain tile and sewage systems is a significant problem.

It also reflects a common misunderstanding of the nature of my job: I'm not a code inspector (though I try to understand building codes, and determine which apply to the best of my ability), my job is to protect my clients from being blindsided by unexpected expenses or subjected to significant health or safety hazards.

For example, I'm not concerned about whether an outlet in the basement which obviously floods was required by code to be GFCI protected at the time it was installed - arguments about whether or not such outlet was grandfathered in are going to be a of little comfort to the surviving spouse when someone goes down there and reaches for the pull chain out of defective light switch during a storm. In my report I'll note that recent versions of the NEC require such outlets to be GFCI protected in unfinished areas of the basement, but also that in my opinion common sense requires that we can see evidence of frequent flooding their they ought to be protected irrespective of whether protection was in was required by the NEC when they were installed.

Similarly, when I observed this cross connection between sewerage and drain tile systems in a sump, two basic questions presented themselves: 1) Is this arrangement compliant with current requirements, and if not is my client potentially on the hook for the cost have this corrected and 2) Is this a significant health or safety hazard, or even a potential hazard of which a reasonable client should expect me to advise them?

I was able to answer 1) with a call to Morton Grove's director of community development: he pulled the card on the property, the work had been permitted, and while currently non-compliant this arrangement was grandfathered in - at least at the moment my client is not faced with compliance costs.

As the discussion above demonstrates however, the answer to (2) is not so straightforward.

Noted above are such possibilities as contamination of the sump with toxic materials flush down a toilet or poured down a sink and the reality that improper plumbing may result in waste running into a dewatering sump via the vent - these kinds of problems make it clear that a connection between the two systems is not a desirable arrangement, which is why it is increasingly prohibited.

The question then becomes, how do I explain this to my customer? On the one hand, I don't want to be alarmist, on the other hand I don't want to be paying to separate these systems when the plumber comes in and tells the homeowner that their "hack home inspector" was such an idiot he didn't even know they should not share a common sump.

And while deciding how I should answer that question, keep in mind that I have to put my opinion in writing, give my reasons, and I'm legally responsible for their accuracy and reasonableness for five years - and that I don't have the luxury of just not saying anything, because I'm also legally responsible for the failure to point out potential defects which may adversely affect my clients.

Now look back over the advice you've given customers in the last month: how much of that advice would have have been different, or more carefully phrased, if you were required as a condition of your license to put in writing, and stand by it for five years.

Based on what my clients are told, a lot of it would be very different.

I know that's a fact, because for example when the electrician says "You don't need install a GFCI in the garage because outlet is grandfathered in", and my client says "How come his advice is different than yours", and I say "Ask him to put his opinion that an unprotected outlet in this location is reasonably safe in writing, on his letterhead , along with the name of his insurance carrier and the policy number, like I did", that the electrician is not going to do it, because he or she understands perfectly well that it's not as safe as if GFCI protection was provided at that location.

Now, note that I can only give my opinion, I have absolutely no enforcement authority of any kind. Likely, the buyer may never install a GFCI outlet there, and likely no one will be injured and killed because of it.

But I've also had several experiences like this one at recent inspection: I was observing a group of four tall fixed pane windows that started about 18 inches off the floor in a corner adjacent to a sliding sliding exterior door. This is not a location were tempered glass as required by code, but in my opinion it was a location that "common sense" tells us should be "safety glazed", and I made a note to myself to report it as such, knowing in advance that this was going to be one of those report items likely to upset both real estate agents and the seller.

As I was checking the window seals I noticed that one pane had apparently been reglazed - I was thinking "blown seal", and that matters because in my experience when one seal fails within the first few years of installation, there's a good chance other seals will fail in the near future, and if there is a transferable warranty on the windows I need to advise my client to take any steps needed to keep the warranty in force.

However, as it happened the property owner - an elderly woman - was standing there, I and I was able to ask her why it had been reglazed.

"The floor was wet because we left the door open, and my husband slipped and fell through the window ".

Or, the time that I pointed out that the door to a laundry chute and upstairs hallway was unsecured and thus a hazard to children, a point I made not because I considered it a really significant hazard, but because it's on my long, long list of such issues that are reported in CYA mode.

After I lifted the lid, and pointed out that it was only about 18 inches from the floor, both buyers were visibly very upset.

I later learned from the Realtor that their three-year-old daughter strangled to death when the lid of a toy box the husband made for her had come down and trapped her.

So these days, if I suspect the presence of a possible hazard based on "common sense", I do not feel I've done my job until I've at least tried to establish the potential extent of the problem, and report it to my client.

That's the reality of my job, and why I turn up here (and many other places) asking this kind of question.

And I'm willing to bet, when you think about it, that you really, really hope that that "hack" who inspects your son or daughter's house is doing the same.
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Old 03-26-2009, 09:48 PM   #17
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


Interesting that you are legally bound for five years when an installer is only bound for 1 year for a new construction home. Whose idea was that? I could have you inspect my work and could claim they get a five year guarantee.
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:01 PM   #18
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


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Interesting that you are legally bound for five years when an installer is only bound for 1 year for a new construction home. Whose idea was that? I could have you inspect my work and could claim they get a five year guarantee.
I wish a few of you guys would not jump to conclusions so quickly about whether someone asking a concerned question is a hack or not. The truth would air out within a matter of a few posts.

As it turns out, I have read many very cognizant posts from the OP on many other forums and have garnered a sincere respect for many home inspectors who, within a matter of an approximate 2 hour inspection, are to determine many potential adverse conditions that both the buying and selling parties need to be made aware of.

Also, the period of time that an ispector is liable for seems ridiculously absurd to me.

I know that if I do an FHA Roof Inspection, stating that the roof seems to have a minimum life expectancy of at least either 2 or 5 years, depending upon which form is being used, I may be on the hook for someone elses shoddy, yet hidden workmanship.

That actually did occur one time, 3 years after a former estimator of mine provided such an inspection. I could have been on the hook for 6-8 thousand dollors or more, all from what was at that time, only a $125.00 inspection fee.

Welcome to this forum Michael.

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Old 03-27-2009, 01:55 AM   #19
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


In my subdivision houses with finished basements have there sub pumps tied into the sewer line. So there able to pump that water into the sewer line under the street. However this is no longer allowed by code. So there all grandfathered in. Which is pretty cool if you think about it. Because your not having to discharge the water on your property some where. But at the same time you can have a mess on your hands if the sewer line in your front yard gets clogged with roots. My neighbor had that happened and my plumber told me he had terds and everything floating in his basement when then sewer line in his front yard got blocked with roots.. I have a crawl space no sub pump.
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Old 03-27-2009, 02:13 PM   #20
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Re: Shared Sump (Dewatering) And Sewerage Ejector Pump


Just to be clear, what I'm legally responsible for is the accuracy and completeness of my inspection report on the properties condition as of the time of inspection - I'm not required to guarantee or warranty future performance unless I specifically choose to do so.

-------------

"Contractors and home inspectors"

As a contractor, when evaluating a home inspectors work you need to keep in mind that generally their clients often have a different set of concerns and priorities of those of the typical contractor's customers.

- Frequently, a contractor's customers will perceive their interest as laying in keeping older equipment operating as long as possible - the purchase price of equipment is a sunk cost, and extending its life (operating efficiency aside) improves their return on their investment.

- My clients, on the other hand, are usually much less interested in knowing if the equipment's life can be extended at the moment than knowing how likely it is that they will be faced with a major expense in the next few years.

It's the difference between the mechanic saying "Fan belts frayed, but I can replace it and you can drive it right on out" and the customer asking "will it run another 10,000 miles without more repairs?".

- A contractor often as the time has the time and equipment to perform a much more exhaustive examination and testing and of equipment than I do.

For me a furnace (for example) is one many components I must rapidly evaluate the course of a home inspection, typically I can spend about 10-15 minutes on the inspection of a furnace, and that includes gas lines and venting as well is the furnace itself.

A competent HVAC contractor could easily spend that much time on carefully inspection of the burner area and heat exchanger alone, and will have the time to employ tools such as combustion analyzers to evaluate the safety and efficiency of the furnace with far more accuracy than I can.

- The HVAC contractor's legal liability for their opinion and advice is tied to a much shorter time period than my own, and they are generally not legally required to provide their opinion in writing.

For example. most furnace manufacturers recommend yearly cleaning and inspection, if the heat exchanger fails four years after the last time it was inspected and the surviving spouse hauls an HVAC contractor into court, the contractor can say "I carefully inspected the heat exchanger four years ago, when it failed it had not been inspected for three times the manufacturers recommended time between inspections".

They have a an objective basis for a defense grounded in the fact that the homeowner has not properly maintained the equipment.

OTOH, if I was to report that "this furnace is 20 years old, but with regular maintenance who knows... it could run for 30 " my statement would certainly be technically correct but the surviving spouse's attorney could point out accurately that I'm responsible for the accuracy of my opinion for five years after the date of inspection, and that that my opinion as stated could certainly lead a reasonable person to suppose that the furnace would operate safely for a considerable period.

So, there's a vast difference between our positions: I actually have a much greater liability exposure, and I must accept it on the basis of a much less thorough investigation than the HVAC contractor, so I have to be very careful how report what I see, and sometimes it seems to a contractor that I should have seen more than I did, when in fact I either saw it, suspected it, or knew that I could not see it even if it was there, and reported the limitation.

For example, how how do I report a 20 year old furnace in a manner that is both useful to my client and does not leave me exposed to liability for items I cannot reasonably be expected to evaluate during the time available for a home inspection?

For a start , the "limitations" section of my report for HVAC equipment states:

This inspection is based upon visual observations and not meant to be technically exhaustive. There are a number of important aspects of your heating systems condition and operation that this inspection cannot reveal: 1) I cannot determine the remaining service life of heating equipment by visual inspections....I make every attempt to discover defects in heating system(s) consistent with the scope of our contract, however for a complete evaluation of the system and an opinion concerning continued performance the opinion of a licensed HVAC specialist is always recommended. Do not depend on this report to determine repair requirements; consult a licensed HVAC contractor for repairs and itemized estimates. Based on their more extensive investigation an HVAC contractor may identify additional items not noted in this report that require repair, replacement, or installation. These opinions and estimates should be based upon his/her actual inspection and service, not just the specific deficiencies listed in this report.

Furthermore, absent evidence of recent service the report will state that:

Observation: I was not able to establish when this furnace was last serviced.

Analysis: Most furnace manufacturers recommend cleaning, inspection, and required maintenance of a furnace prior to the start of each heating season. Failure to perform the required service can reduce the efficiency of the furnace, short its operating life, and allow dangerous defects to remain undetected.

Recommendation: If the seller cannot demonstrate that the required inspection and service has been performed according to the manufacture's recommended schedule, have all required service performed prior to the expiration of your inspection contingency to determine the furnaces condition, any if repairs are required, and if so their cost.]

If you intend to obtain a ""homeowners warranty" to cover this equipment, check with the warranty vendor to determine what type of inspection, and by whom, is required to ensure that the insurance remains in force, and had this inspection performed prior to expiration of the inspection contingency.


That's for a furnace which appears in good condition upon visual inspection, if there are visually apparent defects or evidence of operating defects that fall within the scope of the inspection, those of course would be reported, along with appropriate recommendations for the diagnosis and repair by competent person.

However, I'm still left with the problem of how to report a properly functioning furnace which nevertheless appears to be at, near, or beyond the end of its average operating life.

The presences of such a furnace (assuming it appears to be operating properly) is not a "defect", but it's certainly something most clients could reasonably expect me to bring to their attention, and failure to do so means that if the furnace fails within five years of the inspection I'd quite likely be buying the new one.

In order to appropriately report this observation (assuming that there is no visual evidence of impending failure) I need to do two things: 1) I need to establish some objective basis for average operating life 2) and I need to make the implications of the presence of such a furnace clear to my clients.

The way I address these requirements is report an older furnace as an FYI item, in the FYI section of the report, generally it will be reported something like this:

Observation: Based on the serial number, it appears to me that this furnace was manufactured 24 years ago.

Analysis: According to a study by the national Association of Home Builders the average operating life of the gas forced air furnace is 18 years. The exact operating life of a particular furnace often cannot be predicted from its present condition - I have observed gas furnaces more than 30 years old which are still operating properly, and I have observed gas furnaces which are replaced by their frustrated owners only a few years after installation after repeated failures. I cannot predict when this furnace will fail, however other factors being equal, the older the furnace, the more likely it will fail. Also, this furnace is considerably less efficient than its modern counterpart, and is more expensive to operate.

When a furnace fails during heating season, it often must be replaced immediately - this may not allow you time to properly research your best choices, or to locate and evaluate contractors to install the equipment

Recommendation: Consult with a qualified HVAC contractor regarding the condition, efficiency, and likely remaining operating life of this furnace. If you choose not to replace it at this time obtain a cost from the contractor for its replacement, and budget to allow for this replacement within its likely remaining life. As replacement of a furnace will be a major expense, I recommend you obtain this information prior to the expiration of your inspection contingency.


There is also the question (which I won't go into here) of the expected life of the heat exchanger, and whether one wants to be in the position of recommending contained operation of a furnace well beyond it's expected operating life from a safety standpoint, especially given the increasing concern about the effects of chronicle low level sub-clinical CO exposure.

A couple things to note here:

- It is certainly the case that a competent HVAC technician, roofer, plumber, electrician or other tradesmen - given that each of them was spending several hours at the property - will likely identify at last some defects that I will miss .Some of that results from time on-site, some from the fact that I will never have the technical chops of a top notch tradesperson as regards their area of expertise.

- OTOH, a typical buyer does not have either the time or the inclination to schedule all the required trades , and as we all know even if they did, if they are just picking names names out of the Yellow Pages one more of the people who roll up to their door will likely be lazy, incompetent, dishonest or some combination of these, and many people won't know the difference.

Therefor the service I provide (assuming I'm competent, and care about the quality of my work) is 1) to prioritize my time so that I have the greatest likelihood of identifying and reporting defects that are significant health or safety hazards and/or are likely to incur significant expense to repair and 2) to recommend that these items be addressed on a priority basis, specify what type of specialist should address them, and report my concerns in a manner such that both my client and the specialist understand them.

Which brings me to two points contractor should keep in mind when thinking about home inspections:

1) A competent home inspector is one of your best friends. I recommend several hundred thousand dollars a year in corrective measures, and it always cracks me up when a contractor complains to a homeowner that the inspector missed X,Y or Z when the fact of the inspector found A,B, and C is the reason the contractor is standing there while the homeowner writes them a check.

2) Much of the time, the home inspector probably suspected X, Y and Z, but investigating the possibility was beyond the scope of the inspection, so they listed A, B and C in the report, and said something like:

Observation: "Energized knob and tube wiring was observed in the attic.

Analysis: In my experience when even short links of such wiring is observed in attic or basement, it is possible that more extensive knob and tube wiring remains hidden in walls and supplying power to receptacles, lights and similar devices. Rewiring of such circuits can be a difficult and expensive process. In some cases such rewiring may be required by insurance companies before they will write insurance policies on the property and/or may be required by local code authorities when other portions of electrical system are updated".

Recommendation: Prior to the expiration of your inspection contingency, have the wiring in this property fully evaluated by qualified licensed and insured electrician, and obtain quotes from the required work.


If I had time, I would love to start pulling switchplates throughout the property to determine if there's live K&T present at light switches, but that's just not feasible within the time frame of the typical home inspection.

So, I'm calling for an electrician to do it - as I should, to protect my client.

I just handed you work - likely, you are charging more for your time than I am - and I have to wonder about the guy who turns around after he spent several hours crawling around the attic in the basement and says "Your home inspector was a real hack, he didn't discover these wires hidden in the insulation and running down to the second-floor bathroom ".

Dude, the fact that I caught the 3' feet of exposed knob and tube in the basement hidden up above the access to the crawlspace is the reason you are there.

This extends to a lot of other things as well, if I spot two or three obvious defects at the service equipment, or the plumbing under a bathroom appears to been installed by the three kludges on a weekend bender, or the the portion of the roof that I accessed had under-driven nails and cracking shingles, at that point I know there's no point in going further, the electrician, or the plumber, or the roofer or whoever is going to have to spend the time to evaluate the system in detail in order to tell my customer what's wrong and what it's going to cost to fix it - I report the defects I've seen, and that in my experience that when I can readily see them there likely to be others, and I've done my job - which is to get you there to do yours.

Now, a certain number of home inspectors are hacks, and they drive the competent home inspectors just as crazy as they drive everyone else - or more so.

Worse, real estate agents often love em' because they are not "deal killers", and they tend to work fast,they can work cheap, and the client may not know an inferior inspection from a good one - if you are a really bad plumber your plumbing leaks, but if you are a really bad home inspector your client may not know it for months or years, if ever. And even the best of us do miss significant defects - if you are going through three-story 120 year old house in three and half hours you can miss broken rafter in the attic - literally - because you blinked because there was dust in your eyes.

But the best home inspectors IMO to are doing a remarkably good job of identifying significant defects given the conditions under which they work.

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__________________
Michael Thomas
Paragon Property Services, Chicago IL
http://paragoninspects.com

Last edited by Michael Thomas; 03-27-2009 at 02:21 PM.
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