DAK Home Inspections, Inc. - Heating & Cooling Inspections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mechanical systems of the house are comprised of Heating, Plumbing, Electrical and Air Conditioning. These systems are designed to provide a comfortable and safe living environment. Each system has several components and there are many types of each system. DAK Home Inspections, Inc. will use their abilities and experience to evaluate the safe operating condition of each system and component and report any defects discovered. The mechanical systems cover the entire house and exterior parts. The inspector's unique training, abilities and experience will separate him in these areas from un-trained or inexperienced inspectors.

 

 

Structural     Exteriors     Roofs     Plumbing     Electrical     Heating & Cooling     Interiors

 

 

Mechanical Systems

 

HVAC System                   HVAC Systems

A heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) home inspection reviews the heating and cooling system of a home from a performance perspective. Heating is provided typically by a forced air furnace distributed by duct work or a water/steam boiler using radiators or convectors, but space heaters, heat pumps and other methods are also in use. The energy source is usually natural gas, fuel oil, or electric, but other sources include wood and Geo-thermal. Cooling can be described as a split system, packaged unit, fan coil, heat pump, an evaporative cooler, or window/through-the-wall a/c unit.

A typical inspection will carry out a visual observation and operation of the HVAC system. The inspection will consider visible and readily accessible components, while noting recognized adverse and material defects present at the time of inspection. The inspection does not usually disassemble the equipment. The home inspection report may include a description of the system by its key components. Ideally the inspection intends to reduce risk for the buyer by reporting observed material defects. A defect may be a repair, maintenance or improvement consideration with or without a safety association. An optional statement on perceived useful remaining life may be provided.

 

Hydronic Heating - Hot Water

 

Boiler Furnace

A hydronic heating system, typically referred to as a hot water or steam system, is one that uses water or steam as a medium of transporting heat from the heating unit. The heating unit itself is called a boiler because it heats or boils water in a vessel made out of cast iron or steel. The heated water is then distributed through the desired areas of the dwelling to create an even temperature throughout. The desired temperature is controlled by the thermostat. The boiler goes on and off automatically to keep the water temperature within it to a range which enables the maximum benefit of the system. Almost all hydronic systems in operation today use either gas or oil for fuel. Most systems have significant controls for safety and efficiency. It is our job as professional inspectors to operate the system using normal controls to expose defects or maintenance requirements. It is possible though not typical to find combination steam and hot water systems. These installations are usually seen in expanded older systems and can be prone to maintenance problems because of the two types of operation from the same vessel.

 

Forced Air

 

 Forced Air Furnace

The forced warm air heating system uses a fan or blower to draw air from rooms through a return air duct way. The return air is passed through a furnace where it is heated. The heated air is then pushed into the plenum and distributed via ductwork to rooms as needed. Dampers within the ductwork are opened or closed to balance the heated air into the various rooms as desired. Furnaces are commonly set up to use fuel oil, natural gas or electricity in order to supply heat. Some systems incorporate a humidifier to lessen the dryness of the air. The moisture introduced into the system, however, can cause corrosion to the metal parts. The inspector with evaluate the overall condition of the furnace and control systems. Of all the major heating systems (Steam, Hot Water, Warm Air), warm air heating systems pose the greatest hazard. When the heat exchanger of a warm air furnace is cracked or leaking it can leak carbon monoxide gas into the living area. The heat exchanger is not visible for inspection.

 

Heat Exchanger

 

Heat Exchanger

The air returning to the furnace enters the blower compartment where it is forced through the heat exchanger area. (An exploded view of a heat exchanger is shown above.) The heated air is then pushed into the plenum and distributed via ductwork to rooms as needed. Furnaces are commonly set up to use fuel oil, natural gas or electricity in order to supply heat. Some systems incorporate a humidifier to lessen the dryness of the air. The moisture introduced into the system, however, can cause corrosion to the metal parts. The inspector will evaluate the overall condition of the furnace and control systems. Of all the major heating systems (Steam, Hot Water, Warm Air), warm air heating systems pose the greatest hazard. When the heat exchanger of a warm air furnace is cracked or leaking, it can leak carbon monoxide gas into the living area. The heat exchanger is generally not visible for inspection.

 

Electric Resistance Heat

 

Electric Resistance Heat

Electrical resistance heat may be used as either a primary heating method such as, electric baseboard, electric radiant, electric furnace and electric boiler, or it is used more commonly as a back up heating source in a heat pump installation. Heat pumps are used to provide both air conditioning and heat to a home. In the heating mode, they are effective in climates where temperatures seldom go below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. When the heat pump can no longer acquire enough heat from the ambient exterior air, the auxiliary electric resistance heating elements turn on automatically to supplement the unit and supply adequate heat. The system then functions as an electric furnace. Electric resistance heating is common in areas where systems are not used for extended winter months or where electricity is economical. The inspector will pay careful attention to not only the function of the system, but the requirements of a large electrical supply to the home as it relates to the electrical system itself. This is the most common problem of systems installed in expanded homes and older homes. The electric service must be adequate for the installation of electric resistance heat.

 

Ducts

 

Ducts

In a forced warm air heating system, a fan or blower draws air from rooms through a return air duct way. The return air is passed through a furnace where it is heated. The heated air is then pushed into the plenum and distributed via ductwork to rooms as needed. Dampers within the ductwork are opened or closed to balance the heated air into the various rooms as desired. The inspector will evaluate the overall condition of the furnace and control systems.

 

 

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Mechanical Systems - Air Conditioning

 

HVAC System                   Air Conditioning Condenser

When describing air conditioning/cooling equipment, inspectors often discuss the high pressure and low pressure sides of the system. High pressure side components include the condenser coil, condenser fan and compressor (generally the outside components). Low pressure side components are the evaporator coil and metering device (generally the inside components housed in the furnace plenum).

 

Compressor

 

Air Conditioning Compressor

The compressor, sometimes called the condenser, is the most expensive and functionally important part of a complete refrigeration system. Its purpose is to circulate refrigerant through the system. The compressor motor requires 208 Volts AC to 230 Volts AC or 220 Volt AC to 240 Volt AC. The inspector will operate the system and check for proper cooling. (When the outside temperature has been below 60°F for more than a couple of hours in the previous 24 hours, the inspector will not test the system due to the possibility of damaging the compressor.) Inspecting for any defects and improper installation will be reported and recommendations made.

 

Evaporator Coil

 

 Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil is also known as an indoor coil and is constructed similarly to the condenser coil. The function of the evaporator is to absorb heat from the air before the air travels to the conditioned space. This is accomplished by running refrigerant, which has a lower temperature than the air blown over the evaporator coil, through the tubing. During an inspection, if the outside temperature has been below 60°F for more than a few hours (as in the fall and winter seasons), the air conditioning system cannot be checked. The inspector will make recommendations and advise obtaining current homeowner representation of operation of units.

 

 

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DAK Home Inspections, Inc. - AHIT Certified          National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc.          National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. - Illinois Chapter

       

David A. Kropp - President - DAK Home Inspection Services, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David A. Kropp

President

 

Email:

dakhomeinspections

@gmail.com

 

Toll Free Phone:

877-788-1259

 

Fax:

847-788-1258

 

 

Hours:

Monday - Friday

 8:30 am to 6:00 pm

Saturday

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Sunday

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DAK Home Inspections, Inc.

DAK Home Inspections, Inc.

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