After the exterior inspection of the property is complete, your home inspector will then evaluate the interior components. During the interior assessment, the home inspector will assess the heating and cooling system, plumbing, electrical, fireplace if applicable, attic, insulation and ventilation, doors, windows and interior finishes such as stairs, handrails and garage doors.
Below is a list of inspection items typically included and excluded in the interior portion of the home inspection, according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (INACHI).
Heating and Cooling:
During the inspection, the home inspector will locate the thermostat and turn on both the heating and the cooling components of the HVAC system to determine if both are operational. The inspector is not required to determine if the size of the equipment is correct for the home, the air flow is sufficient, inspect portable window units, evaluate cooling fluid levels or if the unit is leaking coolant, inspect humidifiers, electronic air filters and solar or geothermal systems.
The main water supply shut off valve will be located and tested to ensure that it is operational. The inspector will also note if your water supply is private or public. Included in this portion of the inspection are evaluations of the water heater and ventilation, including capacity, determine if the fixtures, faucets, sinks, showers, tubs and toilets are operational and can hold water and inspect the sump pump if applicable. During this inspection, the home inspector will not light pilot lights, will not certify the lifespan of the equipment, water quality, and inspect water softeners, water filtration systems and washing machines.
The main electrical components of the home will be inspected. This includes the electrical meter and base, the main disconnect, all circuit breakers and fuses, the service grounding, the number of switches, fixtures and receptacles will be noted on the report, the ground-fault circuit interrupter receptacles will be tested with a GCFI tester and all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors will be located. Home inspectors are not required to test the smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, however if you request this during your initial conversation, most will add this to their checklist.
If the home has a gas or wood burning fireplace, this will be described as well as location in the inspection report. During the evaluation, the inspector will inspect the lintels above the opening of the fireplace and the damper and cleanout doors and frame. They are not required to assess the flue or ventilation system, discuss the need for a chimney sweep, light any pilot lights or perform a smoke test.
Attic, Insulation and Ventilation:
In any unfinished portion of the home, the inspector will evaluate the type and depth of the insulation, determine the type and location of ventilation in attics and crawlspaces, and inspect the exhaust systems in the kitchen, laundry area and bathrooms. During this portion of the inspection, they will not move or touch the insulation or any vapor retarders, determine the R Value of the insulation and will not inspect any insulation material around water heaters, pipes, HVAC ducts or wiring.
Doors, Windows and Interior:
The inspector will include the number of interior doors in the inspection report and test each door and window by opening and closing them to determine if they are operational. They will also inspect the stairs, stairways, ramps, handrails and landing as well as operate the garage doors using the openers to ensure they are also operational. The inspector is not required to inspect paint, wallpaper, window treatments, shades, shutters or blinds, flooring, a central vacuum system if installed, security systems, appliances and they will not move any furniture or rugs.
The above items are based off the checklist from the INACHI. Most home inspectors may add some items as part of their standard inspection. Make sure to discuss with your home inspector what is and is not included in the home inspection, if items can be added and if so, if there is an extra charge to do so. Having an unbiased, professional home inspector to come and evaluate a home you are interested in purchasing is a great way to have a check-up. Communication with the inspector will ensure all of your expectations are met and getting a copy of what he or she will be inspecting, the cost and the after inspection report is another way to make certain any questions you have about the inspection and process are answered.
Author: Carolyn Dobson, QuoteMyContractor.com