AC in Winter

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AC in Winter

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Joe Funderburk

Alpha & Omega Home Inspections, LLC
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Posted: Dec 22, 2005 1:19 AM       Post Subject:
What's the recommended standard language for disclaiming AC units in winter?

Thanks.
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Roy Cooke

Roys Home Inspection
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Posted: Dec 22, 2005 5:07 AM       Post Subject:
jfunderburk wrote:
What's the recommended standard language for disclaiming AC units in winter?

Thanks.

I just put to cold to operate.
Roy sr

Most manufactures recommend outside temp is 65 Degrees to operate A/C
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Jae Williams

Home Sweet Home Inspections
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User: jwilliams4
Posted: Dec 22, 2005 8:07 AM       Post Subject:
In cold weather it is not advisable to operate the air conditioning system in temperatures lower than 60 degrees. If the air conditioner was not tested I recommend obtaining proof of service and maintenance within the past 12 months prior to closing of escrow.
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Jae Williams

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Posted: Dec 22, 2005 8:09 AM       Post Subject:
...and in the summer...

** In hot weather it is not advisable to operate a heat pump if the temperature is over 75 degrees. If the air conditioning side of the pump is operative then the heat side probably is also. However, if the heat pump has not been tested I recommend obtaining proof of maintenance service within the past 12 months from the seller or have the system evaluated by a competent serviceman before closing of escrow.
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David Andersen

David A. Andersen & Associates
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Posted: Dec 22, 2005 8:50 AM       Post Subject:
Quote:
If the air conditioning side of the pump is operative then the heat side probably is also.


Jay,

I highly respect your knowledge in the HVAC field, however I would be a little reluctant to use this statement in this world of frivolous litigation!

As you are quite aware (but I'll post for others) a heat pump is a very sophisticated piece of equipment with many electrical and moving parts (more so in the heat mode than in the air-conditioning mode). I'm from an area where heat pumps are used exclusively in the county(natural gas service is generally restricted to within the city limits). The majority of the problems that occur with a heat pump are in the winter mode due to defrost sensors, circuit boards and reversing valves. There is also an auxiliary resistance heater bank or two.

See where I am coming from coming from?
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Jae Williams

Home Sweet Home Inspections
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User: jwilliams4
Posted: Dec 22, 2005 9:32 AM       Post Subject:
Dave, I understand what your saying, but you'll notice the phrase

have the system evaluated by a competent serviceman before closing of escrow.

Also included in the report:

Recommend obtaining from seller well before close of escrow any documents concerning regular maintenance and service and/or a safety check by public utility, or a complete system evaluation by a qualified heating specialist,

and/or

Recommend obtaining from seller well before close of escrow any documents concerning regular maintenance and service and/or a safety check, or a complete system evaluation by a qualified air conditioning specialist.

This way I don't have to expose myself to possibly damaging the

equipment under severe conditions because I turn that liability over to the

HVAC of their own choosing.

And BTW, it's not JAY, it's JAE--old oriental spelling for

cuter than the dickens. icon_smile.gif icon_smile.gif
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Joe Funderburk

Alpha & Omega Home Inspections, LLC
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User: jfunderburk
Posted: Dec 22, 2005 2:37 PM       Post Subject:
Regard the advice that a contractor evaluate any system that we can't test for weather related reasons, can an HVAC contractor evaulate the AC in low temperatures? Or can he test the heat pump in heat mode in August???

Seems they would have same limitations as home inspectors in trying not to damage the system.
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Jae Williams

Home Sweet Home Inspections
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Posted: Dec 22, 2005 4:51 PM       Post Subject:
In very few instances it can be done, but mainly I'm reporting that I can

not do it now, the CLIENT should ask the seller for evidence of recent

service and make a decision based on that. If there has been no service

recently, the buyer would know he will have to bridge that cross when the

time comes.
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Jay Moge
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Posted: Dec 22, 2005 8:12 PM       Post Subject:

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jwilliams4 wrote:


And BTW, it's not JAY, it's JAE--old oriental spelling for

cuter than the dickens. icon_smile.gif icon_smile.gif


Hay Jae, i totaly agree and let me add that it's a fact that "dickens" are realy ugly. but they make good cyder. (put the 2 together) icon_lol.gif icon_cool.gif icon_wink.gif
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David Andersen

David A. Andersen & Associates
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Posted: Dec 23, 2005 10:11 AM       Post Subject:
Jae (I trained my voice recognition program just for you!) icon_biggrin.gif ,

I agree with everything you're saying and I wholeheartedly endorse the additional comments you place in your report, that's an excellent approach, similar to what has evolved over time in my reports as well.

When I was reading your post, that particular sentence just seemed to pop out at me. I often have those thoughts in my head while inspecting.
Quote:
"Do I really have to run that heat pump in the heat mode? Do I really have to operate the equipment through the thermostat when I can jump it out from the outside? Yes, you better. You never know!"


It is safe to say that if the air conditioner works, the heat pump will also work when pertaining to the compressor/refrigeration system. A client/lawyer may not pick up on the point that some components of the heating system were not evaluated. I was just making a point of perspective on that particular sentence. When reading your entire report, you're recommending additional inspection and evaluation will cover your initial statement that the heat will likely work, but under scrutiny a lawyer may not put all the sentences together. They may just read that one line (like I did). I often make slight modifications to my reports when I get struck by the "observation bug ". I just wanted to point out my interpretation when I read your sentence. It is an assumptive statement. I get scared when I make assumptions. I think I'm a little gun shy this year! icon_rolleyes.gif

Joe,

An HVAC contractor can evaluate the heat pump in adverse weather conditions by temporarily modifying the system operation by controlling the outdoor fan as not to absorb too much heat in the summertime. Shutting down the outdoor fan in the heating mode during the wintertime to test defrost control components, accelerates the time required and/or creates a frozen coil necessary to test the circuits when the weather conditions are not conducive under normal operation. Controlling the outdoor fan to test air-conditioning in the wintertime raises the head pressure which also raises the back pressure providing pressure readings similar to a 95? day.

These procedure should be left to the HVAC contractor who may use them to provide a diagnosis for a potential problem. It is not recommended to operate/modify the equipment under certain weather conditions as potential damage can occur to the equipment. However the HVAC contractor is better left to handle the situation as it is within the scope of their standard. Performing procedures which may damage equipment which is already damaged his little more acceptable than damaging equipment that worked perfectly fine during last use.

Testing the auxiliary heat by placing the thermostat in the EM/Aux position is not a procedure which may damage the equipment, and is often not performed during the summer months, but could be.


There are other things that can be visually inspected in adverse winter conditions. I always pull the covers off to evaluate installation procedures or damaged components such as overheated connections etc.. I found two HVAC units last week (outdoor air 17?) and one this week that had no refrigerant in them. I didn't have to run this equipment to make this determination. So there are things that can be inspected off-season. Even if I do run the equipment during the off-season I always note in the report that due to weather conditions, a complete evaluation of the equipment efficiency cannot be performed without the unit being under an adequate load and that the equipment should be further tested in the coming summer months. Biannual maintenance/inspection should be conducted on HVAC equipment anyway in this evaluation can be performed at that time.


By the way, the majority of HVAC contractors will also decline to "inspect" air conditioners in winter seasons unless the equipment is already damaged and not functioning for some reason.

I commend your attempts to provide a more complete inspection, however some things should be left uninspected under certain circumstances. Noting the reasons in your report why you do not inspect some particular component is sufficient to protect you from litigation for any potential defect that may occur at a later time. Ask Joe Esquire.
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Joe Funderburk

Alpha & Omega Home Inspections, LLC
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Posted: Dec 23, 2005 11:54 AM       Post Subject:
Thanks to all.

This is what my report discloses, along with a statement similar to Jae's.

"In order to prevent damage to unit(s), heat pumps are not tested in heat mode on warm days nor are they tested in AC mode when outdoor temperatures is below 60 F?they are therefore excluded from this inspection when not tested. However, by design, if a heat pump operates adequately in one mode, it should work in the other mode. In order to prevent damage to unit(s), air conditioners are not tested in AC mode when outdoor temperatures are below 60 F ?they are therefore excluded from this inspection when not tested."
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Jae Williams

Home Sweet Home Inspections
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User: jwilliams4
Posted: Dec 23, 2005 2:56 PM       Post Subject:
Jay Moge,

I had a "dickens" when I was but a small children, and I thought it
was rather attactive.

I never thought about making cider out of it--though I did once use
as a hairpiece.

icon_biggrin.gif icon_biggrin.gif
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Jay Moge
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Posted: Dec 23, 2005 3:54 PM       Post Subject:

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now your showing your age Jae, cuz ya lost me. i don't think i know what your dickens are, i was desperatly searching for a laugh about "dickens' cyder" (say it 3 times fast.............) i still giggle every time i do. icon_cool.gif icon_wink.gif
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