We all know that buying and selling a home can be overwhelming with all of the inspections that are involved but your home inspection is the most important part of your purchase experience. A reputable home inspector will look over the house top to bottom to determine any current or possible future issues with the home you are hoping to buy, but there are a few things that most inspectors will hire a third party as a specialist and one of those things is a gas inspection. And if you are looking for a reputable home inspector, give us a call. We have a long list of great inspectors we can refer you to.
When we perform a gas inspection there are essentially 3 things we are looking for in all gas appliances: Safety, Operation, and Code Compliance.
Safety is the main goal for us so you as a homeowner can have the peace of mind that you and your family can live safely in your new home without worry or concern. Furnaces and gas lines are the biggest focuses of this because they are what can present the most danger if something were to go wrong. This is where our expertise as a heating and cooling company comes into play. When we inspect a furnace for safety we are thoroughly inspecting it to make sure the flue is venting properly, the burners are burning properly, and perform a combustion analysis on the furnace. The combustion analyzer tests the flue gas to give us an overall look inside the furnace. With this test we can tell you if there could be any potential issues (cracks, holes, etc) in the heat exchanger, how well the burners are running, and even exactly what the efficiency output of the furnace is. Water heaters, gas logs sets, dryers, and all other gas appliances are tested with the same attention so you can have an overall view of the home's appliances.
Gas leaks, believe it or not, are not that uncommon to find in older homes. To determine if the fuel lines in a home have leaks we perform a test by turning off all gas appliances, connecting a gauge to the gas lines and pressurizing them. We then allow the gauge to sit for 5 minutes. Any drop in pressure is an indication of a leak. Gas leaks are usually created by old pipe sealant that has become hardened. Since most gas lines are secured to the floor joists in the basement the vibration over the years will cause the sealant to fall out of the joints and therefore causing leaks. Gas leaks are not always apparent by smell. The pressure of the gas in the house is extremely low so it is possible to have a leak for years and never smell it.
When we perform a gas inspection we are testing all gas appliances to make sure they are operating to manufacturer's standards. This is different than just saying "They are working". For instance, your water heater can be heating the water but how efficiently is it getting the job done. If there is carbon buildup on the burner it can cause the burner to not burn as hot which can make it run longer to heat that tank of water up therefore causing an increase in your gas bill. It's not uncommon for us to find something as simple as the middle burner on the stove that will not light. These are all things that are looked at on a typical gas inspection.
Code compliance is one of those things that you as a home buyer may not realize how important it can be. Too often we find the previous homeowner was a "DIY'er" and without the proper knowledge of local and national codes the appliance was improperly installed/repaired. This doesn't necessarily mean that it will not operate properly but codes are in place to ensure proper workmanship and safety. Sometimes these code violations will be ignored during a home sale but keep in mind that if the code issue doesn't get repaired by the seller of the home you are looking to purchase it may fall back on you to make those repairs if/when you sell the home to the next occupant.
This was just a quick glance at what we do during a gas inspection. There is much more involved than what was described in this article. With that being said I urge you, the next time you have a gas inspection done, to follow the inspector around and ask questions. Our technicians are always happy to educate our clients. To schedule a gas inspection with us you can call us at (636)332-0066 or click here to schedule online.