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Home inspection fee was a waste

Buyers furious after spending $900 to fix water heater

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DEAR BARRY: We just closed escrow on a home, and the day we moved in we found a flooded basement because the water heater had failed. But four weeks ago, our home inspector said the water heater would be good for many more years. Our plumber disagreed. He said the fixture was 10 years old, was rusted at the bottom, and was well past its normal lifespan. We paid our inspector $450 to let us know what was wrong with the house and then had to spend twice as much for repairs on moving day. Is our home inspector liable for this mistake? --Faith DEAR FAITH: A home inspector who predicts that a water heater will be good for many years is clearly liable if the fixture fails soon after the inspection. Experienced home inspectors know better than to make such predictions. Home inspectors routinely determine the age of a water heater by reading the serial number on the label. This was probably how your plumber made that determination. If your home inspector had done the same, he would...