DEAR BARRY: We purchased a townhouse about five months ago, and now we have major problems with the heating and cooling equipment. Our contractor said the furnace needs to be replaced, and we also need a new motor in the swamp cooler. Our home inspector never operated the furnace or the cooler during the inspection, and his report has only one comment about these systems. It simply says, "Info needed." Besides this, he missed two plumbing problems. The toilet needs to be flushed three times to completely get rid of solids, and we sometimes smell sewer gas in the bathrooms. Is our home inspector liable for these undisclosed problems? --Linsay DEAR LINSAY: It is unusual and surprising when a home inspector does not operate a heating and cooling system. Testing of this equipment is standard procedure in the course of a home inspection. More surprising, however, is your home inspector's very limited comment on the subject. His written report, as well as his oral rev...
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