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Rookie home inspector gets schooled in furnace liability

Simple advice can prevent future problems

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Dear Barry, I'm a new home inspector and recently inspected a home with a forced-air heating system. In my report, I recommended that the air ducts be cleaned as a standard maintenance procedure. After my clients bought the home, the duct cleaning company reported that the interior membrane in the main duct was damaged, exposing fiberglass insulation. The buyer believes I was negligent and invited me back for a second look. If you peer carefully through the grill, it is possible to see the pink insulation. But the interior surfaces of ducts are not within the scope of a home inspection. How would you handle this situation? --Wes Dear Wes, The interior surfaces of air ducts are arguably not within the scope of a home inspection. However, a home inspector should also consider whether a particular defect was visible and accessible at the time of the inspection. If it was, it is a wise business practice to take responsibility for the omission. In the long run, it is a good way to build a s...