Buyers hit with $1,000-plus furnace repair

Defect was 'clearly visible,' so why is inspector denying liability?

The real estate event of the summer
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DEAR BARRY: We purchased our home about six months ago. It is only five years old, but the heater just failed. The heating contractor found a crack in the heat exchanger. The cost to us for parts not covered by the warranty will be more than $1,000. Our home inspector says the heat exchanger is not covered in a home inspection. The crack is plainly visible and could have been seen by our inspector if he had taken the time to look. Is it fair that he should not be liable for this omission? --Bill DEAR BILL: Home inspection contracts typically list heat exchangers as outside the scope of a home inspection. Likewise, industry standards, as defined by state and national associations, define heat exchangers as outside the scope. The reason for this disclaimer is that most heat exchangers are partially or totally inaccessible and cannot be inspected without dismantling the furnace. This escape clause has led many home inspectors to overlook visible defects that could have been ...