DEAR BARRY: My home has continuous problems with the forced-air heating system. Each time we pay for repairs, it runs for a few days or a few weeks and then quits. One heating contractor said the system was not installed correctly because the return air opening is too small. But I spoke with the contractor who installed the system, and he insists that everything is installed properly. How can I get the original installer to acknowledge the mistake and make the system right? –Tom

DEAR TOM: In debates of this kind, the contractor has the advantage because he is an expert in his field and you are not. If he says the return air opening is large enough, who are you to argue with the expert? To get a leg up in this dispute, you need some solid evidence to support your position. For example, a copy of the manufacturer’s installation manual for the furnace, showing the required dimensions for the return air opening, would settle the argument decisively. You should contact the manufacturer by phone or online to get a copy of those specifications.

An undersized air return can cause a furnace to overheat, and this can lead to damage, failed performance and ongoing repairs. In some cases, an overheated burner chamber can crack, and this can produce deadly carbon monoxide.

Once you have proof that the furnace is not properly installed, you can insist that the installer correct the problem. On the other hand, you may not feel comfortable having someone with compromised skills and questionable reliability working on your heating system. In that case, you should insist that the installer cover your costs for repairs made by another heating contractor. Unfortunately, this will probably lead to another dispute. If that occurs, you can file a complaint with the state agency that licenses heating contractors.

DEAR BARRY: About eight months ago, a buyer made an offer to purchase my home. He hired a home inspector and then backed out of the deal. Now the property is back on the market, and I’ve got a disclosure problem. Basically, I do not want to disclose to the next buyer that a past home inspection was done. Is that OK? –Lou

DEAR LOU: Withholding a previous home inspection report is definitely not OK. Disclosure laws and common ethics demand that you conceal no information that would be of concern to a buyer. If someone were to buy your home and then learn that you had hidden a home inspection report, they could take legal action against you. At the very least, it is essential that you inform buyers of all the defects listed in that report, regardless of whether you provide a copy of the report itself.

In the world of business and real estate, liability is a prime consideration. Information that you conceal exposes you to serious consequences. If this does not convince you, then keep in mind the ethical side of the matter. Think how you would feel if a seller hid that kind of information from you.

To write to Barry Stone, please visit him on the Web at www.housedetective.com.

***

What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor. To contact the writer, click the byline at the top of the story.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription