Buyers burned by furnace defect

Was inspector negligent in overlooking crack?

DEAR BARRY: We bought our home about six months ago. According to our home inspector, the furnace was in "satisfactory" condition, but he added that it was old and might soon need replacement. His only advice was to have it cleaned and serviced by a heating contractor before winter.

After buying the home, we took his advice and called a local heating company to service the system. To our surprise, the contractor found a major crack in the heat exchanger, readily visible when the cover panel was removed from the front of the furnace.

We called our inspector to report that he had missed a major defect during his inspection. He refused any responsibility for the crack, explaining that home inspectors do not inspect heat exchangers. He insisted that he had warned us that the furnace was old and might need to be replaced. What do you think of this response? –Mark