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Texas Home Inspector Standards of Practice

THE FOLLOWING STANDARDS OF PRACTICE HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED BY THE STATE OF TEXAS AND THE TEXAS REAL ESTATE COMMISSION FOR INSPECTORS LICENSED IN TEXAS

535.229. Standards of Practice: Inspection Guidelines for Mechanical Systems: Appliances, Cooling Systems, Heating Systems, Ducts, Vents and Flues, and Plumbing Systems.

(a) Dishwasher. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) inspect the condition of the door gasket, control knobs and interior parts, including the dish tray, rollers, spray arms and the soap dispenser;

....(2) observe the interior for signs of rust;

....(3) inspect the door spring operation;

....(4) observe the discharge hose or piping for condition and presence of back flow prevention;

....(5) inspect the unit for secure mounting;

....(6) observe for presence of water leaks;

....(7) operate the unit in normal mode with the soap dispenser closed; and

....(8) inspect operation, noting that the spray arms turn, the soap dispenser opens and the drying element operates.

(b) Food waste disposer. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) inspect the condition of the splash guard, grinding components and exterior;

....(2) inspect the unit for secure mounting; and

....(3) operate the unit, observing noise and vibration level and signs of water leaks.

(c) Range exhaust vent. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) inspect the condition of the filter, vent pipe and switches;

....(2) operate the blower, observing sound, speed and vibration level;

....(3) inspect operation of the light and switches; and

....(4) observe the termination of the vent pipe to outside the structure when not of recirculating type or configuration.

....(5) report if the vent pipe is of inadequate material; and

....(6) report as a recognized hazard the absence of a vented exhaust system to the exterior of the structure when a gas range is installed in the structure.

(d) Electric or gas ranges. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) inspect for broken or missing knobs, elements, drip pans or other parts, reporting the absence of an anti-tip device as a recognized hazard;

....(2) inspect for operation of the signal lights and elements or burners at low and high settings;

....(3) observe and report materials used for the gas branch line and the connection to the appliance; and

....(4) inspect for presence, location and accessibility of gas shut-off valve and for leaks at the valve.

(e) Electric or gas ovens. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) inspect for broken or missing knobs, handles, glass panels, door hinges,lights or light covers or other parts;

....(2) inspect the door for gasket condition, tightness of closure and operation of the latch;

....(3) inspect the oven for secure mounting;

....(4) inspect the heating elements and thermostat sensing element for proper support;

....(5) observe the operation of the heating elements or the lighting, operation and condition of the flame;

....(6) inspect the operation of the clock and timer, thermostat and door springs; and

....(7) observe the accuracy of the thermostat with a thermometer for a 25 degree range plus or minus of a 350 degree setting.

(f) Microwave oven. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) inspect for broken or missing knobs, handles, glass panels, or other parts;

....(2) inspect the condition of the door and seal;

....(3) observe the oven operation by heating a container of water or with other test equipment, as reasonably determined by the inspector; and

....(4) observe the operation of the light.

(g) Trash compactor. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) inspect the overall condition of the unit;

....(2) operate the unit, observing noise and vibration level; and

....(3) check the unit for secure mounting in place.

(h) Other built-in appliances. The inspector shall inspect overall condition, operate the appliance as practicable or note otherwise in the report.

(i) Bathroom exhaust vents and electric heaters. The inspector shall operate the unit, observing sound, speed and vibration level and determining (if possible) whether the vent pipes terminate outside the structure.

(j) Whole house vacuum system. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) inspect the condition of the main unit;

....(2) operate the unit if possible; and

....(3) inspect the systems from all accessible outlets throughout the house.

(k) Water heaters. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) identify the energy source;

....(2) inspect the tank and fittings for leaks and corrosion;

....(3) observe temperature and pressure relief valve piping for gravity drainage, size of drain pipe (no smaller than the outlet fittings), material, and correct termination (which conditions are recognized hazards);

....(4) operate the temperature and pressure relief valve when of an operable type and operation will not cause damage to persons or property as reasonably determined by the inspector (for example, it would be reasonable not to operate the valve if there is improper or undetermined termination of the drain pipe, a corroded or damaged valve, improper installation of valve or drain pipe, the drain pipe is of inappropriate material or there is no water supply cut-off valve at the unit);

....(5) inspect for broken or missing parts, covers or controls;

....(6) observe the condition of burner, flame and burner compartment or verify the operation of heating elements and the condition of wiring;

....(7) observe and report materials used for the gas branch line and the connection to the appliance, and inspect presence, location and accessibility of gas shut-off valve and for leaks at the valve;

....(8) if applicable, inspect the type of vent pipe, draft diverter, draft hood and their condition, draft, proximity to combustibles and vent termination point, observing for adequate combustion and draft air;

....(9) observe for presence of safety pan and drain (including the termination of the drain line) when applicable;

....(10) observe for safe location and installation; and (11) inspect garage units or units which are located in rooms or enclosures opening into a garage for the following:

........(A) protection for physical damage to the unit; and

........(B) burners, burner ignition devices or heating elements, switches or thermostats a minimum of 18 inches above the lowest garage floor elevation, the absence of which is a recognized hazard.

(l) Doorbell and chimes. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) inspect the condition and operation of the unit; and

....(2) inspect installation of all visible and accessible parts

(m) Attic power vents. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) inspect the operation and installation of the unit, including the wiring and mounting of the thermostat control, if so equipped and accessible; and

....(2) observe the sound, speed and vibration level.

(n) Garage door operator. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) inspect the installation, condition and operation of the garage door operator;

....(2) operate the door both manually and by an installed automatic door control;

....(3) test whether the door automatically reverses during closing cycle, reporting as a recognized hazard the failure of the door to reverse automatically when tested, and that any installed electronic sensors are operable and installed at the proper heights above the garage floor ; and

....(4) observe that door locks and side ropes have been removed or disabled.

(o) Hydrotherapy or whirlpool equipment. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) observe operation;

....(2) inspect for the presence and operation of ground fault circuit interrupter;

....(3) inspect for safe location and operation of switches;

....(4) observe under the tub for evidence of leaks if the access cover is available and accessible, reporting when the cover is absent or inaccessible; and

....(5) inspect the movement of the discharge ports and the operation of air intake valves.

(p) Specific limitations for appliances. The inspector is not required to do the following:

....(1) operate or determine the condition of other auxiliary components of inspected items; or

....(2) inspect self-cleaning functions.

(q) Cooling systems other than evaporative coolers. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) identify the type of system and energy sources;

....(2) operate the system using normal control devices except when the outdoor temperature is less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit;

....(3) inspect for proper performance; such as by observing the temperature difference between the supply air and the return air or noticeable vibration of the blower fan;

....(4) observe for the presence and drainage of the condensate drain line and secondary drain line when applicable, including whether the pipes are made of adequate material;

....(5) report as a recognized hazard the termination of the primary drain pipe in a sewer vent, if the termination is visible;

....(6) observe that the safety pan is appropriately sized for the evaporator coil and free of water or debris;

....(7) report as a recognized hazard if the return chase and plenum are not free of improper and hazardous conditions, such as gas pipes, sewer vents, refrigerant piping or electrical wiring.

....(8) observe for the presence of insulation on refrigerant pipes and the primary condensate drain pipe;

....(9) inspect condensing unit for clearances, air circulation, condition of fins, location, levelness and elevation above ground surfaces;

....(10) on electric units, observe from the listing plate (if accessible and legible) the kilowatt or amperage requirements of the unit; and

....(11) determine if the conductor sizing and over-current protective devices are appropriately sized for the unit.

(r) Specific limitations for cooling systems. The inspector is not required to do the following:

....(1) inspect for the pressure of the system coolant or determine the presence of leaks;

....(2) program digital-type thermostats or controls; or

....(3) operate setback features on thermostats or controls.

(s) Heating systems. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) identify the type of heating system and its energy sources;

....(2) operate the system using normal control devices;

....(3) inspect the condition of the controls and of the accessible operating components of the system;

....(4) observe in gas units the burner, the condition of the burner compartment; the type, condition, draft and termination of the vent pipe and proximity to combustibles; the availability of combustion and draft air, observing for appropriate location, and the presence of forced air in the burner compartment (full evaluation of the integrity of a heat exchanger requires dismantling of the furnace and is beyond the scope of a visual inspection);

....(5) inspect in gas units for flame impingement, uplifting flame, improper flame color and excessive scale buildup;

....(6) inspect in gas units for proper materials used for the gas branch line and the connection to the appliance;

....(7) inspect in gas units for presence and location of gas shut-off valve and for leaks at the valve; and

....(8) verify the operability of the elements in electric furnaces;

....(9) report as a recognized hazard if the return chase and plenum are not free of improper and hazardous conditions, such as gas pipes, sewer vents, refrigerant piping or electrical wiring; and

....(10) state in the report if the inspector deemed the furnace to be inaccessible.

(t) Specific limitations for heating systems. The inspector is not required to do the following:

....(1) inspect accessories such as humidifiers, air purifiers, motorized dampers, heat reclaimers, electronic air filters or wood-burning stoves;

....(2) determine the efficiency or adequacy of a system;

....(3) program digital-type thermostats or controls; or

....(4) operate radiant heaters, steam heat systems or unvented gas-fired heating appliances.

(u) Ducts, vents (including dryer vents) and flues. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) observe the condition, such as damaged ducting or insulation, proper material and the routing of ducts where visible and accessible;

....(2) inspect for air flow at all accessible supply registers in the habitable areas of the structure (except for determining the adequacy of the balance of conditioned air);

....(3) inspect accessible duct fans and filters;

....(4) inspect for improper installation, such as gas piping, sewer vents, electrical wiring or junction boxes in the plenum, returns or chases or improper sealing, where visible;

....(5) inspect condition of flue system components;

....(6) inspect flue and vent pipes for proper termination; and

....(7) inspect for proper materials used for the venting systems.

(v) Specific limitations for ducts and vents. The inspector is not required to do the following:

....(1) determine the efficiency, adequacy or capacity of the systems;

....(2) determine the uniformity of the supply of conditioned air to the various parts of the structure;

....(3) determine the types of materials contained in insulation, wrapping of pipes, ducts, jackets, boilers and wiring;

....(4) operate venting systems unless ambient temperatures or other circumstances, in the reasonable opinion of the inspector, are conducive to safe operation without damage to the equipment; or

....(5) operate a unit outside its normal operating range as reasonably determined by the inspector.

(w) Plumbing systems. The inspector shall do the following:

....(1) inspect for the type and condition of all accessible and visible water supply and waste-water and vent pipes;

....(2) inspect and operate all fixtures and faucets where the flow end of the faucet is not connected to an appliance;

....(3) observe for the presence of back-flow devices, anti-siphon devices or systems or air gaps when applicable;

....(4) observe for material compatibility of connecting devices between differing metals in the supply system, where visible;

....(5) observe water supply by viewing functional flow in two fixtures operated simultaneously;

....(6) observe functional drainage at accessible plumbing fixtures;

....(7) observe and report deficiencies in installation and identification of hot and cold faucets;

....(8) operate mechanical drainstops if installed on sinks, lavatories and tubs;

....(9) inspect commodes for cracks in the ceramic material, proper mounting on the floor, evidence of leaks and operation of the tank components;

....(10) observe all accessible supply and drain pipes for evidence of leaks;

....(11) observe existence of visible vent pipe system to the exterior of the structure and for proper routing and termination of the vent system;

....(12) inspect shower enclosure for leaks ; and

....(13) operate exterior faucets attached or immediately adjacent to the structure.

(x) Specific limitations for plumbing systems. The inspector is not required to do the following:

....(1) operate any main, branch or shut-off valves;

....(2) inspect any system which has been shut down or otherwise secured;

....(3) inspect any components which are not visible or accessible;

....(4) inspect any exterior plumbing components such as water mains, private sewer systems, water wells, sprinkler systems or swimming pools;

....(5) inspect fire sprinkler systems;

....(6) inspect or operate drain pumps or waste ejector pumps;

....(7) inspect the quality or the volume of well water;

....(8) determine the potability of any water supply;

....(9) inspect water-conditioning equipment, such as softeners or filter systems;

....(10) inspect solar water heating systems;

....(11) determine the effectiveness of anti-siphon devices on appropriate fixtures or systems;

....(12) operate free-standing appliances;

....(13) inspect private water supply systems, swimming pools, or pressure tanks;

....(14) observe the system for proper sizing, design or use of proper materials; or

....(15) inspect the gas supply system for leaks;









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