Every inspection probably brings the opportunity to teach and learn. A recent inspection was no different.
This is the HVAC unit of a two-story, 60 year old house. It was manufactured in 1993.
While I won't go into everything possible here, there are some things worth mentioning. They are all correctable. They are all important.
The house sits on a masonry foundation with a "continuous crawl space perimeter." That means that the crawl space is the footprint of the entire house.
The crawl space is used for everything from plumbing to drainage to HVAC return ducts, electrical, gas lines, etc. Some of the soil down there has a plastic cover, but not all.
This HVAC unit is installed in, or crammed into, the closet under the staircase.
As to this closet:
- To get this unit out, you would have to cut through the kitchen wall and pull it out from behind. It cannot come out through the direction of the door used for this photo. Literally, a door could be installed behind the fridge in the kitchen right behind this unit. There isn't one now!
- The white AC condensate line drains into the crawl space. That is a lot of additional moisture NOT needed there. It should drain outside the foundation perimeter. And a trap on the line wouldn't hurt.
- Only about 10" of space is available in front of this unit if you had to do repairs. That is not enough. The rule of thumb would be 30" - 36". There was no service sticker so I don't know how much care has been given here. But the HVAC tech would have to weigh about 60 pounds to fit.
- The furnace and water heater woulda, coulda, shoulda be sitting on drain pans to catch any leakage.
- When the door is closed, there is no way for fresh oxygen to get into that closet. A couple of breather holes need to be cut into the walls to allow for that fresh air to ventilate the space. We call those a "combustion source." A slotted door could be installed, but someone built a linen shelf into that door. It is the only linen "closet" on this level. Fresh air is essential for proper combustion. Inefficient combustion increases the potential for, and risk of, carbon monoxide.
- Egregiously, there is NO Redskin sticker!! Anywhere... What were they thinking?
There were a few other things, not visible in this photo. But that is the list of obvious stuff.
My recommendation: Basically, a furnace room should have good access, plenty of room to work, fresh air and good light. Common sense really.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560