The Mechanical components of a home include the electrical, plumbing, and heating and cooling systems, and are a vital part of any home inspection.
It is very important to perform an inspection of the Electrical System due to the potential safety and fire hazards that a defective or faulty electrical system poses. A home inspector is not an electrician, so much of the electrical inspection is limited to a visual evaluation of the various electrical elements.
- Electrical Supply: Determine if it’s an overhead or underground system and locate where it enters into the home.
- Identify the location and condition of the electric meter.
- Identify the location of the Main Circuit Panel and Main Disconnect: Evaluate the main circuit wiring and panel condition.
- Inspect the Outlets and Fixtures including the location of GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupter) which are outlets near plumbing fixtures.
Any defects discovered in the electrical system may indicate the need for further evaluation by a licensed electrician.
The water to the house will be from either a municipal supply or a well. Many general home inspectors do not examine the physical components of a well. You might ask if this will be covered in your home inspection.
Most of the elements of a plumbing system lie behind walls and inside floors and ceilings, but a home inspector may be able to uncover clues that reveal the overall condition of the home’s plumbing system.
- Locate and evaluate the main water shut off.
- Visually evaluate all visible pipes and note outdated materials such as galvanized pipe.
- Evaluate and report any leaks.
- Evaluate the flow and function of faucets, the operation of drains and the flush mechanisms of all toilets.
- Observe hot and cold configurations.
Heating and Cooling
Heating and cooling systems can be either centralized or localized. Today, most systems are centralized, especially heating systems.
Heating and Cooling Elements
- Note the make and condition of the unit, as well as fuel source.
- In the case of a cooling system, inspect the unit for signs of coolant leaks and defects.
- Observe ductwork, which is usually metal, for integrity.
- Locate the heating and cooling source in each room and check for proper function.