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How to inspect a heating system for defects, part 2: This document presents the indoor steps for inspecting residential heating systems with focus on heating boilers and furnaces, on assuring
completeness, accuracy, and on maximum heating system defect detection. The heating system inspection methodology involved is intended to be generalized to
the forensic diagnostic inspection of any complex system in order to have the highest probability of detecting
important safety or operating defects.
This sounds fancier than intended. Our object is to use an organized
procedure for inspecting for defects, without losing the ability to discover unexpected problems as well. The methodology discussed includes both details specific to heating boilers (the full outline at "Contents")
and more general complex-system inspection methods (listed immediately below).
Inside Heating System Observations - what do we look for when inspecting heating system components inside the building?
Viewpoint #2--Distant view of the heating equipment from the living area.
Heating Inspection Procedures When In the Living Area
These observations and conclusions can be made quickly without needing
to ask anyone anything, as soon as you enter the building:
Type of Heat Distribution
ASHI 9.1.A.7 the presence of an installed heat source in each room.ASHI 9.3.D.4 The inspector is not required to observe the uniformity of heat supply to various rooms.
Air registers: hot-air furnace. Begin looking for supply
and return grilles. Identification tip: return grilles often have
no controlling louvers and may be centrally located. Distribution
problems are not discussed in this presentation. See DUCT SYSTEMS
Baseboards - electric or hot water.
Radiators - hot water or steam. Steam: observe steam valves
on each radiator and identify one pipe vs two-pipe distribution system.
Nothing visible: is there electric or hot water radiant
Watch for multiple types of heat supply: e.g.: baseboards, with electric
heaters in bathrooms.
Heating Inspection Procedures When In the Utility Area
Viewpoint #3--Distant broad view of the heating equipment from the utility room.
The equipment is directly in view but not yet closely examined.
ASHI 9.1.A. The Inspector shall observe permanently installed heating systems including: [items are listed later] ASHI 9.2.A.2 The inspector shall describe heating equipment and distribution type
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Domestic and Commercial Oil Burners, Charles H. Burkhardt, McGraw Hill Book Company, New York 3rd Ed 1969.
National Fuel Gas Code (Z223.1) $16.00 and National Fuel Gas Code Handbook (Z223.2) $47.00 American Gas Association (A.G.A.), 1515 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22209 also available from National Fire Protection Association, Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02269. Fundamentals of Gas Appliance Venting and Ventilation, 1985, American Gas Association Laboratories, Engineering Services Department. American Gas Association, 1515 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22209. Catalog #XHO585. Reprinted 1989.
The Steam Book, 1984, Training and Education Department, Fluid Handling Division, ITT [probably out of print, possibly available from several home inspection supply companies] Fuel Oil and Oil Heat Magazine, October 1990, offers an update,
Principles of Steam Heating, $13.25 includes postage. Fuel oil & Oil Heat Magazine, 389 Passaic Ave., Fairfield, NJ 07004.
The Lost Art of Steam Heating, Dan Holohan, 516-579-3046 FAX
Principles of Steam Heating, Dan Holohan, technical editor of Fuel Oil and Oil Heat magazine, 389 Passaic Ave., Fairfield, NJ 07004 ($12.+1.25 postage/handling).
"Residential Hydronic (circulating hot water) Heating Systems", Instructional Technologies Institute, Inc., 145 "D" Grassy Plain St., Bethel, CT 06801 800/227-1663 [home inspection training material] 1987
"Warm Air Heating Systems". Instructional Technologies Institute, Inc., 145 "D" Grassy Plain St., Bethel, CT 06801 800/227-1663 [home inspection training material] 1987
Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning Volume I, Heating Fundamentals,
Boilers, Boiler Conversions, James E. Brumbaugh, ISBN 0-672-23389-4 (v. 1) Volume II, Oil, Gas, and Coal Burners, Controls, Ducts, Piping, Valves, James E. Brumbaugh, ISBN 0-672-23390-7 (v. 2) Volume III, Radiant Heating, Water Heaters, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, Heat Pumps, Air Cleaners, James E. Brumbaugh, ISBN 0-672-23383-5 (v. 3) or ISBN 0-672-23380-0 (set) Special Sales Director, Macmillan Publishing Co., 866 Third Ave., New York, NY 10022. Macmillan Publishing Co., NY
Installation Guide for Residential Hydronic Heating Systems
Installation Guide #200, The Hydronics Institute, 35 Russo Place, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
The ABC's of Retention Head Oil Burners, National Association of Oil Heat Service Managers, TM 115, National Old Timers' Association of the Energy Industry, PO Box 168, Mineola, NY 11501. (Excellent tips on spotting problems on oil-fired heating equipment. Booklet.)
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Or choose the The Home Reference eBook for PCs, Macs, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, or Android Smart Phones. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAEHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto, have provided us with (and we recommend) Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates' Technical Reference Guide to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
Links to our list of additional information on heating system inspection, repair, maintenance