We are currently selling our home. During the buyer's home
inspection, one of the issues found was that a PVC pipe coming from
our furnace, out the side of the house, is right over our AC unit. The
inspector said that the "acidic runoff could prematurely deteriorate
the AC unit". (As a little background, the inspector botched about
60-70% of the home inspection...my husband called him on the errors,
and the inpector has admitted he was wrong.)
Anyway, the buyer is requesting that our AC unit be moved. The
inspector says we can just add another 90 degree bend to divert the
"possible acidic runoff" away from the unit. (Some more
background...we live in a 200 unit townhouse plan, and every unit was
constructed in the same fashion as ours). My husband believes this is
only a cold air intake - since it a high efficiency furnace, the
inspector believes it's an exhaust, but both say they don't know for
sure. My husband does know that you can only have 2 90 degree bends,
if this is in fact an exhaust, and there are already 2.
We would really rather not move the AC, as it will cost quite a bit of
money. The house is only 4 years old....if the location is such an
issue, how did the house get it's occupancy permit (or the other 199
If anyone knows the answer and a possible solution, insight would be
Sounds like you already know the answer you want. So why bother asking the
question? And why are you sticking with an inspector you don't trust?
Personally I think the inspector is out of his gourd. Any runoff from the
pipe that is acidic would be detected as a rust spot long before it became a
problem, and even then the solution is simply painting it or putting
something as simple as a downspout diverter on top of the AC unit.
Thanks for you quick response. We are the seller of the house, so we
did not pick this inspector - the buyer's closing company did.
As for why I asked the question, sorry I wasn't clear enough. I'm
wanting to know whether this pipe is an exhaust or an intake, and if
this really is an issue at all.
If it's intake, then my husband is correct, and we need not do
anything...as there would be no runoff (except maybe some
condensation, which should be no more acidic than rainwater).
If it's an exhaust, is the inspector correct that there would be
acidic runoff? And enough to harm the AC unit? Like I mentioned, this
inspector was wrong on many things with his initial inspection, so I'm
leery of just blindly believing him that this is an issue at all.
(Didn't mention this before...but we DO have a drain from the furnace
in the basement...so I don't think any liquid would travel UP this PVC
pipe - maybe 4 feet, then across my basement and out the rear of the
Additionally, I wondered if there were any other solutions...if I
can't add any more 90 degree bends, for venting purposes, what else
can I add? Or is moving the AC unit the only option...no other house
has had theirs moved, and many have already changed owners.
Others have said the same, no this isn't an issue. Anything in the exhaust
of the furnace would be so diluted as to be trivial in consequences -
especially outside. Something as simple as rain would render it totally
Mountain out of a molehill
Mark - Thanks for the answer...if I don't see concentric pipes...then
I know it's either intake OR exhaust, and that is easily tested.
Eigenvector - The inspector put this "issue" in his serious problems
area of the report, and our buyer is demanding the AC unit be moved
(the mountain was not just perceived by me). My posts here were to
find out if this truly was an issue, and if so, find any alternative
Thanks to all for your help. I know now that we need not take any
On Mar 2, 10:01 am, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote: <brevity
Exactly. It passed presumably competent configuration and
installation code inspection/s, and if there was such an issue it
would be evident by now.
Did your inspector ever slip and mutter, "Would you like fries with
An inspector looked at it. You husband looked at it. And neither
one can figure out if it's an intake or exhaust for the furnace? Just
turn on the furnace and use a piece of paper towel to see if air is
going in or out. If it's going in, problem solved. If it's going
out, can't you cut the pipe of just a bit shorter so any condensation
misses the AC unit? Usually the AC unit isn't right up against the
If have to solve it with another 90 and that doesn't exceed the
furnace specs, then seems like a cheap fix to make the buyer happy.
But I also agree that I doubt this is a real big problem to begin with.
GPSMAN - Glad that someone else agrees with my logic that the code
enforcement officer would not let something serious slide.
Any ideas on how to respond to the buyer's request (other than telling
her too bad)? I have no problems fixing something that is a
legitimate problem, but I just think this inspector doesn't know what
he's talking about. When my husband informed him that we had a high
efficiency furnace, which would have a cold air intake, the guy was
just kinda silent, and said "Oh". What did the guy look at for 3
hours in my house??...he totally missed how my house was constructed
(causing the majority of the report to be incorrect)..and either he
doesn't know what a high efficiency furnace is, or he didn't bother to
look at what was in our place. (To the best of my knowlege, only a
high efficiency furnace would have a pipe going out the side of the
house...I believe all others go up and out the roof)
I doubt that I can just tell the lady we're not fixing it, I don't
want her to walk away. I know we need a reason, but I do want it to
be the truth. Do you know what this pipe is for? (Husband is
knowledgeable in construction, but makes no claim to being an HVAC
expert...) I did some searching in the groups, and saw some people
saying intake goes through the side, exhaust goes through the side, or
that that pipe could be both. I do know there is only one PVC pipe
out the side..how do you know which it's for? (Unfortunately, the
stickers/diagrams on the side of my furnace are all in a foreign
language-high quality stuff huh??-so i can't tell from that.) Maybe
I'll call the builder today to see if they know.
Yep, I'll take a look when I get home. If it's either exhaust or
intake, then it'll be easy to figure out. If it's both, then
hopefully it'll be obvious. Then when I draft up the response letter,
I'll just say we're not fixing to avoid causing further problems.
Oh, and I will admit, my husband didn't go out and look at it when the
furnace was running. He was way to busy dealing with this dumb
inspector for all the other inaccuracies that he COULD definatively
say were wrong. (Inspector also actually admitted he added non-safety/
quality items because "she (the buyer) asked for it to be in the
report"!) So I got the task of figuring out this one.
In other words, the buyer asked the inspector to list items that are
*not* defects, things that he would normally not mention, in order to
have more negotiating room to try to get you to reduce the price.
In other words, the buyer doesn't actually want to pay the offered price
that you agreed on before the inspection.
On Mar 2, 4:06 pm, email@example.com (Dave Martindale) wrote:
Dave, thanks for the opinion. You're right on that she knows she's
got us backed into a corner...obviously we have another house we're
buying after the sale of this place. AFTER we had a signed offer, she
started demanding us to put a door up in the opening to the
laundry... Somehow this ended up in the inspection as a "serious
issue"...there was never a door in this location, and obviously there
is no safety concern or defect here.
My husband and the inspector have come to an agreement..once we fix 2
minor issues (NOT this stupid pipe thing)...he's going to "re-inspect"
our house...with his "new knowledge"...and we'll be good to proceed.
And thankfully, once this place is sold (45 days and counting) we
don't ever have to deal with this buyer again.
Thanks again for all of the insightful responses!
Sounds like the inspector has come to think that you and your husband
are reasonable people, the buyer is not, and he doesn't want to be part
of a scheme to fleece you. The home ispector works for the buyer, but
he's also supposed to maintain some standard of objectivity and
professionalism, and it seems he's come to his senses.
The buyer, on the other hand, is likely to remain a jerk until the deal
has closed. Good luck.
On Mar 2, 10:17 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org (Dave Martindale) wrote:
I'd be real careful with any "agreement" between the buyer's home
inspector and your husband, especially since you have a buyer
demanding doors be put in places they never existed. Just because
the inspector agrees to something with your husband doesn't mean that
2 weeks from now, the buyer isn't going to be pointing to the
inspection report and saying you haven't fixed everything. Normally,
the list of what the buyer wants fixed has to be in writing. Then you
respond to it in writing. That will stand up. Some verbal exchange
with a person not party to the contract won't. Also, is it clear who,
if anyone, is paying for the 2nd inspection? In the inspections I've
dealt with, there was never a 2nd one, nor was it included in the
On Mar 2, 11:17 am, email@example.com wrote:
A simple no, with a simple explanation.
I think I'm beginning to detect a faint odor of smoke... and I think
your lady doesn't want you to move the A/C unit, she wants a
discount. It's a buyer's market, and I think she's trying to work you
over a little too hard. Either that, or she wants out of the deal.
If the pipe is discharging acidic material onto the A/C unit some
damage should be evident after 3 or 4 winters. If there isn't any,
I'd offer to buy a cover for it.
If that doesn't satisfy her, I'd let her walk. Some people, you're
better off not conducting business with in the long run. Next year
she'll notice the wind blows, and when it does it blows the discharge
onto the A/C, and sue you for not moving it far enough away.
Something to steal, probably.
Tell her the truth: The inspector was incompetent, the pipe isn't an
issue. And even if it was an issue, moving the unit is out of the
It could only be intake or exhaust. Fire up the furnace and look at
On Mar 2, 9:01 am, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
It's intake and exhaust, and the exhaust is mildly acidic. In 2 years,
mine, which the installers located just past one corner of the a/c
condensor unit, there isn't any rust, but for one screw. I'm planning
on screwing a plastic shield some day, and you could do that unless it
is right at the middle. If it is higher than the condensor, you could
put a shield below the port. It'll make it look nicer because the
furnace exhaust will no longer be steaming right at the condensor.
So turn on the furnace, and determine whether the pipe is sucking
outdoor air into the furnace, or exhausting combustion products outside.
Or go inside and see which port of the furnace this pipe is connected
to. I can't believe that both the inspector and your husband are
guessing about this when it's so easy to figure out the truth for
If the furnace has been in use for 4 years, and the exhaust is going to
cause any problems with the A/C, I'd expect to see evidence of it
already. If nobody can see problems on the A/C, moving it seems rather
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