In most homes, family and guests seem to gravitate to the kitchen, which is why a home inspector may spend a lot of time there, checking things out. An inspector will look at appliances, which are considered built-in: oven; range; dishwasher; trash compactor, range hood; or any piece of equipment attached to the cabinet. This means that refrigerators may not be covered by an inspection.

An inspector will operate all appliances under normal conditions to see if they work as expected.

  • Ovens: A home inspector will use an oven thermometer to check the temperature when the oven is set to 350F (let it be on for at least fifteen minutes, and it should be within 25 degrees of the set temperature); check that the oven light works; there should be some type of plate on the wall behind a range to prevent it from tipping over; look for rust, broken parts, or worn seals.
  • Dishwasher: A home inspector will run it in normal cycle to see if water is leaking (an unused dishwasher’s seals will weaken); set the arm in an identifiable position before starting, then check to see if it moved when done; close the flap door for additional detergent to see if it opens; look for rust, broken parts, or worn seals.
  • Range hood: A home inspector will check filters; operate it at all speed levels, check for excessive noise and vibrations; check the light; see if the vent tubes (if any) are installed well; look for rust and broken parts.
  • Microwave: A home inspector will heat a cup of water to see if it works; check the light; look for rust, broken parts, or worn seals.
  • Disposal: A home inspector will run it with the water running; pay attention to excessive noise and vibration; look under the sink to see if water is leaking from the unit.
  • Refrigerator: A home inspector will check the seals to for their condition, look at the back to see the state of the coils and see if the unit is cooling sufficiently (it is hard to tell what temperature is meant on some units by “cold 1-2-3-4-5”, so refrigerators are around 45 degrees F and freezers are at or below 40 degrees F).
  • Sink: A home inspector will run the cold and hot water to see if it comes through; let each basin fill up, then drain to check for leaks below; look to see that there is a trap before the water goes to the waste pipe. An inspector will also look for water stains in cabinets.
  • Cabinets (optional): A home inspector will check doors and drawers to make sure they open and close easily. An inspector will make sure cabinets are secure to the wall. Lights and outlets will be checked. Outlets on the counter should be GFCI (ground fault circuits).
  • Trash Compactor: A home inspector will make sure there are no broken parts; no excessive noise or vibration. Excessive noise and vibrations in most equipment are due to the unit not being properly mounted.