When A Furnace Blower Door Safety Switch Is Taped

Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

When a furnace blower door safety switch is taped.

Your HVAC system comes with a variety of safety devices, and they are all there to increase personal safety.

There is the flame roll-out sensor, the flame sensor (not the same thing), a limit switch and a serviceman's switch.  And all these are for safety.

Another is the blower door safety switch.

It's a simple device, one that is pressed on the close the electrical circuit when the front panel is removed.

When the panel is in place the unit can run, and the blower will send air through the system.

That little switch is important!

It is intended to operate independently so that when the panel is removed to change the filter the blower mechanism pops out, opens the circuit, and the blower stops working.

If a finger was to get into that high-speed blower fan it could be snipped off!

You can see the filter to the right of the photo here.

I check filters during a home inspection, of course.

And from time to time when I remove the front panel I see that the switch has been taped down.  And worse - here it was taped with electrically conductive aluminum tape!  If somehow electricity touched that tape it would become live.

That means that the circuit is always closed, and the blower will keep running even when the panel is removed.  Not smart.  And not safe.

My recommendation:  the blower door safety switch wants to be free!  Let it go!  Taping it down is not recommended, it is not good, and should not be done.  Now, during this home inspection I did NOT removed the tape!  I'm not touching it!  We'll let that get taken care of later.



Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560



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Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

There goes that use of all purpose duct tape again...the silver jewel of home inspection !

May 18, 2017 02:55 AM #1
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I would have gone with the Redskin Burgundy and Gold duct tape, S&D.  But alas, shamefully, not this guy.


May 18, 2017 03:02 AM #2
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Yes, it sounds as though that switch provides a very useful function. Taping it down wasn't smart.

May 18, 2017 03:45 AM #3
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker

Good morning Jay. So much too see and so much to consider! That is why a buyer needs a good home inspector. Enjoy your day!

May 18, 2017 04:36 AM #4
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
Realty National - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Another great 'catch' by you, Jay Markanich I can only imagine the shocking effect if the tape did conduct electricity to the enclosure.

May 18, 2017 04:47 AM #5
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

But, but, but... never mind, you're right!

May 18, 2017 06:22 AM #6
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Always good to see an inspector who goes down to the last detail and has a keen eye for trouble.

May 18, 2017 08:15 AM #7
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Kat - that is one of those life lessons you don't want to learn after a finger tip has been removed.

Wayne - there are a zillion things.  It's part of the process!

As they say about certain sports plays, S&N, electrifying.

Fred - the do it yourselfers always have a but.  But then Murphy bites them in the butt.  Don't butt head with Murphy.

Joe - I see this problem about once a month.  It was time to write about it again.


May 18, 2017 09:07 AM #8
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

Another crazy homeowner ....

May 20, 2017 09:23 AM #9
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Lyn - I don't know why someone would do this, although I see it from time to time.  It's a safety switch - key word being safety!

May 20, 2017 10:30 AM #10
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Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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