How to Assess a HVAC Unit When Buying a Home
Buying a new home is bound to be wrought with a few surprises. A malfunctioning or defunct HVAC system shouldn't be one of them. With a little investigative work before you buy, you can greatly reduce the risk of immediate issues with your furnace or air conditioning. Follow these tips for assessing the health of your HVAC system before you close the deal while you still have time to do something about the issue.
Talk to the Seller
While there is no guarantee the seller will be forthcoming and disclose every problem with the unit, there are ways to hold the seller accountable.
- Ask to see maintenance and repair records. If you notice several repairs to major items, like compressors and blower motors, this may be a sign of big trouble in the near future.
- Ask who services the unit. If the seller does not provide you with full maintenance records, you may be able to get the job tickets from the service company.
- Ask the age of the HVAC unit. The predicted lifespan of most HVAC units is 15 years. If the unit is more than ten years old, it may be nearing its end.
Inspect the HVAC Unit
Visually inspecting the HVAC unit can give you clues about its efficiency. Here's what to look for:
- Check the ductwork for any leaks.
- Check joints to make sure they are secure.
- Check that the ductwork is laid out properly.
Listening to the HVAC unit in operation can also give you clues to how well it functions.
- Listen for any unusual sounds while the unit is running. Clanging, banging or squealing are not normal sounds and should be investigated.
- Listen as the unit starts up and shuts down. Loud clunks, stutters or other sounds may be a red flag that something is wrong.
If any of the above raise concerns, you have a right to have the unit assessed by a professional, or if an issue is apparent you can ask the seller to fix the problem before you purchase the house.
Check the Energy Rating of the Unit
All heating and cooling units should have a yellow energy efficiency label that outlines the energy efficiency of the unit, as well as, the cost to operate it compared to similar equipment. The operating costs and efficiency apply to a new unit. One that is several years old or that has not been properly maintained may not meet those standards.
Pay Attention to Comfort Levels Throughout the Home
Well-maintained and efficient systems should provide even heating or cooling throughout the home. Make a conscious effort to assess the comfort level of each room as you walk through the home. Hot or cold spots may signal problems with the HVAC unit.
Taking the time to assess the condition of the HVAC unit before you buy a new home may prevent unpleasant surprises once you move in. If you have concerns and need a professional assessment, our professionals at Guaranteed Heating and Cooling can help you. Contact us today to make an appointment.