When inspecting a house for a potential bid, it’s always an excellent idea – and frequently required – to have a professional inspection done to look for any serious problems. But homeowners should also take time to check major house components on their own to understand what they are getting into (and disqualify any properties more quickly based on what they find).
One of the important places to stop for a quick check is the HVAC units, the largest appliances in the house which use the most energy for heating and cooling and tend to stick around between owners. You can usually find furnaces and AC units in areas like the garage, basement or specific closets. Heat pumps and AC units will also have an outdoor component to explore. Here are few important things a homebuyer should look for!
A Basic Visual Inspection
Take a look at the unit. Fidget with the thermostat a little to get the unit working, too. Look for any dirt, debris, clogs, or obvious signs of damage. Check to see if there are any cracks or other noticeable signs of wear. Make sure the unit isn’t making any loud or troubling noises when it is running. Outside, in particular, check to see that the units are clean and clear of any shrubbery or other plants.
Check the Labels
First, take a look at unit labels (usually printed or taped to the unit itself) to check the age of the HVAC unit. If a unit is 10 to 15 years old, that’s a sign that you may need to replace it in the next few years, and it will be more subject to wear and repairs – that’s a significant cost for any future homeowner.
Second, take a look at the energy ratings. HVAC units use several different rating systems to show how efficient the unit is – such as the SEER rating. A more efficient unit can be a big money-saver, as well as lasting longer before needing to be replaced. A unit with significantly lower efficiency ratings than alternatives currently on the market will cost more money and are more likely to need to be replaced. Also, look for Energy Star ratings or other certifications that show the unit is particularly energy-efficient.
Sometimes these labels also include a spot to jot down the history of repairs for the unit. This isn’t always used, but if it contains any information on past repairs, you should certainly look at that as well!
Examine Comfort Levels Throughout the House
Temperatures in rooms can vary depending on how the HVAC system is working, how the vents and ductwork are operating, and how much sun the room is getting. If you find a room that feels uncomfortably hot, or cold, it’s important to think about why. Is it a problem you could solve with drapes or by opening vents in the room? Or is it a sign that the HVAC system may not be working properly?
If you are interested in getting a full, professional inspection of an HVAC unit before you make any home purchasing decisions, let us know! Guarantee Heating & Cooling will be happy to inspect units and let you know more about them.