When the time comes to purchase a house, it’s easy to get caught up in the frills. Sure, the home may have the perfect shade of paint on the walls and an updated kitchen, but don’t let that be the top items on your checklist. The HVAC system is an important and expensive part of your home. Moving into a home with a poor functioning HVAC system means you’ll be spending money down the road. Save yourself some time and a few hundred dollars by coming up with a list of HVAC questions you can ask the realtor, seller, or home inspector. Read on for our top five questions to ask about the HVAC unit.
This is a great question to start with. The most common type of system uses forced air furnace for heating and a central air conditioner for cooling, but if you are purchasing an older home, it may only have a furnace without central air. It’s important to ask this question because you want to understand the type of maintenance that comes with the system to keep it running smoothly.
Understanding how old the HVAC system is in your home gives you an idea if it needs to be replaced in the future. Systems are typically replaced every 10-15 years and that may not be a cost you want to add to your budget for the upcoming years. A total replacement costs thousands of dollars which is why it’s important to know how old the system is and what condition it’s in.
Systems with a regular history of professional maintenance can surpass the 10–15-year average lifespan. Asking how often the unit was serviced and inquiring about routine checkups can tell you a lot about the life left in the HVAC unit. If the current owners only had an inspection prior to selling but had skipped the routine maintenance over the past years, proceed with caution. The lack of routine care can decrease the lifespan of the unit and cost you more money as small problems take a turn for the worse.
Check to see if a warranty is in place for the unit before signing any papers. Some newer units come with lifetime warranties, but those can end as soon as a home sells. Make sure you ask for documentation related to the warranty to verify coverage before any problems arise.
Although insulation is not a part of the HVAC system, a well-insulated house allows your HVAC to run less often while still being able to cool and heat the house properly. Check with the home seller or home inspector for information on insulation.
Finding the perfect home in a crazy market can be a relief, but don’t jump the gun before you’ve had the necessary conversations. Before you sign any papers, ask the list of questions we provided about the current HVAC system. The nuts and bolts of a home are equally as important as the layout.