Buying a house can be an exciting venture, but it can also be confusing. In order to know you're making a good decision, you have to investigate all aspects of the house. One often overlooked component is the HVAC system.
In general, prospective homebuyers will check to make sure the HVAC system works. However, it's important to make sure it's working well and in good condition before closing the deal on the house. If there is something wrong, you have negotiating power before buying a house. Once you own the house, all repairs or replacements become your responsibility. Here is a list of areas you should pay attention to:
The first question you should have is how old each unit is. Air conditioners usually last 10-15 years. Furnaces can last as long as 20 years. Proper maintenance is a huge factor in how long the machinery will last, so ask the current homeowners for maintenance documents.
When you inspect the units, look for signs of rust or water stains that might indicate leaks. Listen for unusual noises. Check the maintenance records to see if any problems were reported and fixed.
Ideally, the HVAC system in your prospective house will have EnergyStar-certified components to ensure that the system operates efficiently. The less energy your HVAC system uses, the better your new home's energy bills will be.
Another thing that affects the energy efficiency of a home is how well it is sealed against air leaks. Check to see if windows, doors, and other common areas for air leaks have been properly sealed.
Along the same lines, proper amounts of insulation help improve a home's energy efficiency. When looking at insulation, consider:
- Does the home have enough?
- Is it distributed to the correct places, including any areas that were closed in or added on?
When looking at the ducts in your prospective home, you want to see solid ducts without any holes or disconnected sections.
Visit our website for in-depth information on most HVAC topics, or just give us a call at (408) 868-5500.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).