Inspecting the HVAC: A Key Part of Home Buying

When you’re buying a new home, a pre-closing inspection is vital. By law, new buyers need a certificate of occupancy before moving in.  This is required whether you are moving to Cherry Hill, Freehold or any other town in New Jersey. The report you receive gives you insight into the structure’s condition and let’s you know about issues such as foundation cracks or needed roof repairs. Unfortunately, a general inspection doesn’t tell you much about the home’s most costly and critical equipment – the heating and cooling components. Having a reputable  Air conditioning and heating professional perform an HVAC system inspection before buying a home is a must to protect you against any unwanted surprises waiting for you when you move in.  

HVAC System Deficiencies

Home inspectors typically only check whether the heating and cooling equipment starts up, not how well it functions. In comparison, an HVAC inspection gives you an in-depth look at the efficiency and functionality of the entire heating and cooling system. They will review your furnace, air conditioner and water heater. You’ll learn the equipment’s age, as well as if it’s sized correctly, operating efficiently, and properly maintained. This can help you determine if you want to buy the home or negotiate a better price so you can replace the old equipment.

What Your Home Inspector Might Miss

The home inspector has a basic job to do, but some important things that should be checked are not required.

  • Inspect or evaluate your chimney, heat exchanger 
  • Determine if the heating and AC system is adequate for the size of your home. It could be undersized or oversized!
  • Determine if the ductwork and ventilation is adequate for the home
  • Verify that your thermostats are properly calibrated
  • Examine any coolant fluids, leaks etc.

Expensive Equipment Replacements

If you’re only relying on a regular home inspector’s report that states the HVAC equipment is operational, you’re vulnerable to unpleasant surprises after you’ve closed on a home and are settled in. If you are lucky and inherit a warranty on the equipment, that might help if the units develop problems after moving. Warranties may cover parts, but labor can be costly. If not, well, you’re on the hook to foot the bills.

Health and Safety Concerns

Problems with a home’s air conditioning and heating systems not only increases your energy costs, but can also impact your health and safety. An HVAC inspection can uncover serious safety issues like carbon monoxide leaks, back-drafting, inadequate ventilation or ductwork deficiencies that leak contaminants, mold, and hazardous combustion fumes into your home. The knowledge you gain from a thorough inspection of an AC & furnace systems can protect your family’s health issues like allergies, asthma and any respiratory problems.

Why You Need an Expert

Hiring an HVAC expert will be worth your while in the long run. An expert can tell you a lot more about how well the system works and if it’s been maintained properly. Unlike the general home inspector, an HVAC tech can check for refrigerant leaks and ductwork issues, proper sizing, possible safety issues, and how energy efficient the system is rated. This can save you some costly AC and furnace repairs in the future. Many companies charge a fee for performing this thorough inspection, but at least you will have peace of mind knowing the real story concerning the home’s HVAC system.

Summary

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make. Would you buy a home if the roof appears to be very old? How about if the driveway is badly cracked? Things we see are easy to address when shopping for a home, but how many people can ascertain the age, efficiency, or health status of a furnace and complete AC system? Unless you’re in the HVAC business, not many at all.

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