Purchasing a new home can be an exhilarating experience, but it’s also a stressful time, and there always seem to be more tasks to complete. One of the more important aspects of buying a new home is to carry out proper inspections to make sure the house is safe and comfortable. In this article, we will look at ten critical HVAC inspection tips for before and after purchasing your home.
Before Buying Your Home
- Checking the HVAC System
Most modern homes will have an HVAC system or a pre-installation for these types of systems to keep your home comfortable all year round. Many people are unfamiliar with HVAC systems, and this is a specialized field that needs a professional inspection. This will help to determine the age and general shape of the heating and cooling systems. This will be important to estimate the remaining lifespan, and it is vital for budgeting in terms of repairs and a possible replacement in the near term.
- Learning About the HVAC System
Every home will have a different type of HVAC system installed, and it’s important to learn as much about these systems as possible. Start by learning where the shut off valves are located for water and gas to deal with any emergency leaks. Then make sure you know where the circuit breakers are located for any repairs or maintenance that’s needed before or after you move into the home. It’s important to understand how the HVAC system works, and each function should be checked to ensure that it’s working correctly. Finally, check that you have an owner’s manual for the equipment and make sure you know which filters you need to buy.
- Testing the Thermostat
The thermostat is the brain for your HVAC system, and it needs to be functioning correctly. Most homes have some type of basic programmable thermostat to change cooling and heating times. Many homeowners are now switching to a smart thermostat that can be controlled remotely via an app on your phone or mobile device. This is a great way to have unparalleled control over every aspect of your home temperature at the touch of a button. Upgrading to a better thermostat may not seem like a priority when buying a new home, but it can save a lot of money on energy, and it’s well worth the investment.
- Cleaning the Ductwork
The network of ducts in the home is essential to deliver treated air to each vent for heating and cooling every room. Over time the ductwork will get dirty, and this will result in poor quality air circulating throughout the home. In some cases, there may be patches of moisture in the ducts where mold has grown, and this can lead to mold spores in your indoor air. These airborne contaminants can affect people with pre-existing breathing conditions, and they can trigger an allergic reaction. So, it’s a good idea to make a thorough cleaning of every room, the vents and the ductwork a condition of sale. At the very least, you may be able to get the seller to move on the price, and this will allow you to get the ducts evaluated and cleaned by an HVAC professional. Cleaner indoor air is healthier for you and your family.
After Buying Your Home
- Organize a Homeowners Binder
Make a homeowner’s binder where you can keep all of your important information, such as repair receipts, maintenance intervals, insurance paperwork, and anything else that you need. This will make it easier to track what you need and how much you are spending to maintain your home. This is also useful when it comes time to sell because you will have all of your information in one place for a potential buyer.
- Test Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
Every home needs to have smoke detectors to make the home safer from fire. The National Fire Protection Association has estimated that at least 40% of home fire deaths take place in homes that don’t have smoke alarms installed. If you have a gas furnace, it’s also essential to have a carbon monoxide detector installed. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas; it’s odorless, and it can be fatal in a very short period of time with little warning. Both of these detectors should be checked every month, and the batteries in them should be changed annually.
- Carry Out an Energy Audit
It’s a great idea to carry out a professional energy audit in your new home. This is a very easy way to evaluate the energy consumption and efficiency. The information gathered will allow you to make upgrades or simple adjustments to lower your future home energy bills without compromising on indoor comfort. An energy audit will assess the insulation levels, the efficiency of your HVAC system and locate any gaps in the seals that keep the treated air in your home.
- Inspecting Fire Extinguishers
Every home should have fire extinguishers that are ready to use in an emergency situation. A simple visual inspection isn’t suffiicient, and hydrostatic testing is needed to make sure the extinguisher is in good condition. If you’re in any doubt about your fire extinguishers, it’s probably a better idea to buy some newer models.
- Garage or Basement Ventilation
It’s vital to check the framing of your garage or the venting in the basement to ensure that these areas have adequate levels of ventilation. A furnace in these locations can quickly build up deposits of carbon monoxide that can lead to CO poisoning. As we mentioned earlier, a carbon monoxide detector should also be installed, and the placement is important. Place a carbon monoxide detector at least 10 feet away from a garage door, it must be out of direct sunlight, and it should be a couple of feet lower than the ceiling.
- Check, Clean or Replace Air Filters
A clean air filter is essential to protect sensitive components inside your HVAC system. A clogged air filter can cause the HVAC system to work harder, and this can lead to a breakdown and a premature replacement. So, check, clean, or replace the air filter each and every month to ensure a supply of cleaner air and to prevent damage.
If you need to evaluate, maintain, or repair an HVAC system in your new home, contact a local professional for expert help and advice.