Buying a new home is exciting, daunting, and sometimes even a little frustrating. But, it’s important to create a home checklist to track your progress before and after the deal is sealed. A proper home inspection is essential if you want to create a comfortable and safe environment for you and your family. In this article, we will look at some HVAC related checks that you need to make.
4 Things to Check Before Buying
1. Checking the HVAC System
If there is an HVAC system in place in your new home, it needs to be inspected by a technician. It’s important to know that the system is working as intended by the manufacturer, and it’s operating efficiently. But, the HVAC system also needs to be checked to make sure it’s safe to use. An HVAC system is a complex series of equipment with mechanical, electrical, and electronic components. It’s tempting to save some money by checking the system yourself, but HVAC technicians have the training, experience, and equipment to get the job done correctly. It’s a good idea to know the age of the furnace and air conditioner to determine how near it is to the end of its useful lifespan. This will give you a clear idea of how much money you will need to set aside for repairs and future breakdowns. If the HVAC system is older, find out how regularly it has been serviced. Well maintained heating and cooling equipment tends to last longer, run more efficiently and it’s less prone to failures.
Hopefully, the seller has the documentation for the HVAC system. If you have not got the owner’s manual, it may be possible to get a pdf from the manufacturer’s website. You will need to know which filters you need for the system and the location of the shut-off valves for the water and gas. Knowing this before an emergency is good planning when you move into your new home. Finally, learn where the circuit breaker is located for essential repairs and maintenance.
2. Check for Mildew and Mold
Many people are not aware that an air conditioner acts as a dehumidifier. In areas that are very humid, an additional dehumidifier may be needed, but in many cases, this is not necessary. Check the bathrooms, basement, attic spaces, and other locations for signs of mildew or mold. Mold spores are toxic, they lower the indoor air quality (IAQ), and they are a sign that something is not right. If you have mold or mildew in a bathroom, you could add a fan to improve ventilation, and this could fix the problem. Obviously, if you discover mildew and mold in the home, the owner should fix them, or it could be used during negotiations.
3. Testing the Thermostat
The thermostat is the brain of the entire HVAC system, and it needs to be in good working condition. Many homes on the market have older thermostats with a very basic feature set that are not very efficient. An HVAC technician can offer advice on a possible upgrade for the existing system to improve the usability and efficiency.
4. Check the Ductwork
The ductwork is the circulatory system for the treated air that travels to every room in the home. If the ducts are damaged or dirty, they will have a negative effect on the IAQ and efficiency. An HVAC technician can check the condition of the ducts and vents, and if they are in poor condition, the cleaning and/or repair can be made a condition of sale.
4 Things to Check After the Sale
1. Test Smoke Detectors
All the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the home need to be checked. They must work to protect your family and home from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Experts estimate that around 40% of home fire deaths occur in homes where no smoke detector is installed. The smoke detector needs to be checked every month to make sure the batteries are still working. A carbon monoxide detector should be installed near the furnace to detect emissions. Carbon monoxide is known as “the silent killer” for a good reason, and it needs to be taken seriously. A carbon monoxide leak could also indicate a problem in the furnace that could lead to a fire. If you have a leak contact your local HVAC specialist and ask about an inspection and maintenance plans.
2. Consider an Energy Audit
An energy audit is a great way to assess the current energy efficiency in your new home. Many people don’t take this step, and as a result, they lose a great deal of money. An energy audit can highlight issues, including insulation levels, system efficiency, and other factors that can affect your home heating and cooling. A local HVAC specialist can help you with an energy audit that will improve the comfort in your home and lower your energy bills.
3. Locate and Inspect Fire Extinguishers
It’s important to have some fire extinguishers in your home to deal with fires before they get out of control. If the previous owner left one or more fire extinguishers behind, they need to be tested. The last thing you need is a fire extinguisher that will not work in an emergency situation. If you don’t have any extinguishers, consider getting one for each floor and have one on hand near the furnace.
4. Check the Air Filters
The HVAC system needs to have a consistent supply of air to work correctly. If the air filters are clogged, it can cause the system to work harder, leading to a failure and an expensive repair bill. The performance may also be affected, and you may notice that you cannot get enough treated air to circulate in your home. It’s easy to clean or replace an air filter; full instructions are in your owner’s manual. Make sure to use the right size and type of filter, and you can get them in bulk to save money. Check your air filters every month or more often if you have pets.
If you’re buying a new home, contact your local HVAC specialist and ask them about an inspection.