Purchasing a new home is an exhilarating experience, it’s time for a fresh start, but this can also be a stressful time as certain tasks need to be completed. This also makes it hard to keep on top of day to day activities such as work, school, and family time. Many home buyers make things harder than they need to be by neglecting certain inspections. Having a comprehensive inspection is essential, and this includes checking the HVAC system. Everyone wants a comfortable indoor environment for their family, and this should be energy efficient and affordable. The following checklist will highlight several key HVAC inspection areas that you need to consider before you commit to buy and after the deal is sealed.
Prior to Purchasing
Hire an HVAC Professional
The HVAC system in your new home is a complex piece of equipment with a number of sensitive components. Heating and cooling systems work hard, and we rely on them to keep us comfortable no matter what the weather is like outside. Inspecting the existing HVAC system is important, and this is not a task for a DIY enthusiast. It’s a great idea to hire a local HVAC technician to carry out a comprehensive inspection to determine the general condition of the equipment. If the HVAC system needs to be replaced now or in the very near future, this could affect the asking price.
Ask Lots of Questions
Ask the seller some questions about the HVAC system, such as; how old is the equipment? When was the latest HVAC system inspection? How reliable is the heating and cooling system? These types of questions don’t replace the need for a professional inspection, but they do give the home buyer a general idea of what they are dealing with. If the HVAC system is going to need replacing in the next few years, it makes sense to budget for that expense now, and perhaps that could be a point of negotiation in a slower moving market.
Learn More About the HVAC System
Many people inspect one system (that they need now) and forget about the other. It’s important to check the heating and the cooling systems no matter the season to make sure they both work as intended. It’s also a great idea to find out where the shut-off valves are located for the water and gas supplies. Moving home can be stressful, and the last thing you need is a leak and the associated panic when you cannot locate the shut-off. The same is true for the circuit breaker, make sure you know where it is and how the fuses are set and have a flashlight handy just in case.
Inspecting for Vermin, Bugs and Other Pests
The HVAC system can be an attractive location for a wide variety of creatures looking for somewhere dry and warm. The ductwork is particularly at risk if there are any gaps or holes where the creatures can enter and leave. These pests leave behind waste that lowers the indoor air quality, and it can make your new home smell bad. Get the ductwork inspected by a local HVAC technician and make the cleaning a condition of sale. This is also a great time to get the vents cleaned and ready for use when you move in later.
Checking for Mold and Mildew
Mold spores and mildew are another nuisance that can lower the indoor air quality and trigger allergic reactions. The bathrooms are the most likely location for these problems, and this is particularly true if there is insufficient ventilation. Adding a ventilation fan or a window may be a project for after you’ve moved in. But, the removal and cleaning of mold and mildew should be carried out first by the seller.
After Moving In
Check and Calibrate the Thermostat
The thermostat is the brain for the entire HVAC system, and if it isn’t working correctly, it can result in uneven performance, maintenance issues, and poor energy efficiency. An older thermostat can be affected by a number of different things, such as dirt, dust, location, and the power supply. Getting the thermostat checked is part of an annual HVAC maintenance inspection, and this is highly recommended.
Test the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke detectors must be working correctly to protect you and your family from CO poisoning and fire. Data from the National Fire Protection Association shows that 40% of home fire fatalities occurred in a home with no adequate smoke alarms. When you move into a new home, it’s a good idea to replace the batteries as a matter, of course, to make sure they work. Then test them each and every month and replace the batteries annually to stay safe. It’s also a good idea to get the garage or basement checked to ensure that there is enough ventilation to minimize the risk of CO poisoning.
Schedule an Energy Audit
Many people are interested in saving money on their energy bills, and the best way to do this is to schedule an energy audit. A local HVAC professional can asses the energy consumption and efficiency in your home. Then they can suggest ways to improve or upgrade your home to make it more comfortable and save money. Some solutions are simple, such as: improving insulation or sealing gaps around doors and windows. Other solutions may be more extensive, such as: changing the HVAC equipment for high energy efficient equivalents. Following this advice may cost money now, but the energy savings made in the medium to long term will be significant.
Inspecting the Fire Extinguishers
There should be a few fire extinguishers in every home, and they need to be inspected to make sure they are working correctly. If you are in any doubt, it makes sense to buy fresh fire extinguishers that will work in an emergency situation.
Buying a new home is daunting, and it’s easy to forget things that are important. Hiring a local HVAC specialist to inspect and test the heating and cooling systems is a smart move. Replacing or repairing HVAC equipment can be expensive, and losing money to poor energy efficiency is very wasteful. An HVAC professional can give you an honest assessment of your system and offer advice on how to proceed.