How to Examine an HVAC System during a Home Purchase

HVAC System

HVAC System

There are two primary reasons why a first time home buyer should ask for a basic inspection as it relates to an HVAC system prior to buying a home. Your air conditioner and heating system is important if you want to live in your new home comfortably. Let’s take an in-depth look on what you need to pay close attention to.

Pay Attention

An efficient air conditioning unit can result in lower energy bills. This is especially true in extreme weather conditions. If you are buying a home during mild weather conditions, then your AC problems might not be readily or easily noticeable. This would leave the home buyer with an approximate $5,000 expense soon after making that purchase and moving in.

The Convenience

Of course, it might not always be convenient for you to do a full air conditioner inspection in the early phase of buying a home. As a home buyer, you may have to endure multiple showings and then make your choice from a list of homes that you desire. Once you identify the home that you are sure of, then a longer showing will be done by the realtor, allowing you to look more closely at the home and its contents.

First Check

To avoid any issues with your HVAC system after you buy the home, you would eventually have a full inspection done by a HVAC contractor and home inspector. Here are some things that you need to look at during that long showing:

  • Check to see if the air filters are dirty. If so, then it is best to ask the home seller to change the filters prior to you coming back for a third real estate showing
  • Turn the air conditioning unit down the heat to its maximum temperature. Wait for fifteen minutes and notice how the both affect the air in the home. The temperature difference between the returns and the vents should be no more than twenty degrees. If you are in the home for forty five minutes or more, you should notice a dramatic change in temperature
  • Walk around the house and check the vents to ensure that the air flow is decent enough to perform well
  • Walk around the perimeter of the house while standing next to the AC unit, listening to if it is oddly loud. If so, it may be that the AC unit is at the ending of its functional life, even if it is still performing decently at the moment


Lastly, you should take a few moments to look at the label on the central air conditioning unit on the outside of the home. Usually, the first four numbers of the serial number will indicate the month and the year when it was built. If you find that the AC unit is more than fifteen years old, which is the average lifespan to expect from most air conditioning unit, then you should definitely get an HVAC system inspection done by a professional HVAC contractor.


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