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Buying a home is typically the biggest (and most exciting) purchase of your life! A substantial financial investment, acquiring a home takes research, time and money. Numerous details go into house hunting, and once your dream home is found, there are many more tasks to be completed before closing.

Electrical, appliances, siding and roofing always receive special attention and focus from both homeowners and inspectors. An often neglected yet very significant item to note on your pre-purchase to do list is to evaluate the quality and function of the HVAC system.

The HVAC system comprises the heating, ventilation and air conditioning units that keep you and your family comfortable all year round.

Here are five items to consider regarding HVAC systems before purchasing your new home:

Age of the HVAC System

How old the HVAC system is remains one of the most important questions when purchasing a potential home. With the lifespan of newer models lasting 20 or more years, older systems may start to deteriorate at a mere ten. Knowing the age of the HVAC system can provide you a good estimate of life expectancy so you can plan for the upcoming cost of a new system.

A home with an older system doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, but having that knowledge can empower you to negotiate the asking price to adjust for the cost of replacing it down the line.

Maintenance History

The current homeowners should be able to provide you a history of HVAC maintenance. Not only does this give you, the buyer, a glimpse into upkeep (annual check ups are a must to keep HVAC systems running smoothly), but excessive maintenance calls can be a red flag. Having these additional records can provide you extra insight into the true health of the system.

System Efficiency

Heating and cooling efficiency can be measured and can not only make a huge difference in the lifespan of your system, but also how much you can expect to pay per month on utilities.

Heating efficiency is measured using the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating system. AFUE is calculated by taking the heat generated from a furnace and dividing by the amount of fuel it uses to produce. The higher the percentage, the more efficient the unit is, leading you to cost savings on your energy bills.

For cooling, efficiency is measured using Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating. SEER takes the amount of cooling going out divided by the energy it uses to produce. Like AFUE, a higher SEER rating indicates a more efficient machine. Generally speaking, newer models with good ratings are more efficient, cost-saving systems.

In addition to understanding AFUE and SEER ratings, it’s perfectly acceptable—and recommended—to request to see utility bills. By viewing previous statements, it will provide you a realistic picture of what you’ll expect to be paying on a monthly basis. Seeing exceptionally high utility bills is usually a sign that either the house is old and not well insulated, or that the HVAC system does not work efficiently—or a combination of both.

Mold-Free Ductwork

Ducts go through the entire house and their sole job is carrying heat and cool air to keep the house comfortable. It is vital to have the ducts thoroughly inspected before closing on your new home to ensure they are leak-free, not harboring any type of mold and aren’t laden with decades of dust.

Ask An Expert

With so many items on your home purchase to do list, why not have the experts help with what they do best? By having an HVAC pro inspect the health and history of your soon to be system, a simple inspection can give you the peace of mind knowing your home purchase doesn’t come with any surprises.

Request an Appointment

Just moved into a new house? We’d love to perform a routine check-up and maintenance to ensure your HVAC system is working properly. Contact us today to learn more or to set up a consultation!

Sources: Dwell, Service Champions, Trane