When your family is buying a new home, there are a lot of things to take into consideration. What school district is the house located in? What will be the new commute time from home to work? How close are restaurants and grocery stores? Is the neighborhood safe? Along with all these items, consider what shape the house’s systems and lines are in before you make an offer. Are the sewer and water lines built with archaic materials that may soon result in a clog or burst pipe? Will they be able to handle the needs of your family?
As far as systems go, what condition are the air conditioner and furnace in? These two vital home appliances aren’t something your family wants to live without. If these units aren’t working like they should, you may be dealing with a breakdown — or even a replacement — in your not-so-distant future. This could cost thousands of dollars, and this is likely an expense you don’t want to deal with soon after buying a new home.
So, what exactly should you look for in a potential new home’s heating and cooling systems? How can you help ensure that you won’t soon be spending a small fortune to upgrade/repair them?
What is the current condition of the systems?
If the air conditioner and furnace have reached the end of their usable life, you will soon need to replace them before they break down. Generally, air conditioners need to be replaced after a decade, and furnaces should be replaced after 15-20 years. Older systems are not as efficient as more modern options, so the older units may cost you more money each month on utility bills.
Lack of routine maintenance
Additionally, the heating and cooling system may not be that old, but if they weren’t properly taken care of by the previous homeowner, you may have an expensive repair (or two...or three...) in your future. It’s recommended for homeowners to schedule annual maintenance appointments for their air conditioner and furnace. Unfortunately, many people neglect preventive maintenance for these systems since they’re usually “out of sight, out of mind.” Homeowners may not give a second thought to their AC or furnace until there’s a problem.
If possible, check with the previous homeowner to see if they are willing to provide you with the maintenance and/or repair records for the systems. These will come in handy as you weigh the pros and cons of purchasing the home. After all, replacement ACs and heaters are very expensive, and this could sway your buying decision.
Check for leaky ducts
Along with the heating and cooling systems themselves, check the condition of the ductwork and insulating materials found in the home. As you are doing a walk-through of the home, check for any rooms or floors that feel warmer or colder than they should. This could indicate that there may be holes in the ducts, which are allowing air to escape before it flows through all vents in the home.
Holes in the duct are easy enough to seal, but they will require the help of a trained heating and cooling professional. This will be an extra expense to consider if you’re planning to submit an offer on the home. Keep this in mind when preparing your budget.
Is there enough insulation?
As for the insulation in the home, it’s important to have adequate materials between walls, floors, and in the ceiling. This will help prevent hot/cold air from outside getting in, and air inside your home from getting out. If the home feels very drafty in the winter or hot and humid in the summer (depending on which season it is when you’re viewing the property) throughout the home, this may be an indication that the heating and cooling systems are no longer efficient, or it could be a sign that the home doesn’t have enough insulation. Adding insulation to a home can be a costly endeavor, so this may sway your decision when it comes to making an offer on the property.
Moved in? Now protect those HVAC systems!
Once you’ve made the decision to buy a new home, remember to protect your air conditioner and furnace with an affordable protection plan from us. We provide a variety of repair and maintenance plans for heating and cooling systems. When enrolled and a covered repair is needed, simply give us a call and we’ll take care of the rest! Our maintenance plans include a yearly inspection to help ensure your systems continue running efficiently all season long.