April 10, 2020

An HVAC system works hard to keep your family warm in the winter and cool in the summer, making it a vital part of your family’s comfort. That’s why you need to pay special attention to the existing HVAC system when buying a new home. Follow these tips for assessing the condition and efficiency of the HVAC system before putting in an offer or making a final decision about a home.

Visually Inspect the HVAC System

You can gain a lot of information from a visual inspection. Here’s what you should look for:

  • Signs of rust, water stains, or other visible defects. These are telltale signs that the system is weathered and worn and may require replacement or repairs.
  • Uninsulated and/or poorly sealed ductwork. Uninsulated and/or poorly sealed ductwork is a common cause of heat loss in the winter. Check the ducts leading to all parts of the home, as well as, any ductwork that runs through crawl spaces or unheated areas of the home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the heat loss from poorly sealed and uninsulated ductwork can cost you hundreds of dollars on your heating or cooling bill each year.
  • Condition of the unit. Check the furnace and the outside AC unit for any visible signs of deterioration or damage.

Listen to the HVAC Unit

HVAC units do make noise, but you should not hear clangs, bangs or squeals either during startup and shutdown or when the unit is running. Unusual or strange sounds from either the AC unit or the furnace are a sign that something is wrong with the unit. If you hear noises that aren’t easily explained, it is well worth your time to investigate them further.

Check the Energy Label

Fortunately for you, the HVAC unit should have an energy label that states the energy use of the unit. This can give you a good idea of what your energy costs will be. Asking for prior fuel bills is another way to assess how much energy you are likely to use to heat and cool your home.

HVAC units do make noise, but you should not hear clangs, bangs or squeals either during startup and shutdown or when the unit is running.

Check the Comfort Level in Each Room

Don’t rely on the comfort of just one room as an indicator of how well the HVAC unit heats and cools the home. Check each room and pay special attention to cool spots and drafts. DOE recommends assessing the air return in each room, too. Proper air return keeps a neutral pressure in the home, keeping all rooms at a comfortable temperature. Here’s how to check for airflow:

  • Close all outside windows and doors.
  • Close the doors to all rooms.
  • Turn on the HVAC unit.
  • Open the door, a crack in individual rooms, and observe whether the door swings open or closed. If the door moves on its own — to either close or open — this indicates the room has restricted airflow and may need pressure relief.

Issues uncovered during an initial assessment should be discussed with your realtor. You may be able to negotiate repairs or a replacement by the owner or negotiate a lower purchase price. Once you are in and settled and ready for a full inspection and assessment of your HVAC system, our professionals at Buckeye Heating & Cooling are ready to help. Contact us today to arrange an appointment.

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