Buying a home is stressful in itself, but there are certain aspects of it that complicate the process even more. There are two main features of a home you should spend time researching before buying: the roof and the HVAC system. Because Home-Tech is Southwest Florida’s trusted major appliance and air conditioning repair company, we’re going to focus on what we know best – a home’s HVAC system.
When purchasing a home, how much above your budget do you allow yourself to consider before vetoing it? You probably don’t allow for very much because your budget is your budget, right? Well, HVAC systems are pricey. The national average for an HVAC system replacement is around $9,500. Most people aren’t perfectly okay with spending an extra $9,500 within their first year of living in their new home. That’s why we’ve come up with some tips to help you avoid this replacement cost! Here’s how you should inspect your potential new home’s HVAC system before putting in an offer:
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Visually Inspect the System
Although you won’t know your potential new home’s HVAC system’s health until it’s inspected in-depth, you can get a good idea of the age and upkeep just by looking at it. Does it have rust on it? Is it making loud noises? Does it look like it’s been through multiple bad storms or hurricanes? You’ll gain a good amount of background information on the system by asking if you can see it while taking your first tour of the house.
Check Out the Energy Label
On every HVAC system, there’s a yellow energy guide, which will provide you with valuable information about the system’s energy efficiency ratings and operating costs. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures air conditioning and heat pump cooling efficiency, which is calculated by dividing the cooling output for a typical cooling season by the total electrical energy input during the same time frame.
For reference, an air conditioner with 21 SEER is operating at maximum efficiency. Keep in mind that the label refers to a rating of a brand new unit.
So, unless the system was properly maintained during its lifetime, it’s probably not as efficient as the label states.
Know the System’s Age
Ask the previous homeowners or your real estate agent about how old the HVAC system is. Depending on the manufacturer, most air conditioning units are covered under a warranty between 12 and 15 years. Understanding your budget will allow you to know if you can handle a replacement based on your potential new home’s HVAC system’s age. If the home’s HVAC system is 10-15 years old, you know then you’ll need to be prepared to purchase a new one in the near-ish future. Not to mention, newer air conditioning units are more energy-efficient, which will be evident in your future bills.
Become Familiar with Past Maintenance and Repairs
HVAC technicians typically leave behind job tickets on the system after completing a repair. This leaves a record for future technicians, and in your case, potential new homeowners. You can reference the ticket to understand what was wrong with the system in the past. It’ll also give you an idea if the unit was serviced regularly, including non-problematic services.
If it’s an older system with a long list of repairs, it’s something you’ll want to consider.
Pay Attention to the Air Flow throughout the Home
During your house tour, notice which rooms are stuffier than others. Are there any rooms that feel humid or way too cold? Inconsistencies throughout the house may point to a problem with your potential new home’s HVAC system.
Understanding the Home’s HVAC System
Being aware of your potential new home’s HVAC system situation will leave you more in control of future spending. If the system isn’t in good shape, it may be a good opportunity for negotiation. If you don’t know the HVAC system’s history and current state, you’ll have no idea what you’re getting yourself into!
If you’ve just moved into a new home and are looking for extra protection from expensive repairs, you should consider a Home-Tech Service Agreement (Home Warranty). This allows you to budget for repair expenses and have more control when something goes wrong. A Home Warranty isn’t just for old appliances and systems – even new appliances and AC units can fail when you least expect it. Request a free quote or call us at 800-800-8356 x3.