Are you currently searching for a new home? If so, congratulations on this next chapter in your life! While it can be an exciting time, it can also feel overwhelming. We know how stressful it can be to find a home that meets all your must-haves and is the right size and location for you.
As your local experts in heating and cooling, we understand that buying a house is a big responsibility. Therefore, it’s crucial to know whether the HVAC system in the house is in good condition or not before you move in. You wouldn’t want to encounter an unexpected HVAC expense soon after you’ve already moved in. For this reason, we’ve created a list of five red flags that you can look out for during a house tour to ensure that you are aware of any potential issues. Your professionals at Westerville Air Conditioning & Heating are here to help make this as easy on you as possible.
RED FLAG ONE: WHAT ABOUT THE AGE OF THE HVAC SYSTEM?
If you are looking at an older house, you’ll want to be mindful if it still has its original HVAC system. Older systems may not be energy-efficient and can experience frequent issues. This is because HVAC systems, much like cars, become less efficient as they age. Therefore, even if it is not the original system and just an older one, it is essential to be aware of this beforehand.
Generally, house listings include information about the age of the HVAC system. But in case the listing does not have this information, examining the HVAC units during your tour can give you an approximate idea of their age and condition. Of course, it won’t be a spot-on assessment but more of just a rough idea. For example, if you notice a lot of dust or corrosion on the HVAC unit, it might be a sign that it has not been properly maintained or that it is an older system. Heating and cooling units require annual servicing for maintenance purposes. Therefore, too much dust or rust buildup can be a clear indication that it has not been adequately cared for, or perhaps it is, in fact, an aged system.
Although older HVAC systems are not necessarily bad, it’s important to note that even a well-maintained unit typically lasts 15-20 years. So, if you’re considering buying an older house, keep in mind that you may need to replace the heating or cooling system (or both) in the near future. Knowing this ahead of time could be useful for negotiations.
RED FLAG TWO: DRAFTS OR STUFFY SPACES
As you tour the home, remember to observe the temperature in each room, along with checking its windows, closet space, and other basic details. You might be surprised to notice that some rooms feel stuffy or drafty compared to others, which could be due to several reasons. Being aware of where the house may have air regulation issues can help you prepare ahead of time for the issue to be addressed later. And although it’s not something that may need to be looked at immediately, at least it won’t catch you off guard down the road.
RED FLAG THREE: UNPLEASANT OR MUSTY ODORS
Next, it is also crucial to take notice of any unpleasant or musty smells as they could indicate problems with the ductwork or HVAC system. For this reason, do not ignore any unusual odors that may be coming from the HVAC vents or registers. If you decide to purchase the house, you may even be able to negotiate a duct cleaning to be done first.
RED FLAG FOUR: STRANGE SOUNDS
You should listen for any strange sounds coming from the HVAC system, such as loud rattling, banging, or buzzing. These noises could indicate a potential problem with the system, so it’s important to be aware of them. While it may not necessarily be a deal breaker, you should keep this in mind so that you’re prepared if an issue does arise in the future, and the system needs to be inspected.
RED FLAG FIVE: NO HVAC MAINTENANCE
If you are interested in buying the house after the tour, we suggest you ask for the maintenance and repair records of the HVAC system to understand its history. The records will show if any maintenance or repairs were done before. If there are no records available, it might mean that the system was not properly maintained – another red flag. Also, be cautious if a particular unit has undergone frequent repairs, as this is another detail that should be approached with caution.
THE SOLUTION: WHY SHOULD YOU REQUEST AN HVAC INSPECTION?
Keep in mind that the red flags listed are not meant to discourage you from going after your dream home. Rather, view them as indicators that you should be mindful of so that you can make a well-informed decision, negotiate effectively, and plan for the future accordingly.
Luckily, we provide an HVAC inspection service that sends a NATE-certified technician to the home to inspect the HVAC system and provide a detailed report. If repairs or upgrades are needed, they will be recommended. (This usually can be negotiated into the terms and arranged by the homeowner if you decide to move forward with the house.) Although it may seem like an unnecessary step, this service can help you avoid unexpected issues and headaches later on. Buying a house is a big commitment, and being well-prepared can prevent unpleasant surprises shortly after moving in.
If you need any HVAC services, Westerville Air Conditioning & Heating can help you with all your needs. We are a reliable local HVAC company that would be ecstatic to serve you. You can reach us at (614) 810-0075 or schedule an appointment online now by clicking here!