Do I Need to Check the HVAC System When Buying a Home?
Will you lose money because of an old air conditioner or furnace when you sell your home? And what should you be looking for in an HVAC system as you prepare to purchase a new home? Why consider HVAC when buying or selling a house? Too often, new homeowners focus on things like wallpaper/paint or carpeting. Comparatively, those are much easier and much cheaper to replace.
Why take chances with something that could cost you over $10,000 if you don’t carefully vet the system before selling or purchasing? The good news is, there are easy steps you can take to learn a lot about an HVAC system to help you make a good decision when buying or selling. The bottom line is that you want to get the most out of your investment regardless of which side of the sale you’re on.
The only thing a seller has to disclose in regard to HVAC is whether or not the system is working. Beyond that, it’s the responsibility of the prospective buyer to figure out whether or not the heating and cooling system is an asset or a liability.
A home inspection should occur with any new home purchase, but I’m actually here to tell you that this isn’t a good way to determine an HVAC system’s health. Why not? Simply put, the inspector is likely a general contractor, not an HVAC specialist, and usually, the only thing they’re looking for is whether or not the system turns on and runs. This is the bare minimum and isn’t enough to tell if a system is going to be costing you money soon or if it’s one that will help you live comfortably in your new home for years to come.
The easiest thing to do is determine the age of the HVAC system.
How? The serial number should always be on the side of both indoor and outdoor units. Importantly, the age might be different for the air conditioner/heat pump and furnace, so make sure you’re checking both. And how old is too old? That’s a personal decision, but anything at or above 15 years is likely going to need to be replaced within the next five years. Even before that, older systems can cost you money if they haven’t been properly maintained.
While it’s harder for you to determine its overall health, there are still ways to do just that.
You’re well within your rights to have a system inspected by a professional HVAC contractor. They can provide a more detailed analysis of things like corrosion, leaks, and other problems that might cost you time and money.