Tips for Assessing an HVAC System Before Buying a Home | Columbia HVAC
Written by Columbia Heating & Cooling

Tips for Assessing an HVAC System Before Buying a Home

Picture this: in the height of summer, you’ve purchased your new home. Couches awkwardly pivot through doorframes, your pots and pans sit on kitchen counters, and boxes spill out of every room. The move-in mess makes the house feel just that much more your own.
With sweat beading at the top of your lip, you search for the air conditioner controls. Seeking cool comfort as you continue to unpack, you switch on the system only to find…

…absolutely nothing happens.

All too often, HVAC is overlooked in the inspection process resulting in expensive surprises.

So how do you assess HVAC units before purchasing a new home? We’ve put together a list of helpful hints.

Type & Source

First things first: figure out what kind of HVAC your potential new home has in place. Older houses typically host boilers and heat pumps, while new builds have scrolling compressors or a condensing furnace. The average system has a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Ask how old the HVAC unit is to gauge the likelihood of needing to purchase a replacement.

Bonus: Find out what powers your HVAC. Knowing whether it is fueled through gas, electricity, or geothermal energy is handy when figuring future costs.

History & Warranty

How well an HVAC has been cared for can impact its longevity. The more information you can collect about the maintenance history of a system, the better off you’ll be. Information like when the HVAC was installed, how often it has been serviced, and by who can clarify how long a unit will last. A reliable business (like Columbia HVAC!) can make all the difference in preventing hazards such as fire risk and gas or CO2 leaks.

Bonus: If you’re able to access warranty information, read it with care. A change in ownership can terminate coverage.

Look & Listen
While a paper trail of a system’s history is helpful, visually evaluating an HVAC unit is equally (if not more) important. Look for rust, gaps in duct work, and signs of decay. Even to the untrained eye, these are clear indications of an unhealthy HVAC and should be cause for concern.

Bonus: Turn on the HVAC when doing a walk through to listen for any banging or clunking noises, as this may also be indicative of a performance issue.

Efficiency & Costs
Asking the seller of your house-to-be about their average heating and cooling expenses can give you an idea as to whether the HVAC is efficient. While above average costs may correlate to a small HVAC working harder and longer to achieve desired temperatures, air leaking from doors and windows can also impact charges (more on this below).

Bonus: Mold and mildew can be the result of an oversized unit failing to dehumidify the air. If you’re unsure about the size or efficiency of an HVAC, the experts at Columbia Heating and Cooling are here to help.

Doors & Windows
Even if the HVAC in your potential new home passes inspection with flying colors – you may still be in for some trouble. An average home loses around 30% of its HVAC energy through poorly sealed doors and windows that allow for air-leaks. Make sure your HVAC inspection includes a look at the insulation, doors, and windows to ensure nothing goes to waste. Our HVAC experts can help evaluate the overall energy efficiency of your home.

While everyone dreams of a perfect home with fully functioning appliances and infrastructure – this isn’t always the reality. When problems or questions arise, let Columbia Heating and Cooling help you to assess your options. Quality products coupled with exceptional service is our promise to you. Call Columbia Heating and Cooling today and get one step closer to total comfort!