Buying your first home is a fun and exciting process, from viewing multiple homes to narrowing your search to the perfect first home. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of shopping for a home to overlook things that could lead to headaches later.
A plumbing and HVAC system inspection are highly recommended once you have found the home you want to purchase. It is a good idea to have your realtor or real estate lawyer include a clause in your purchase offer that states something to the effect of:
“If, after inspection of the plumbing and HVAC systems in the home, it is discovered they require repair/replacement, then the seller will be responsible for all repair/replacement costs or, if the buyer pays for the repairs/replacement, the total amount will be deducted from the purchase price of the home.”
You can also do some initial legwork by asking specific questions about the HVAC system as follows:
1. What type of HVAC system is installed?
It could be a self-contained outdoor HVAC system, a split-system, a heat pump, or a stand-alone furnace with individual AC units in each room.
2. Where does the ductwork run in the home?
In some homes it is in the floors, in others the walls, and in others the ceiling. Look to see where the register vents are located.
3. What type of ductwork is installed?
The type of ductwork installed is an important question to ask. Some homes can have metal ductwork, while others have plastic-wrapped tube-like ductwork.
4. How often does the homeowner change the air filter?
Not all homeowners are great at remembering to change their air filters every two to three months. Some let them get so clogged that it strains the HVAC system, which shortens its expected lifespan.
5. Does the homeowner have accurate HVAC maintenance and service records?
You need to know how often the system was serviced, what work was performed, and who did the work.
6. How old is the HVAC system?
Keep in mind, with a split-system, the AC and furnace may be different ages if they were installed separately.
7. What are the SEER and AFUE ratings of the system?
Both ratings tell you the energy efficiency of the HVAC system. AC units will have a SEER rating, while furnaces will have an AFUE rating.
8. How much are the heating and cooling costs?
Ask the homeowner to provide at least two years of heating and cooling bills so you can determine the average utility costs. Bills that seem to increase one year over the next could indicate a few different things:
- The system is wearing out and not as efficient.
- Energy costs increased.
- The home is not sufficiently insulated AND either 1 or 2 or both.
9. Is the HVAC system under any warranty?
The HVAC system may still be under the manufacturer’s warranty. The homeowner may also have purchased an extended warranty, which may be transferrable.
Other Things to Check
- Turn on the furnace and air conditioning to see how loud it is. You need to know if the system sounds like it is running okay and not excessively loud.
- Check the air filter. Even if the homeowner just changed the filter, still check it. If it looks dirty, this could indicate a dust problem, which could be caused by air leaks in the ductwork.
Last, have your plumbing and AC technician do an inspection of the plumbing and HVAC systems in the home you are interested in purchasing. Getting a second opinion now before closing can give you peace of mind.
To schedule a plumbing and HVAC inspection in Katy, Cypress, and surrounding communities in the Greater Houston Area, please feel free to contact MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning at 281-994-6698 today!
The post The Top 9 HVAC System Questions First-Time Homebuyers Need to Ask appeared first on Met Plumbing.