The HVAC Checklist for Buying a New Home

Home for Sale—what to check with the HVAC system

The start of a new year is the perfect time to purchase a home in Florida (two words: buyer’s market). If you’re in the market for a new home, you probably have a list of all the things you want in your home—four bedrooms, three bath, pool, finished basement, etc. But it’s possible that you haven’t even considered one of the most important components of the home: the HVAC system.

Wouldn’t it be terrible if you got into your new home and realize in the peak of the summer heat that the air conditioning unit doesn’t work properly? The Air Hawk team wants to help you avoid this. We’ve created an HVAC Checklist for Buying a New Home. In it we outline all the important questions you should ask before you sign any paperwork.

How old is the HVAC system?

This is an important question to consider as it will give you an idea of approximately how much longer the HVAC system may continue to run efficiently. On average, systems work best for around 10 to 15 years. Note, an HVAC system that was recently installed, could have set for a period of time beforehand. Depending on where it was stored, issues could arise. We recommend checking the serial number and getting as much information as possible about the age of the system before purchasing your new home.

What is the system’s maintenance and repair history?

Did the previous owners neglect the HVAC system or is there a record of annual maintenance? Knowing the maintenance and repair history will help you better estimate the expected performance of the unit should you purchase the home. Proper maintenance and care are essential to prolonging the life of an HVAC unit. If the system needed frequent repairs, it may be a sign of what you could expect after purchasing the home.

Is the HVAC still under warranty?

Depending on the age of the system, it may still be under warranty. Ask your realtor for the warranty information and find out if the warranty will continue through the sale of the home. It’s possible that the warranty will end with the transfer of home ownership—but it never hurts to ask. Plus, there are options that could transfer the ownership. If you find that ownership can be transferred, be sure to get the documentation so you’ll be aware of what is and what is not covered.

What’s the energy rating of the unit?

Every AC unit should be labeled with a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. Every furnace should have an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating. And every heat pump should have an HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance) rating. These ratings will help you determine the expected efficiency of the system. The higher the number, the higher the efficiency. Of course this should just be used as a reference as other things can impact the actual efficiency of the unit. These ratings will likely also give you some insight into the age of the unit—as newer units are more efficient than older ones.

Who installed the HVAC system?

This might be difficult to track down depending on how many times the home has been sold. If you’re fortunate enough to purchase the home from an owner who can provide this information, it will allow you to verify that the installation was handled by a reputable company such as Air Hawk Heating and Cooling. Be sure to get a report from the inspector verifying that the HVAC unit is performing correctly and there are not any issues such as gas leaks or fire risks.

What are the average utility costs?

While high utility bills could be linked to other issues in the home such as improperly sealed windows or poor insulation, the HVAC system plays a large role in utility costs. Having an understanding of the average utility costs could give you insight into the actual efficiency of the HVAC system. We recommend having an HVAC professional come out and inspect the system to help determine if there are any issues with the HVAC that are causing increased utility costs. Contact Air Hawk for a second opinion.

What is the size of the HVAC system?

As you probably know, HVAC systems are not one size fits all. Larger homes need a more robust system to handle the heating and cooling of the entire area. If the system is too small, it could be the cause of higher utility costs as the unit has to work much harder to properly heat and cool the home. If the unit is too large, it may not effectively dehumidify the home—leading to mildew and mold buildup. The Air Hawk team is available to evaluate the size of the HVAC system if you believe it might be a potential issue.

Buying a new home, while very exciting, can be very overwhelming. We hope that this HVAC checklist list helps take some of stress away. If you have questions or are unsure about the reliability of the HVAC system in your potential new home, give us a call.

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