Buying A New Home? Consider The HVAC System Too!
Buying a house can be an intimidating undertaking. While you are probably excited to be looking for a new home, it’s also likely that you feel anxious about buying a good property where you can move in and live without too many hassles or headaches. One aspect to consider is buying a house with an old HVAC.
Five Things About HVAC Systems in Any New Home
- 1 Five Things About HVAC Systems in Any New Home
- 2 Some Other Items To Consider
- 3 Ask Lawes Company To Handle Your HVAC Requirements
There are some factors to take into consideration when it comes to a heating and cooling system when you’re in that home buying process. Here are the top five!
1 – Evaluate all HVAC Equipment
When you start the walkthrough of a potential new home for yourself, make sure you don’t neglect a thorough inspection of all its heating and cooling equipment. First, look for signs of rust, any dings and dents, if there are water stains around it, or any cracks in the unit. Turn the furnace on to be sure it works, and then do the same for the air conditioner. Listen closely for any sounds like banging, hissing, or grinding.
Look at the age of any installed units. Nowadays, heating and cooling systems should last around 15 years before they will need replaced, although some may even last for 20- plus years if they’re given the proper maintenance. Ask to review maintenance records the homeowner has for the HVAC units. If the system is greater than 15 years, you might want to consider the cost of a replacement in your budgeting. Another excellent idea is to ask a professional to give you an assessment. A technician from Lawes Company would be happy to let you know if it’s in good working order.
2- Carefully Examine any HVAC Ductwork
Just like heating or cooling equipment, ductwork is not going to last forever. Inspect all of the ducts where it’s possible to do so. Try to access an attic or the crawlspace, where you can look for gaps in the ductwork. Check every HVAC vent to make sure the ducting material is firmly connected at every joint.
Look inside any accessible ducts to determine if there’s an accumulation of dirt. Watch for signs of mold growth in them. Dust is not difficult to remove, but it’s a sign of neglect if you find a lot of it. Mold, however, is a bigger problem. That means excess moisture is present within the ductwork, and this can be a sign of probable failure down the line.
3- Ask About the Insulation
It’s imperative to know just how much insulation a house has as well as when the insulation was installed. If the insulation is not an adequate amount or the right type, that house won’t be energy efficient. This will likely mean you will be paying higher energy bills there. If insulation was installed many years prior, it’s probably now settled and will need more insulation added to meet the need. Real estate agents may or may not have that kind of information on hand. If they don’t, you should ask your agent to pass your question on to the seller for you.
When you are walking through the house, assess how comfortable the environment feels. Do you notice any drafts when you walk past a window or near the door? Does one room seem to be considerably hotter or a lot colder than another? Can you detect mustiness or catch a whiff of stale air?
4- Don’t Forget About Refrigerant
What refrigerant does the home’s HVAC system use? An older system could be using R-22. This was commonly used for many years. However, the EPA has banned its use in newer cooling systems. Homeowners that have existing units that still use R22 will find it more difficult to find and more costly to purchase. Find out if you will need to retrofit any existing unit for new refrigerant or if it will be required to replace the whole unit.
5 – Consider The Price Tag Of Energy Costs or Replacement
If you buy a house that needs its heating and cooling system replaced, make sure to have a cash reserve that can handle it. Purchasing a home that has an old, worn-out system puts you at a high risk of living through this scenario.
You may also want to consider what the system costs to run it yearly. A homeowner should not have any issue showing you the energy bills so you can see what they have been for the past year or two. Abnormally expensive energy bills will likely mean that the home’s heating and cooling system is not well maintained and may even be about to quit entirely.
These five tips should help you decide if a potential new home’s heating and cooling system is something that could hold you back from that purchase. A smart option is having a reputable HVAC company provide a professional assessment of the HVAC system when you are in that home buying process. To set up an appointment for an inspection, you can contact Lawes Company today.
Some Other Items To Consider
Additional things to look into around the home where it concerns the heating and cooling system are as follows.
Go Room by Room
Walk through the place, paying close attention to the temperatures and levels of moisture from room to room. Do you notice any drastic changes in any rooms or in particular areas of the house? Some common reasons for irregular temperatures in different rooms include blocked or leaking ductwork, a furnace or air conditioning unit that isn’t big enough for the job, blocked vents, inadequate insulation, or an ancient, struggling HVAC system.
How is the Vent Flow?
Notice where any vents are located and assess them for intake as well as outflow. Do you detect consistent airflow coming through the vents? Does the air vary from any of the vents or from room to room? A few common reasons for lower airflow in a home’s vents are blocked, dirty air ducts, leaking ductwork, a restrictive HVAC filter, grimy, clogged air filters, or ducts and vents that are of an incorrect size.
Don’t forget HVAC Zoning
Are there numerous heating and cooling zones within the building? If there are not, is the current system suitable for zoning if you choose that setup? This is a good question to pose to the realtor. If he or she does not know, ask them to inquire about it.
What is the HVAC System’s Age?
Gather information on the age of the installed HVAC system. Be sure to ask what year it was installed. Look into that specific unit’s model and gather all the facts about how long the model of HVAC system typically will last. It may seem like an older HVAC system when it really has several few years left to operate well. Air conditioners generally last for close to 15 years, and furnaces may need to be replaced, on average, between 15 – 20 years.
HVAC Maintenance History
Check with the current homeowner for the entire home’s maintenance and repair history, if possible. This is going to help determine where you come into the maintenance plan as well as how the HVAC system has been historically maintained. Old HVAC systems that were not properly maintained will be far more prone to break down. Typically, those will need replaced sooner than a maintained unit.
Service Plans and Warranty
Does the HVAC system carry a service plan on it or is it still under warranty? Of even greater importance, is the plan transferable to a new owner or could you use the plans in place? Ask the current owner or your realtor about this information. Sometimes, you can have the current homeowner provide you with a 1-year home warranty that will cover an HVAC system or other appliances if they fail.
HVAC Equipment Manuals
Be sure that you collect HVAC equipment manuals if they are available. If the manuals aren’t available, get the model and the serial number of the unit because most manuals can now be digitally downloaded from the Internet. Manuals will provide helpful insight on the unit.
Thermostats and Smoke Detectors
Thermostats as well as any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors need to be checked during any inspection. It’s wise to ask about the age, models, and capabilities of these items so you can decide whether you should replace them or not, depending on their lifespan expectancy.
A Physical Inspection of the HVAC System
Look the system over with an eye out for dust and rust, and an ear for any odd noises. The smallest warning sign could be an indicator of a developing issue that could cost you a lot with a heating and cooling system. If you’re genuinely interested in buying the house, it’s a wise plan to contact an HVAC professional first and ask them for a full inspection before you commit to it.
So, some questions to ask are: Is this system worth keeping? Should I replace it completely? What will it cost to install a brand new system? They are costly; so try to negotiate the price of one into the cost of the house if needed. Or, set aside some extra funds to replace an older or unsafe system.
Ask Lawes Company To Handle Your HVAC Requirements
Lawes Company can provide you with outstanding heating and cooling services in and around Monmouth and Ocean Counties, New Jersey. Our team is made up of the greatest certified technicians in the area. They can provide you with exceptional HVAC tune-up work, quality repairs, smooth installations, and cost-effective replacements. All of our techs have the knowledge as well as the experience to handle your HVAC system needs.
Lawes Company guarantees competitive heating and cooling service prices. Our maintenance services are going to improve comfort, increase energy efficiency and also reduce home heating and cooling costs. If you require HVAC repair or a replacement system, we can recommend the best solution for you, while working within your budget. All of our work comes with a guarantee. If you’re ready to schedule a service appointment, call Lawes Company. Don’t forget to ask about our free, in-home estimates.
Contact us now at (732) 741-6300 to find out more!