Home ownership is a big investment: in time, in money and emotionally. Going through the home buying process for the first time can be overwhelming; there are so many things you must look out for, ask questions about and inspect or investigate. The home’s HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems are an area that’s often overlooked by first time homebuyers because they’re unfamiliar with the equipment and don’t know what questions to ask.
Determine the Type of HVAC System
Most residential homes use furnaces, but some use boilers, heat pumps or air handlers. Don’t assume how the house is heated— ask! It’s important to know what type of system is heating the home and the type of fueled used or required (natural gas, propane or oil). All of these elements factor into general home efficiency and overall home comfort.
Ask the realtor or homeowner to see the paperwork from the HVAC installation. Most home comfort systems last an average of 10-15 years, so knowing when the equipment was installed will give you a good idea of when it will need to be replaced. Keep in mind that some homeowners don’t replace the heating and cooling systems at the same time, so ask to see the records from both installations.
AFUE and SEER Rating
These ratings are critical in understanding how efficiently a system will run. First time homebuyers may not be familiar with the costs associated with heating and cooling a home. Ensuring that the HVAC systems are energy efficient is crucial to keeping monthly energy bills reasonable. Units older than 10 years are going to be significantly less efficient than recently installed equipment. When you’re inspecting the systems, check the labels on the sides of the equipment for the AFUE and SEER ratings.
Warranties and Maintenance Records
Many HVAC manufacturers provide limited parts warranties and some HVAC installers have installation guarantees. Check if the HVAC systems are still covered and if they can be transferred to a new owner. In addition, many manufacturer warranties can be voided if proper, annual maintenance is not performed by a professional. Ask to see the records of annual maintenance and request copies of the documentation if you buy the home.
HAMCO Heating and Cooling Ltd. has been the trust HVAC provider for Hamilton and the surrounding area for over 70 years. We’ve helped many first time homebuyers understand their systems, and we can help you too!
If you are a first time homebuyer and are unsure about the HVAC system in your potential dream home, contact us, we’d love to help!