When a home inspector performs a thorough examination of a home, he or she will walk through the house examining many different things. Additionally, the home inspector will check to see if the HVAC system appears to be working properly, and what the condition of the unit looks like. Based on his or her findings, the inspector might recommend an additional inspection of the HVAC unit and all components.
A much more meticulous and in-depth inspection of an HVAC system can be performed by a qualified home inspector or another licensed professional who possesses ample experience with and knowledge of the highly complex systems. If you are considering a separate HVAC inspection, here's what to know before the inspector comes.
Why it’s Important to Get an HVAC Inspection
When an HVAC system is working well, you probably barely think about it. Just set the thermostat, and enjoy the cool air in the summer, and the comforting heat in the winter. But when an HVAC system isn’t working properly, or at all, you definitely notice right away.
And, unfortunately, a visit from an HVAC technician usually means you’ll be digging deep into your wallet. So the last thing you want is to move into a house with an HVAC system that hasn’t been properly inspected. You certainly don’t want to be surprised with an HVAC failure—aside from the uncomfortable indoor environment due to a lack of heating or air conditioning, you could also be facing a costly repair bill.
If you’re seeking to purchase a home, the home inspector should be able to give you a good idea of the HVAC's condition and can recommend whether or not an additional HVAC inspection is a good idea.
Note: Homeowners can also benefit from an HVAC inspection once a year to help keep your HVAC system well maintained, extending its life, and running in optimal condition, saving you money on energy costs.
If you have an HVAC system that is 10 years old or more and you’ve never had it inspected, now would be a good time. The units are likely no longer covered by a warranty and a lack of maintenance could mean that some components or even the whole unit could need replacement soon.
How Much Does an HVAC Inspection Cost
Prices will vary, but a standard HVAC inspection will normally cost anywhere between $200-$500 depending on the size of the home, the type of equipment that is being inspected, and the type of service performed.
After the initial inspection, you can pay for a yearly or semi-annual inspection which entails a bit less cost. Additionally, dust and debris that gets into the system can cause blockages that decrease air efficiency significantly.
What Does An HVAC Inspection Entail?
The purpose of an HVAC inspection is to provide you with everything you need to know about the furnace and related HVAC appliances. The inspector is usually a licensed HVAC technician that possesses the knowledge and experienced.
Following is a checklist of some of the most important things an HVAC inspector may look for.
- A filter check
- Checking for proper voltage
- Checking all electrical components
- Checking the thermostat and making sure it is properly calibrated
- Checking the installation of the units
- Checking for blockages and gas leaks
- Checking the efficiency of the airflow
- An inspection of the condensate drain for proper drainage and any blockages
- Check to see that all moving parts are sufficiently lubricated
- Check that the blower is functioning properly
- Check that ducts are properly sealed
- Check that the refrigerant pressure is sufficient
- Test the gas pressure
- Test the heating and defrost cycles
- Check that vents are operating properly
- Test the safety controls
The HVAC inspection will also determine whether basements and new additions to the house are also sufficiently heated and cooled (they aren’t always).
All of these components are critical to the health of the HVAC system and the home. The inspector should make note of excessive rust and signs of neglect, which could affect the operation of the entire unit.
At the end of the inspection, the HVAC inspector should discuss his findings and provide a complete report with pictures of components along with detailed explanations.
You can then decide if you want to ask the homeowner to make any necessary repairs or perhaps replace the unit depending on the extent of discovered issues.
Choosing an HVAC Inspector
Before choosing an HVAC inspection service, ask to see a sample report. Take the time to read through it. If the report seems vague and only really lets you know that the system either is or isn’t working properly, you’ll want to choose someone else.
The best inspection reports will not only detail the findings of all areas and components of the HVAC system, but also provide recommendations for repairs or replacement.
Ultimately, you should choose someone you feel comfortable with, and who seems to convey they can address your concerns and provide you with the information you seek.
For more information or for help with a residential home inspection, please call (800) 309-6753 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our experts will contact you promptly. To find a WIN Home Inspection expert near you, please click here.