If you’re considering purchasing a house for the first time, 2019 might be a good time to do this. With greater numbers of homes available and reduced mortgage rates, house buyers have many options to locate the right property than at any point in the recent past.
However, it is not always simple to find a good home. Frequently, purchasing your first house is a bewildering process, accompanied by hidden fees and uncertainty that is not apparent until several months down the line.
In many cases, HVAC equipment is one such hidden fee. If you have rented all your adult life, you are unlikely to have dealt with air conditioning and heating problems — apart from letting the HVAC engineer in when an issue surfaces.
Generally speaking, a brand new furnace will cost between $2000 and $12,000, while an air conditioning system will cost $3500 to $10,000. If you’re searching for a new house, it is vital to take the quality and age of the HVAC unit into account, so you do not wind up spending a fortune on system replacements or additional repairs.
Whether you’re a millennial looking for your first house, a recent homeowner who bought a new property less than a year ago, or an experienced homeowner attempting to locate a second property, purchasing a new house is a significant investment. Here are a few things to think about when assessing a property’s HVAC system:
The Different Units
Firstly, you should inspect the cooling and heating units in the property.
If you notice water marks, rust or other kinds of erosion, or if any odd sounds are audible, the units might be past their use by date.
If the air conditioner was fitted over a decade ago, or if the furnace is over fifteen years old, it might need replacing, particularly if it hasn’t been well maintained. Find out from the owner whether any record of maintenance exists, and read any comments the engineer might have written, to gain more information about the unit.
With units that are too old or in a poor state of repair, talk about replacing these with your real estate agent. You might be able to arrange a reduced purchase price or get the seller to fit a new unit before closing.
If the HVAC system has to be replaced, try to do this as soon as possible. This will spare you expensive repair bills and – because your system accounts for nearly half of your energy bill – an efficient modern system will reduce your expenses and save you cash over the long run.
In time, your house inspector will examine the units and talk to you about any technical issues, however making an effort to identify obvious issues yourself could allow you to avoid investing in the wrong property.
Although you probably are not a qualified HVAC engineer, you can still spot poor quality ductwork.
Be sure to examine the ducts in the attic or basement, along with those that run to the HVAC system. If you notice what many engineers in the HVAC sector have called a ‘Ductopus,’ the chances are that the property’s ductwork might be wrongly sized, old or leaky. Watch out for loose connections, rust, duct condensation, and gaps between the duct connections.
Problems like this can put a strain on your HVAC system, which raises the cost of your utility bills. It shortens the lifespan of your system as well. Fixing ductwork issues, particularly leaking air, is an affordable initiative that will greatly reduce your household bills.
It might not appear significant, however, ask your real estate agent about the property’s insulation. Good insulation will protect you from the elements and give you a comfortable living environment. It also produces a sound and moisture barrier.
When you go into each different room, make a note of how warm it feels.
If any outside drafts are noticeable, or if some rooms are significantly colder than others, the insulation used in those rooms might be inadequate. This is particularly important in properties with extensions, enclosed porches, and conservatories. Try to learn everything possible about the various kinds of insulation used in the property, and whether they are correctly fitted.
Although only insulating a loft might not be costly for many people, insulating an entire house can be expensive. Take your budget into account before buying a property with inadequate insulation.
Leaking air can run up significant repair bills as time passes. If you have recently bought a new property, or you have found one you like the look of, examine the seals on all the windows and doors to ensure they seal securely. Try to test for leaks using an incense stick.
Set an incense stick alight, and move it over the duct connections and window seals. Steady smoke indicates no problem. If it begins to move through, you have leaking air that needs to be sealed so your unit can run more effectively.
Lots of properties have leaking air, and a small number should not put you off an otherwise good house. Just knowing your property will allow you to get more from your investment. Therefore, spend time finding out everything possible, before making a decision.
Don’t forget: Like new homes, HVAC systems should be regarded as a long term investment. When you search for a new property, use these tactics to locate a reliable system.