Buying a home is one of those things that leaves buyers excited. You will need to put a lot into consideration when doing it. When choosing a home, it is important to choose a neighborhood in Alexandria, Virginia with convenient amenities, good schools, and all the things you look for in a perfect home. One thing that many people fail to look at is the HVAC system. Below are some tips that will help you check the HVAC system of a home before buying it.
Conducting a Basic Cost-Benefit Analysis
You don’t want to find yourself spending a lot of money on a new HVAC system after buying a new home. Some people set aside some cash to get an HVAC system and get a good price buying industrial surplus, but many people are not in a position to spend money on the home after paying the down payment. HVAC systems are very expensive and can cost thousands of dollars. You will also have to pay for installation fees. This can be a burden for you, especially after spending a lot on your mortgage.
Evaluating the HVAC Equipment
When touring a prospective home, make sure you inspect the HVAC system. Closely listen for any strange sounds such as hissing or clanging because it could mean HVAC problems. You should also look for cracks, stains, dents, rust, and other damages of the HVAC equipment.
You can ask the homeowner for maintenance records if possible. Many of them are going to be ready to provide you with the records, especially if they have been keeping up with their maintenance appointments.
If the HVAC system is more than 10 years, then it needs to be upgraded. If the home has an old HVAC, you can ask for a discount when negotiating the price. You will be able to negotiate a lower price, and you can use it for HVAC installation. This is a strong negotiation tactic that is going to help you avoid spending thousands on a new system.
Inspecting the Ductwork
Apart from the HVAC unit, you will need to inspect the ductwork in the home to make sure it is in good condition. Look for loose connections, gaps, or signs of condensation. If the ductwork is dusty, it means the homeowners have not been properly maintaining it. This can mean having to change the HVAC system after moving into your new home. Ductwork needs to be maintained properly because it will make the HVAC system last longer.
If the home has indoor air quality add-ons like an air purifier or a dehumidifier, then you are very lucky. If the indoor quality inside the home is poor, you will need to get HVAC additions and duct cleaning after you buy the home because it will help in boosting the airflow.
Asking about Insulation
Another thing you will need to look at is insulation. It is important to find out the type of insulation it has and when it was added. The insulation usually settles after some years, and this is where it needs to be added. If this is not done, drafts and leaks can start developing. When the rooms are drafty, it is more difficult to cool or heat the home evenly. This forces the HVAC system to work harder, and this will lead to increased energy bills.
Look at the Refrigerant Being Used
Older HVAC systems use R-22 refrigerant, and this is what has been banned by EPA. If the home is still running on this refrigerant, you will still be able to use it, but you are going to have a hard time when it is time to find a supply. By 2020, R-22 refrigerant is going to be completely phased out because it will be illegal to produce it. Your options will be replacing or retrofitting the HVAC system before you can start using a safer refrigerant.