Before You Buy a House: Get to Know Your HVAC System


Buying a home can be both exciting and stressful. As you make your way to house after house, you may be carrying a long list of things you feel are important to look for in the process. Is the flooring what you want? Is the house close enough to work or school to make sense? Are there enough bathrooms? As you check your list and narrow down your options, there is one other highly important feature of every home to consider: the HVAC system.

A home’s HVAC system can determine both comfort and costs associated with life in the home. Check out a few questions to ask to make sure you have a good idea of what to expect from a home’s HVAC system.

What kind of HVAC system does the home have?

HVAC systems can be a multitude of types, such as:

  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Forced-heat furnaces
  • Boiler systems with radiant lines
  • Zoned cooling systems

Get the specifics about the HVAC system in the home. Find out what model it is and do your research to get to know more about it.

What year was the HVAC system installed and how much has it been used?

You can fully expect to get anywhere between 12 and 15 years of use from the average system, and some systems may last even longer. Ask the seller when the HVAC system was installed and find out if the HVAC system alone was used to heat or cool the home since installation. For instance, some property owners may have a 10-year-old system but heated primarily with secondary wood heat. In such a case, the HVAC system may have several years left to offer.

Who installed the existing HVAC system?

Professional HVAC installation is a big deal. So much so that many manufacturers will only offer a warranty on their system if the system was installed by a certified professional. Be sure to ask who installed the system when examining a home’s HVAC system. If the project was a DIY job, it may be worth taking a closer look at the system to ensure it has the proper layout or setup.

What are the general seasonal costs of HVAC operation?

Before you make an offer on a prospective home, knowing what it costs to live in the home is vital. Remember, as much as 55 percent of energy costs can go toward heating and cooling. If the HVAC system is fully electric, find out what power bills tend to run through the coldest and hottest parts of the year. If the HVAC system’s furnace relies on propane or natural gas, ask the property owner how much fuel the furnace uses. These figures can give you an idea of the efficiency of the system and the efficiency of the home.

Need Professional Guidance on Residential HVAC Systems? 

The more you know about an HVAC system before making an offer on a home, the more you will be in place to make a logical offer. An ailing system may not be a deal-breaker but can be a reason to negotiate a lower overall price. If you need some professional guidance on HVAC assessment, feel free to reach out to us at Paul’s Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. for help.