Heating and Air Conditioning systems are one of the most expensive items that you will replace in a home. Therefore, when you are buying a home, we recommend that you have a HVAC inspection. This inspection will give you a heads-up about the condition of the unit or units and set your expectations for whether or not the unit will need to be replaced soon. Depending on the type of unit you get, it can easily cost you $7-$10,000 per unit. You will want to anticipate this kind of expense when buying a new home.
Who does a HVAC inspection and how much does it cost?
HVAC service providers will perform this type of inspection. Typically, a HVAC inspection is between $70-$100. You will want to hire a licensed, bonded and insured company.
What does the service provider look for during the HVAC inspection?
Inspections may include but are not limited to the following:
For Outdoor Units
- Inspect the unit for proper refrigerant levels
- Inspect base pan for restricted drain openings that indicate obstructions
- Inspect coil and cabinet
- Inspect fan motor and fan blades for wear and damage and proper lubrication
- Inspect control box, associated controls/accessories, wiring and connections. Controls may include contactors, relays, circuit boards, capacitors, sump heat and other accessories. All control box and electrical parts should be checked for wear and damage.
- Inspect compressor and associated tubing for damage.
- Check air filters to see if they have been replaced properly
For Indoor Units
- Inspect clean blower assembly
- Check motor lubrication
- Check combustion blower housing
- Inspect evaporator coil, drain pan and condensate drain lines
- Inspect for gas leaks in gas furnaces
- Inspect burner assembly
- Inspect ignition system and safety controls
- Inspect heating elements
- Inspect control box, associated controls, wiring and connections
- Inspect ductwork and check for leaks
- Monitor system starting characteristics and capabilities
- Listen for abnormal noise
- Search for unusual source of odors
- Measure temperature rise and airflows
- Check vent system for proper operation
Why do I need a HVAC inspection if I got a general home inspection?
A home inspector is a generalist who is responsible for checking a significant amount of items in a home. They are not a specialist when it comes to HVAC units. They will be able to tell you if they are working but do not have the expertise of a HVAC professional to indicate future problems or details that only a HVAC professional would be able to identify. We recommend spending the $70-$100 to avoid possibly paying $8,000-$10,000 soon after purchasing a home if a home inspection did not reveal an issue.
According to Home Warranty Companies, roughly 50% of the claims that they pay are for HVAC systems. These companies also recommend getting a heating, ventilation, and cooling inspection done by a qualified heating and air contractor. Additionally, home warranty companies have identified HVAC units as the most under-inspected items in the entire home inspection process. Generally, the home inspector will only turn on the HVAC system that applies to current weather conditions. For example, if the inspection is done in the summer, the inspector may just test the air conditioning and may not recognize an issue with the heating system.
What type of report do I receive post-inspection?
You should be provided with a systems operation report that outlines the condition of the unit along with any recommendations on repairs or replacement.