The HVAC system might not be one of the first things you look at when purchasing a new home in Nacogdoches, Texas. However, making proper HVAC considerations when buying a home can help you create a more comfortable living environment, lower your utility bills, and avoid costly repairs or upgrades in the future. Here are five things to consider when evaluating the HVAC system in your prospective home.
HVAC Age and Maintenance History
An HVAC system has an average service life of 10 to 15 years. However, if you maintain it well, it might work effectively for several additional years. As such, you should ask the seller of the home you're looking at to show you the HVAC unit's maintenance records. These can give you insight into its condition and potential longevity. Make sure the equipment has received annual preventive maintenance, which can be essential for maintaining its manufacturer's warranty and makes it more effective and energy-efficient.
If the HVAC system is more than 10 years old or hasn't been maintained properly, consider replacing it. It's a good idea to hire an HVAC professional to conduct a thorough inspection and give you an accurate estimate of the installation cost. Then, negotiate with the seller to lower the price of the home, so you can cover the cost of replacing the system.
Type of HVAC System
The type of heating and cooling system being used in your potential new home can have a considerable impact on your energy bills. Find out if the equipment contains a furnace or a heat pump and how it's fueled. If it has a heat pump, you should know if it uses electricity or gas. Gas is more affordable in most areas, but electric heat pumps are also highly efficient. A cost-effective system is one that cools with electricity and heats with both electricity and gas.
Even if the HVAC unit in the home you wish to buy is in good condition, it might not be energy-efficient. Having a high-efficiency system can help you save substantially on your energy bills because heating and cooling account for about half of the total energy consumption in an average home.
You can find out the energy efficiency of the air conditioner in your prospective home by looking at its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating. The higher the SEER, the more energy-efficient the unit. The minimum SEER rating in Texas is 14, but some HVAC units have ratings in the low-20s.
Checking the homeowner's utility bills is another way to evaluate the energy efficiency of the existing HVAC system in your prospective home. According to Energy Star, a typical single-family home in the United States spends $2,060 a year on energy bills. If the annual utility bill for the home is significantly higher than the average amount, find out if the air conditioner is the main culprit. Bear in mind that even an inherently energy-efficient HVAC system can contribute to high energy bills if it's poorly maintained or has leaky ducts or faulty components.
Locations of the Indoor and Outdoor Units
Knowing the locations of the HVAC system's indoor and outdoor units can help you prevent unnecessary problems and costs. If the indoor unit is in the attic, for instance, it might cause costly damage to the ceiling if its condensate drain line gets clogged and leaks water. It's less likely to damage your home if it's located in the basement.
The outdoor condensing unit's location also matters. If it's too close to the bedroom windows, you and your family might find the noise bothersome. If it's surrounded by landscaping, you might need to remove or relocate those plants. Also, check the gutters above the condenser. If the gutters are broken or don't exist, water runoff might damage the unit.
There are many HVAC considerations to make when buying a new home. If you want to thoroughly and accurately evaluate the HVAC system in your potential new home, we can help. Contact McWilliams & Son Heating and Air Conditioning at 936-465-9191 to schedule an inspection.
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