In mild weather, broken heating or air conditioning might not seem like such a big deal. But come winter or summer, you’ll definitely want your HVAC system working well! Sudden failure of heating or cooling is often due to deferred or improper maintenance. Homeowners and homebuyers who pay for simpler annual HVAC inspections are rarely surprised with a huge repair bill or failure from their furnace or air conditioner.
A full HVAC inspection is a thorough review and assessment of all components related to heating and cooling your home. Home shoppers are well-advised to pay for an HVAC inspection from a specialist, in addition to a home inspection during the home buying process. Read on to learn more about what HVAC inspection includes and what to look for when hiring for one.
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Why get an annual HVAC inspection?
The achilles heel for many homeowners is a “fix it and forget it” philosophy when it comes to appliance maintenance. Waiting until the last hour before a system dies could mean that you're in for some unpleasant news when you finally have a professional assess the damage.
A simplified annual HVAC inspection will actively reduce your need for repairs and improve the energy efficiency and air quality in your home. As a homeowner, you’ll know how your system is doing and won't be surprised when the need for repair or replacement arises.
Can I just do an HVAC inspection myself?
Unless you’re a licensed HVAC technician, chances are you won’t have the knowledge to perform an inspection that is as thorough and sharp-eyed as would a professional. On the flip side, you will gain an advantage by understanding what technicians look for when inspecting your furnace and air conditioning system.
Why do warranties mandate annual maintenance?
It’s easy to discount advice about HVAC inspections when it is coming from an HVAC repair company. We promise that we have your best interests in mind! The truth is that furnace and AC manufacturers have designed their products with annual maintenance intended. Parts will wear out and dust and particles can cause blockages and energy inefficiency without regular inspection and maintenance.
If your machines are more than 10 years old, you might even consider having an HVAC inspection performed in both spring and fall. Once systems hit this age, replacement is often recommended over paying for major repairs. Warranties commonly do not cover damage caused by improper maintenance.
How much should an HVAC inspection cost?
The services included in an HVAC inspection vary among companies, and the number of services included will affect the price. For a true, very thorough HVAC inspection during the home buying process, you’ll find prices ranging from $200-450. For a simpler exam recommended annually, you’ll find these services called “tune-ups” or “check-ups.” More specific services will be called “furnace inspection” or “AC inspection,” and they will run you somewhere between $80-150.
The information you gain from that inspection can give you reasonable cause to request a home warranty or replacement of the furnace or air conditioner - especially if you’re making an offer on a new home. In a buyer’s market, you might be able to have the seller pay for the HVAC inspection. In most seller’s markets, however, you’ll likely need to eat this expense.
Doesn’t the home inspector look at the HVAC, too?
Yes, a home inspection contractor will evaluate the fitness and repair of home HVAC appliances, but they also have a lot of territory to cover during the inspection time. An HVAC inspector will open up the furnace and do a much more in-depth assessment of these critical and expensive home appliances.
Though many home inspectors are extremely thorough, they are not required to have the in-depth specialized knowledge that comes standard with a HVAC inspection. If you are shopping for an older or historic home, you will want as much information as possible about upcoming expenses to your HVAC system.
How can you hire a good HVAC inspector?
You’re on this blog right now to find out, so you’ve already checked the box for being an informed consumer! Before you schedule a date and time, call a place or three to find out what services their HVAC inspection includes and the cost. You shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to learn pricing. Use our checklist as a reference for services included.
What is included in an HVAC inspection?
If you’re paying $200 or more for an inspection, you want to make sure you’re getting a good one. A quality HVAC inspection from a licensed contracted technician/inspector should include at least half of these checks. Services included during an inspection vary from company to company, and the inspection price will fluctuate accordingly. Here are the main points that will be included during an HVAC inspection:
- Voltage testing and checking electrical components for failures.
- Lubricate moving parts.
- Check filter.
- Inspect condensate drain for blockages.
- Check thermostat settings and test calibration.
- Check electrical connections.
- Inspect the quality of installation.
- Inspect the condition of your HVAC appliances.
- Test safety controls.
- Test for problematic airflow through the home.
- Inspect components of blower.
- Check refrigerant pressure.
- Test gas piping and pressure
- Test heat pump heating mode and defrost cycle
- Inspect the condensate drain for clogs and blockages
Buyer beware: if you get a crazy cheap deal on an inspection, it’s probably too good to be true. The power of a dollar goes far in the HVAC inspection world, so a good rule of thumb is that you get what you pay for.
Professional HVAC Inspection and Maintenance
If you are looking for a licensed contractor for a home HVAC inspection, John C. Flood has reputable HVAC professionals ready to meet your need. Call us to schedule your HVAC inspection today!