Jul 6, 2023 | HVAC System, Age, Cooling, Corrosion, Drafty, Ductwork, Dust, Heating, HVAC History, HVAC Inspection, Inconsistent, Maintenance, Noises, Odors, Older System, Registers, Regulation, Rust, Stuffy, Temperature, Unit, Vents

Are you currently searching for a new home? If so, congratulations on this new chapter in your life! While this can be an exciting time, it can also be overwhelming. We understand how important it is to find a home that meets all your must-haves for you and your household. On top of that, we are here to remind you that it’s also important to pay attention to the house’s HVAC system when searching for your potential new home. After all, it’s best to avoid unexpected surprises as much as possible, right? But how will you know what exactly to keep an eye out for unless you are a trained professional? Luckily, your local team at Xenia Heating & Air has created a list of five warning signs, or red flags, as some call them, that just about ANYONE can look out for during a walkthrough when touring a prospective house. 


If you’re interested in an older house and it still has the original HVAC system, it’s important to be mindful that older systems are usually less energy-efficient and more prone to having problems. Now, that is not always the case, but HVAC systems, like cars, lose efficiency as they age. So, even if the system is not original to the home, it’s still important to take its age and condition into account. 

For the most part, house listings will have this information listed in their description, so you should already have an idea of the age of the system before touring the home. But in the case, the listing has no information on the HVAC system, a quick once-over of the HVAC units should give you a rough idea of their condition and possibly their age. For instance, if you see excessive dust or corrosion on a unit, it could mean that it hasn’t been maintained as it should be, or it can even indicate an aged system. Per industry standards, heating and cooling units should be serviced at least once a year for maintenance reasons, so too much dust or rust buildup are dead giveaways that they may not have been taken care of as needed.   

It is important to note that older HVAC systems may still function well, but a well-maintained system will, on average last 15-20 years with proper maintenance. So, if you choose to buy an older house, you may need to replace the heating or cooling system, or possibly both, in the near future. Therefore, recognizing this in advance could benefit you during negotiations. 


As you tour the home, remember to pay attention to the temperature in each room. While you’re checking out the room’s size, windows, closet space, etc., keep an eye out for any rooms that feel stuffier or draftier than others. There could be different reasons for inconsistent air regulation, so it’s important to be aware of it for future reasons, as this particular issue may need to be assessed down the road. 


Next, it’s crucial to take note of any unpleasant or damp odors coming from the HVAC vents or registers, as they may indicate problems with the ductwork or another underlying issue. If you detect any unusual smells coming from the HVAC vents or registers, don’t write them off completely. You might even be able to bargain for a duct cleaning if you choose to move forward with the house, or at the very least, prepare to have it cleaned yourself later on. 


Number four – It’s important to listen for unusual sounds coming from the HVAC system, such as loud rattling, banging, or buzzing sounds. These noises could indicate an underlying issue with the system. While it’s not necessarily a deal breaker, it’s important to keep this in mind so that you are not surprised when it comes time to have the system checked. 


Lastly, if you are still interested in buying the house after the tour, it’s a good idea to ask for the maintenance and repair records of the HVAC system. By reviewing these records, you can see if any past repairs or maintenance have been done. A lack of HVAC records could be a warning sign that the system has not been well-maintained. Also, be cautious if a particular unit has had frequent repairs, as this may indicate potential issues and is another clear red flag. 


Please remember that the red flags mentioned do not necessarily mean you should not pursue your dream home. Just consider them as factors to keep in mind, as they can help you make an informed decision, negotiate, and plan for the future accordingly. 

Fortunately, we provide an HVAC inspection service that involves sending a NATE-certified technician to the house to inspect the system thoroughly. The technician will give a detailed report on the condition of the system and suggest any necessary repairs or upgrades. (This usually can be negotiated into the terms and arranged by the homeowner if you decide to move forward with the house.) Having this inspection may seem unnecessary, but knowing ahead of time what you are getting into, can prevent unexpected issues in the future. When buying a house, it is essential to be well-prepared to avoid a gut-wrenching surprise after moving in. 

If you need any type of HVAC assistance, Xenia Heating & Air can assist you with all your HVAC needs.  You can reach us at (937) 708-8451 or schedule an appointment online now by clicking here!