Thinking of buying your first home? There’s a lot to consider.
Owning a home is different than renting an apartment. You’ll be in charge of everything. Yes, you can paint the rooms any color you desire. You can start DIY projects anytime you desire.
But you’ll quickly find the most exasperating part of home ownership is waking up to “surprises” that you wish would never happen.
Like a furnace that won’t turn on during the first blizzard of the year. Or the air conditioner that stops operating as the temperatures creep towards 100.
A lot of those problems could have been prevented if you’d taken a second look at the HVAC system when deciding whether to buy a house or not. What should you look for?
The system – Here along the Front Range, most homes have gas-forced HVAC systems. Both the furnace and air conditioner operate using natural gas. That may be the majority, but it isn’t the only system. Occasionally, you’ll find a house that uses a boiler system or a heat pump. What type of HVAC system you have will determine how high your utility bills climb when you use your system most.
The age – Age is everything when it comes to your HVAC system. As heating and cooling equipment reach ten years or more, they start losing their efficiency. The older the equipment is, the greater chance you’ll run into problems and require more repairing throughout the year.
The efficiency rating – Every furnace is produced with an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE), while a heat pump operates under a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). The higher the rating, the more efficient the system is. You can also look for more advanced features such as variable speed blower motors.
The warranty – As a part of the inspection process, be sure to ask the current homeowner about the warranty. Every furnace comes with a warranty, and to keep it valid, certain requirements must be met. If can be voided if improper maintenance has occurred; be sure the current homeowner ran regular maintenance checkups on the system and has evidence of the visits. If you gain access to these checkup reports, it can also give you an idea of where problem spots are.
Are you a first-time homeowner confused about the HVAC systems? We’d be happy to answer any questions you have.