A real estate home inspection can uncover problems throughout a property, like in the electrical system or HVAC system.
What issues are commonly found?
When you are preparing to put your home on the market, getting ready to purchase a home, or wanting to learn more about the home that you are living in, scheduling a professional home inspection is an excellent idea. Many systems will be examined during your inspection, including electrical systems, ductwork, and the HVAC system. Some homebuyers are confused as to whether or not a real estate inspection is really necessary before purchasing a home. In other cases, homeowners might be interested in learning more about their home and concerned that something is wrong with their HVAC system. Here’s what you should know the value of a home inspection and the most common heating and cooling issues found during an examination.
1. Poor Ventilation or Inadequate Ventilation
Indoor air quality is essential to the health and well-being of your family. While many people think of their HVAC system as the furnace and the air conditioning unit, the ventilation portion plays an important role in the functionality of the system. During your real estate inspection, all components of the ventilation system are examined.
Older houses were built before there were strict housing codes that regulate best practices for ventilation. One of the common issues discovered during a home inspection is a bathroom fan or bathroom vent that is connected to the attic instead of the roof. If the moist, warm air from your bathroom vents into the attic, it can lead to mold. Mold can damage the roofing material and also degrade the air quality of your home.
2. Issues with the Heat Exchanger of Your Furnace
One of the central components of any furnace is the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger helps to separate the internal combustion process from the warm air that flows through your vents. The heat exchanger can be cracked or damaged as it ages. Cracked heat exchangers are a serious HVAC hazard, as they can emit carbon monoxide.
Even if you have a carbon monoxide detector present at your real estate property, it might not be properly placed to detect the gas as quickly as possible. Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to serious health problems up to and including death. Replacing a heat exchanger can be a major investment, so uncovering issues during a pre-purchase home inspection might factor into your decision.
3. Outdated or Old Equipment
One of the biggest reasons why HVAC systems fail soon after a real estate property transfers hands is age. Furnaces and air conditioners generally last between 10-15 years. If your home inspector uncovers a unit that is already close to or within that age span, you should be prepared to invest in repairs or a replacement in the near future. Older units can have longevity with proper care, but that is not a guarantee unless you have the maintenance records.
4. Leaking from the Furnace or the Air Conditioner
Scheduling a home inspection is valuable for many reasons, whether it’s part of a real estate transaction or to pinpoint potential issues in a home you’ve lived in for many years. Sometimes things that you might walk by, like a small amount of moisture or condensation on the ground, can indicate much larger issues.
Leaks in an air conditioning system allow expensive refrigerants or dangerous gases to escape. If your furnace has cracks or leaks, it can indicate clogged tubing, a blocked drain, damage to the condensation line, or problems with a condensate pump. More concerningly, water leaks from an air conditioner or heating system can lead to mold if repairs are not taken care of. If you’re purchasing the home, you might need to deal with furnace repair and mold remediation.
5. Dirty or Clogged Coils
The exterior unit of your air conditioner has coils that help to optimize the efficiency of the unit. If they have not been cleaned or appear to be clogged, it can prevent proper airflow and lower the unit’s energy efficiency. When you’re moving into a new home you won’t have a benchmark for what normal energy bills are, which means you might end up overpaying due to the unit’s inefficiency.