HVAC systems: every home has one, yet no one thinks about it until there lies a problem. With HVAC bills appearing to be more and more expensive these days, it's important to ask necessary questions ahead of time until your HVAC system has a serious problem and a serious bill. Yes, HVAC systems typically exist in a hidden part of the back yard, yes they're ugly, and yes they're complicated, but this doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't ask yourself three legitimate questions regarding it.
First, how old is the system? An HVAC system is usually good for 10-15 years. After 10 years, however, you should expect repairing issue to arrive, as well as take the necessary precautions to make sure the home is safe. While old equipment might need fixing, this doesn't necessarily mean the house is unsafe to live in, however. Many HVAC systems can be broken for decades before they become unsafe. Just know that as time passes, you should factor in the increasing costs one might have to pay for the system.
Next, does your HVAC have a warranty? Many systems claim they come with a lifetime warranty, but are actually invalid when a homeowner signs a new contract. Other systems and companies offer warranties with a short transfer window, which allow a homeowner to replace the system before they sell their home. Or sometimes, there will be a warranty expiration date in fine print that one won't even notice. Always ask what the situation with the HVAC's warranty is before buying. It's smart to know as much about the system as possible, so you won't have to worry in the future.
Lastly, ask to see the evaluation from the most recent HVAC inspection. Almost always, a general home inspector will say that the system is sound and up-to-date. Because home-inspections have to cover so much ground, they rarely cover the HVAC system in detail. Unless there's a visible issue from the outside, the HVAC system will pass a home inspection. If you ask for a specific HVAC system inspection, you will be provided information for any pre-existing problems and how they were taken care of. Also ask what the date of the last inspection was, and, if this doesn't line up with the timeframe, the homeowner could have neglected a plethora of other things.
While it might seem petty and minute to question your HVAC system, this could save you a lot of time, money, and headaches in the future if you choose to take note of your system's condition. Hopefully, precautions like this will help you become a more proactive home buyer, and allow you to discover problems before buying that you would discover several years into owning a home.