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7 min read Jan 11, 2024

HVAC Inspection: Why It Is Necessary For a Homebuyer

The U.S. HVAC services market size stood at $25,221.3 million in 2022. Experts expect it to achieve a 4.5% CAGR from 2022 to 2030, to reach $35,971.7 million by 2030. The figure illustrates the increase in HVAC inspection awareness and popularity among people.

If you also plan to buy a house, it’s a good idea to have an HVAC inspection before you close the deal. This can help you avoid extra expenses in the future.

HOW HVAC INSPECTION HELPS YOU

  • Ensure Safety: HVAC inspections help ensure that home heating and cooling systems are operating safely. This reduces the risk of hazards like gas leaks or electrical issues in the house.
  • Measure Energy Efficiency: Inspections identify inefficiency and the need for system repair or adjustment.
  • Preserve your Wealth: Early detection of HVAC problems can prevent major breakdowns of devices. This can save your money on expensive repairs or replacements.

What Is an HVAC Inspection?

An HVAC inspection is a detailed check of a building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. These inspections are done to ensure these systems work well and are safe for a long time.

Only certified HVAC inspectors do the inspection. They figure out the age of the HVAC system and evaluate the cleanliness and condition of each electrical component.

Why You Need an HVAC Inspection?

An HVAC inspection is vital to ensure the safety, efficiency, and durability of heating and cooling systems. It contributes to a comfortable and healthy living environment.

Regular inspections help to find and fix issues, which prevents costly breakdowns. This proactive approach ensures a reliable and efficient HVAC system to ensure your homes’ well being.

How to Hire a Good HVAC Inspector? 

Check these parameters before you hire a quality HVAC inspector:

  • Qualifications: Ensure that the inspector is licensed, certified, and can perform HVAC system evaluations in your area.
  • References: Ask for referrals from friends, family, or real estate agents who have used certified HVAC inspectors in the past.
  • Reviews: Check online reviews and ratings to gauge the inspector’s reputation.
  • Interview: Speak with potential inspectors to assess their knowledge, and willingness to work.
  • Sample Report: Request a sample inspection report to understand the depth and clarity of their reporting.
  • Insurance: Verify that the inspector carries liability insurance to cover any potential damages.
  • Credentials: Ensure that the inspector is up to date with the latest industry standards and practices.
  • Agreement: Review and sign a clear agreement that outlines the inspection’s scope, cost, and date.

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Important HVAC System Safety Checklist

Check out the important HVAC inspection checklist.

Furnace Inspection

  • Burner Inspection: Check the burner for proper ignition, flame quality, and efficiency.
  • Heat Exchanger Examination: Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks or damage, which can lead to carbon monoxide leaks.
  • Ventilation Verification: Ensure that the flue and ventilation system remain clear and function correctly.
  • Thermostat Calibration: Verify that the thermostat maintains accurate and proper calibration to ensure consistent heating.

Air Conditioning System Inspection

  • Refrigerant Levels: Check and adjust refrigerant levels as needed to optimize cooling efficiency.
  • Coil Maintenance: Clean and inspect the condenser and evaporator coils to prevent dirt and debris buildup.
  • Electrical Component Check: Inspect wiring and electrical components for any signs of wear, damage, or overheating.
  • Drainage Inspection: Ensure proper drainage which prevents water damage and mold growth.

Air Flow Inspection

  • Ductwork Examination: Inspect ductwork for leaks, obstructions, or damage that may hinder airflow.
  • Air Filter Maintenance: Check the clean air filters that maintain optimal airflow and indoor air quality.
  • Vent and Register Care: Ensure vents and registers are obstruction-free. Position them correctly to maintain efficient airflow.
  • Balancing Airflow: Make sure that the air flows evenly in different parts of the house to keep the temperature the same.

Common Problems Found in HVAC Inspection

The HVAC inspectors often uncover a range of common problems that can affect the performance of the HVAC system. Some of the typical issues found in HVAC evaluation are:

  • Dirty or Clogged Filters: These filters, if not regularly replaced or cleaned, can restrict airflow, reduce system efficiency, and worsen indoor air quality.
  • Refrigerant Leaks: Low refrigerant levels can result in reduced cooling capacity and increased energy consumption.
  • Electrical Problems: Faulty wiring, loose connections, or worn electrical components can pose safety hazards and cause system malfunctions.
  • Thermostat Issues: An inaccurate or malfunctioning thermostat can lead to inconsistent temperature control and energy waste.
  • Clogged Condensate Drains: Blocked condensate drains can cause water leakage. This leads to water damage and mold growth.
  • Heat Exchanger Cracks: In furnaces, cracked heat exchangers can release carbon monoxide into your home. This can pose a serious health risk for you.
  • Ductwork Leaks: Leaky ducts can reduce system efficiency and waste energy by allowing conditioned air to escape.
  • Inadequate Insulation: Poor insulation in your home can cause temperature fluctuations and increase energy bills.
  • Uneven Air Distribution: Improperly balanced airflow can result in inconsistent heating or cooling throughout your home.

What Are the Limitations of an HVAC Inspection?

A few limitations of HVAC real estate inspection are:

  • Visual Inspection: HVAC inspections primarily involve a visual assessment. Hidden issues within the system may not be readily detected without more invasive techniques.
  • Limited Accessibility: Certain HVAC system parts might be hard to reach. This can make inspection and maintenance difficult in some areas.
  • No Predictive Maintenance: Inspections identify current issues but cannot predict future problems.
  • External Factors: Inspections may not consider external factors. Extreme weather conditions or power outages can impact system performance.
  • Non-Destructive: Inspections don’t involve dismantling the system. So they might not uncover internal problems.
  • Short-Term Assessment: Inspections usually offer a snapshot of the system’s present condition. They might not be able to cover long-term issues.
  • Limited Scope: HVAC Inspections do not address broader issues related to home insulation or air quality.
  • No Guarantee: A passed inspection doesn’t assure trouble-free operation. A passed inspection doesn’t assure trouble-free operation as issues can arise in future.

HVAC Inspection vs. Home Inspection

AspectHVAC InspectionHome Inspection
PurposeFocuses solely on HVAC systemsHome inspection covers the overall condition of a home
ScopeA detailed assessment of the heating and cooling system is done.A comprehensive assessment of the house is done
Inspector QualificationsHVAC expert or technicianGeneral home inspector
DurationTypically 1-2 hours2-4 hours or more
Cost Range$100 to $400$300 to $500 or more
SpecificityDetailed assessment of HVACGeneral overview of the entire home
Components AssessedFurnace, ductwork, vents, AC inspectionStructural, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roofing, etc.
Focus AreasIt identifies safety and efficiency related issues.It identifies defects related to the home.

Other Home Inspection

Type of InspectionAverage Price for Home InspectionWhat it Covers
Foundation inspection$300 to $1,000An inspection of the home’s foundation for cracks, mildew, damaged floorboards, and more.
Garage Inspection$200 to $600Involves examination of garage walls and foundation, doors, fire safety, etc.
Roof Inspection$75 to $200It is an examination of the home’s roof for mold, water leakage, structural issues, wear and tear by natural elements, or more.
Exterior walls inspection$200 to $800Identifies cracks, mold, and damage caused by water, air, or heat.
Septic tank inspection$200 to $900This inspection involves a check of the septic tank, leach field, and distribution box. The inspector will also check the grading and whether the effluent enters and leaves the tank properly.
Electrical Inspection$150 to $200It identifies faulty electrical wiring, overloaded circuits, or lack of earthing.
Plumbing Inspection$180 to $225It is an inspection of the home’s sinks and toilets, and its water pipelines for leakages, water or chemical corrosion, damaged fitting, etc.
Kitchen Inspection$200 to $400It includes an inspection of cooking equipment, electrical kitchen appliances, a general hygiene and safety check, and more.
Asbestos Inspection$229 to $791It is an examination to identify the presence of asbestos materials on a property. The inspector may use special tools or analyzers to find traces of asbestos.
Radon Inspection$145 to $700The inspection covers the levels of radon in the water, air, or soil surrounding the property. If found beyond a certain level, radon can become a safety hazard.
Lead-Based Paint Inspection$250 to $700It is a risk assessment where an inspector performs a visual check of the property for the presence of lead-based paint. If found, the toxic levels of lead are examined to ensure that it does not pose a safety hazard.
Termite Inspection$230 to $930This inspection involves an examination of the interior and exterior areas of the home for visible signs of termite infestation. These signs include pest droppings, broken and damaged wood, and more.
Mold Inspection$200 to $1,000It identifies the presence of mold in the home, including what type of mold is present in the house. Too much exposure to mold can cause respiratory problems and infections, that can sometimes be life-threatening.
Soil Inspection$700 to $2,000This inspection identifies the presence of toxins or chemicals in the soil like lead, arsenic, zinc, copper, barium, etc. that can pose a safety hazard.
Chimney Inspection$300 to $600A basic chimney inspection involves a visual examination of the fireplace and chimney for any obstructions, soot, or buildup. The inspector can suggest you sweep the chimney if required.
4-Point Inspection$50 to $150This inspection primarily examines the HVAC, roofing, plumbing, and electrical systems.

Sources: Forbes.com | Homeadvisor | Homeguide | Fixr

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much time does an HVAC inspection take?

An HVAC inspection typically takes around 1 to 2 hours. The duration can vary based on appliance complexity and issues found.

How much does an HVAC inspection cost?

The cost of an HVAC inspection ranges from $100 to $400, but prices may vary based on location and the complexity of the system.

Can you do an HVAC inspection on your own?

No. A comprehensive HVAC inspection should only be conducted by a qualified HVAC inspector.

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