If you’re in the market to purchase a new home, there are countless determining factors that can make or break the deal. As the buyer, it’s your responsibility to be aware of any potential problems that could jeopardize your new investment. This holds especially true for first-time buyers including renters and new families. One of the most important factors to consider is a home’s HVAC system. Old or damaged HVAC systems can cost homeowners thousands of dollars in high energy bills and extensive repairs. Use these tips to get a better sense of the quality of your new home’s HVAC system.

The first step in assessing a home’s heating and air conditioning system is to figure out its history. Every unit should come with a recorded list of any repairs or actions performed since the system was installed. Get an idea of how old the system is and be aware of any previous incidents that might’ve occurred. A system with a long list of repairs will probably require more in the near future. Check the exterior of the system for any signs of rust, water damage, or decay. Listen for any strange or unusual sounds while the system is running. Issues like these usually occur with older systems that might need to be replaced or repaired.

While you move throughout the house, search for any noticeable changes in temperature from room to room. A draft of cold air can mean poor insulation. Older homes are especially prone to reduced protection from the outdoors. Homes with poor insulation force the HVAC system to work harder and will lead to higher energy costs down the road. Air leaks can also lead to sudden changes in temperature. Inspect all windows and doorways in the home to make sure that they seal properly. Be aware that these issues will affect the overall efficiency of the home’s HVAC system.

As part of testing your home’s ventilation system, do a complete walkthrough of the home’s duct system. Overly large or small ducts can make it difficult to properly heat/cool certain areas of the house. Look out for any leaky ducts, rust around the edges, and poor connectivity from one duct to another. These issues impede your HVAC system’s performance as well as cause potential health hazards. Mold and other forms of bacteria can grow in ducts with a high amount of moisture, causing allergies and other breathing problems. You should also test for carbon monoxide in your home. High levels of carbon monoxide are usually related to a malfunctioning furnace.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that if any major issues arise, you can work with your realtor to factor the value of the home’s HVAC system into the overall cost. You can also discuss any concerns that you might have with your chosen inspector. Contact the professionals at A-1 Guaranteed for any information and assistance with your home’s HVAC system.