Living through hot and humid Louisiana summers, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit is one of the most vital systems in a home. Everyone knows that if your cooling system goes down, it will lead to a tough day and a sleepless night.
As a home inspector and licensed residential builder, I bring a unique perspective to repairs or replacements of HVAC systems. In new construction projects, it is imperative to work with a quality HVAC professional to locate the exterior condenser unit, size the HVAC system accurately, distribute the ductwork, and locate the conditioned air registers in each room. As a home inspector, I see improper installations too often considering it’s usually one of the most expensive items in the home. During most home inspections, these units are near the end of their service life, so a system replacement is a common recommendation to the prospective home buyer/owner.
As a homeowner, when you find that it’s time to replace your HVAC system, I recommend you start by hiring a home inspector with advanced qualifications in HVAC to be an impartial advisor on how best to proceed. For example, I recently consulted a homeowner who purchased a brand-new HVAC system but was frustrated because the house felt no cooler than the old system she replaced. After inspecting the system and using infrared technology I quickly determined that the cause of her issues was primarily due to minimal attic insulation. Because the HVAC unit is just one variable in the home system, there could be several reasons why the home isn’t cooling properly. As a trusted advisor, home inspectors are not trying to sell you a system – our goal is to make sure the system works for the house and you. We are here to help you understand all the factors involved in performance and system longevity so the homeowner can make the most informed decision possible. With rising equipment and fuel costs, it’s more important than ever to have a clear understanding of your home’s condition before making any large HVAC purchases.
Home inspectors will inspect the existing house and, if necessary, talk you through brand, company, and cost decisions. We can assess if the original system is over or undersized, if the ductwork is old and leaking, if the refrigerant lines are insulated, the number and quality of windows and doors in the home, and the attic insulation. These factors and more are all vital in delivering high-quality conditioned air to the home at a reduced energy cost.
HVAC systems are complex pieces of equipment and are constantly evolving. The sheer quantity and options on the marketplace can be overwhelming for the average homeowner. Relying on a friend’s recommendation or Google reviews is only one way of narrowing the field. Keep in mind that a specific type and size of one system in a home may not be the best choice for your home. A qualified, certified home inspector with HVAC experience can not only evaluate the type of systems being proposed but help ensure that all the minor details are specified and optimized for the maximum return on your hard-earned investment.