The HVAC system isn’t readily visible when you walk through a home, but it’s something you should always keep in mind if you’re planning to buy. Inspecting the furnace, air conditioner, ductwork, and registers is a crucial part of the home-buying process. Check these key elements as you’re shopping for a Benton, Louisiana, home to make sure you know what you’re in for.

System Age and Condition

One of the most important features of an HVAC system is its age. A heat pump or air conditioner will usually last 10 to 15 years. The furnace probably has a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. If the systems were well-maintained with annual tuneups and regular care, they might last longer. Those that have been neglected over the years will have a shorter lifespan.

You can ask the previous owners whether they used an annual maintenance plan to care for their HVAC system. This is particularly important if you’re looking at an older system. If the answer is yes, request receipts or other documentation to prove that the system got adequate care. If you’re looking at a home with an older or poorly cared-for system, make sure you have enough room in your budget to cover a heater or air conditioner replacement if needed.

Ductwork

If you’re purchasing an older home, find out whether it has ductwork. If it doesn’t, you’ll be faced with an expensive and extensive installation project if you want central heating or cooling. Another option for a historic home without ductwork is a ductless heat pump. Heat pumps both heat and cool the home. A small pipe connects the indoor and outdoor units with only a 3-inch hole in the wall.

Thermostat Capabilities

What type of thermostat does your prospective home have? If you’re looking at an older thermostat, you might want to consider adding an upgrade to your home improvement budget. Standard thermostats can’t maximize the heating and cooling features of your heater or air conditioner and will typically use more energy than necessary.

Today’s modern programmable thermostats offer a wealth of innovative features. With Wi-Fi capability, you can control your thermostat remotely. Adaptive programming times your temperature changes perfectly. Smart systems will even analyze your heating and cooling use and make suggestions for lowering your utility bills.

Home Insulation

Remove outlet covers and peek into the walls to see what type of insulation, if any, the house has. Look in the attic to check insulation above the roof, and check the ductwork to see if it’s insulated. Proper insulation will lower your home’s utility costs and prevent hot and cold spots.

If the home is lacking insulation, factor this expense into your budget, or consider asking the sellers to add insulation as a condition of your purchase. If you see dirty insulation in the attic or around ducts, this is a sign of an air leak. While this isn’t a deal-breaker for your home purchase, it’s worth noting so you can seal the home properly once it’s yours.

Filter Location

If you’re not sure where the filter is in your new HVAC system, ask your home inspector to point it out to you. Make a note of the filter type, size, and placement. If you buy the home, one of the first things you should do is change the filter. Stock up for future filter changes, and plan to make the swap at least once every three months.

Return Air Registers

Locate the air registers throughout the home, and inspect them carefully. If there’s staining around the register, you might have very dirty ducts. Remove the grille, and take a peek behind. While any pre-owned home will have some dust in the ducts, an excessive buildup is something you’ll want to address. Plan to have the ducts cleaned shortly after you take possession of the home for the cleanest air possible.

Once you’ve found your next home, contact Pioneer Comfort Systems at 318-795-8000 for a tuneup and inspection to make sure your HVAC system is properly cared for from your first days in the new house.

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