What First-Time Home Buyers Need to Know About HVAC Systems

October 6, 2015

When you're residing in a rental apartment or home, the responsibility of paying forrepairs to the HVAC system, plumbing, roofing, and other systems falls on your landlord's plate. When you purchase your own home, however, all homeowner responsibilities are yours - lock, stock, and barrel. Use the following tips for first-time home buyers to ensure your HVAC system won't leave you in the cold this winter.

Age of the HVAC SystemThe age of the furnace and A/C is a good indicator of when you need to replace the units. Following are HVAC-industry best estimates for system life spans:

  • Furnaces and boilers are expected to last 15 to 20 years.
  • Central air conditioners generally last 15 to 20 years.
  • Air-source heat pumps used year-round have an estimated life span of 12 to 18 years.
  • Geothermal heat pumps may last decades, depending on installation quality.

Warranty Information Many HVAC warranties are good for 10 years. Find out if the HVAC system is still covered. If it is, that means that it's a newer system and you'll have peace of mind that major parts and repairs are covered.

Maintenance History Ask to see the HVAC maintenance records. If the homeowner or realtor can't provide any, that's a red flag. Regular HVAC maintenance is essential for extending its useful life, home efficiency, and preventing breakdowns.

Evaluation Report One of the most important factors to consider for first-time home buyers is a home evaluation report. It's advisable to consider only homes that have been inspected. Ask for a copy of the home evaluation so you may carefully review it at your leisure.

Get a Second Opinion Certified home inspectors may not be qualified to thoroughly inspect an HVAC system. Schedule a professional HVAC evaluation with a reputable HVAC contractor for the best results. It could save you a costly system replacement. If you have questions about these tips for first-time home buyers or to schedule an HVAC inspection, contact the experts at Lozier Heating & Cooling. We've assisted Greater Des Moines residents with issues related to home comfort and HVAC systems since 1906! Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: "lculig/Shutterstock"