When you’re getting ready to put in an offer or close on a new home, there are a lot of questions you want to ask. How new are the kitchen appliances? Is there surround sound in the home theater? How close is the nearest Starbucks? Less exciting are questions about the HVAC systems. But considering that heating and cooling systems are responsible for about 50% of your home’s annual energy use, these are important questions to ask.
HVAC isn’t as exciting as square footage, kitchen renovations, or other aspects of buying a new home, so they can easily get overlooked. Here’s what you should be asking and doing as you prepare to move into a new home in order to get well acquainted with your new HVAC system.
HVAC Questions to Ask Before Closing on a Home
- What kind of HVAC systems are installed in the home and how old are they?
- Is the HVAC equipment still under warranty?
- What is the HVAC equipment’s brand, efficiency rating, and fuel type?
- May I have a copy of maintenance and repair records?
- When was the equipment last serviced or a preventive tune-up performed?
- Are there any existing warranties or service plans available for transfer?
- Is a programmable thermostat installed?
How to Get to Know the HVAC Systems in a New Home
- Locate all equipment manuals. Take a look at your air conditioner, furnace, heat pump, and thermostat with each manual in hand to get comfortable with their basic functions. If you can’t locate the manuals, find replacement copies online.
- Familiarize yourself with the thermostat. Odds are, the thermostat is the piece of HVAC equipment you will interact with the most, so get to know its controls. Practice adjusting its settings and if you have a programmable thermostat, educate yourself on how you can use it to save money on energy costs.
- Research energy-saving options with your local utility provider. Even if you think your HVAC system is performing efficiently, reach out to your local utility provider to ask about any additional energy-saving programs they offer. Many utility providers will work with homeowners to identify energy deficiencies in their homes with a free or low-cost energy audit. Some providers also offer monetary incentives encouraging homeowners to switch to high-efficiency or ENERGY STAR rated appliances, furnaces, and air conditioners. It never hurts to ask.
Don’t forget to reach out to a trusted HVAC contractor within your first few months in your new home. Whether you’re setting up a home warranty or scheduling your first seasonal tune-up, it’s better to establish a relationship early on than to scramble when trouble hits.
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