Most home buyers look for crown molding or granite countertops when they look at potential homes. Often,Â the HVAC and plumbing systems go unnoticed. Although these systems may not stand out aesthetically, they canÂ cost a lot of money to repair or replace. So, along with looking forÂ a spacious living room, check theÂ heating and cooling system and the plumbing.
Here are a few issues to watch out for in your potential home’s HVAC and plumbing units.
Leaky Water Heaters
Most homeowners keep the water heater tucked out of sight. If the appliance leaks, you may not notice theÂ issue until after the water has severely damaged the area. The cost to replace the water heater, fix anyÂ water damage, and pay for utility costs could quickly add up.
As you look at the unit, make sure it’s in an area that won’t cause property damage. Ideally, the waterÂ heater will be in a closet away from finished living spaces.
Additionally, make sure the previous homeowners took care of any water damage from previous leaks.
Size of the Water Heater
To avoid running out of hot water in your new home, make sure the water heater holds enough water for yourÂ family’s needs. In some cases, older homeowners want to save money after the kids move out. To meet thisÂ goal, they may replace the water heater with a smaller unit. Always check the tank volume to ensure you willÂ have enough hot water for you and your family.
Age of the Furnace
Not every homeowner takes care of the furnace. Don’t let their neglect cost you money.
Before you buy the home, ask the previous owners how long they have had the system. Most furnaces have aÂ lifespan of 16 to 20 years. If you find your potential home as an older system, you may need to pay for moreÂ repairs or an entire new system in just a few years.
Additionally, ask the homeowners if they have had any recent repairs done.Â It could be a warning signÂ if they mention the HVAC system required several repairs. You can get a maintenance record to ensure aÂ professional maintained the system within the last year.
If you need to buy a new system, you may be able to negotiate the cost in the home’s selling price.
Old furnaces tend to have rusty pipes near them. But rusty pipes may mean more than just an old unit. IfÂ you see rusty pipes near the furnace, it could be a sign of carbon monoxide leaks. When rust is present, makeÂ sure the previous owners and the inspector see the area. This damage could reduce the home value in the homeÂ appraisal.
During your walk-through, have the homeowners turn on the air conditioning or heater if it’s not runningÂ already. Once the system is on, put your hand over the vent to make sure there is a strong airflow.
Additionally, check the filters to ensure the previous owners changed them regularly. Proper furnaceÂ maintenance will increase airflow and air quality dramatically.
Ducts and Insulation
Although the A/C and furnace are the major systems within the home, you should also check the insulationÂ and ducts. Any leaks in the ductwork can use more energy to heat or cool the home. You can identify leaks byÂ condensation, gaps, or loose connections. Also check that the ducts are free of dust and mold to ensure goodÂ air quality in your home.
You should ask the current homeowners about the type of insulation in the home and visit the attic ifÂ possible. Notice any drafts or changes in temperature between rooms. This temperature difference could be aÂ sign of poor insulation that could cause problems down the road.
As you look for your new home, don’t underestimate the importance of quality HVAC and plumbing system.Â Check these areas to ensure a quality system. In the end, it could save you thousands of dollars.