This summer’s heat has been brutal on all of us, especially our homes. Lately, we’ve heard of several clients whose home central air conditioning systems have problems or have quit cooling altogether. Some had it happen right after closing on their new home!
We’ve started recommending all our Buyer clients have their prospective home’s HVAC system inspected separately. For our Seller clients, an HVAC inspection is still probably a good idea to know where your system stands before we get your home under contract. And if it’s broken, fix it; the last thing you want is a deal falling through because of a bad AC system. To prevent situations like this, you need an HVAC inspection.
For Buyers, we recommend this kind of inspection be scheduled pretty quickly after we get your home under contract. This enables us to identify any concerns with the heating or air system along with any other issues with the home via an amendment to the contract. That’s why it’s important to find a trustworthy heating and air company for this specific inspection.
We always urge our Buyer clients to hire a home inspector. However, most home inspectors limit their inspections of the HVAC systems to broad operational/temperature checks to determine if the air conditioner is “blowing” cold enough air or if the furnace is blowing hot enough air. They won’t, for example, look into the guts of the air units or furnaces to tell you what else might be wrong. During certain parts of the season they won’t even turn on a system if the temperature outside is too hot or cold.
But a good heating and air company inspector will remove panels from the AC units or furnaces and take that closer look inside. They’ll check out such things as the AC unit’s capacitor. One such inspector told us recently a burned out or nearly failing capacitor is the most common problem they find in the summer. If left in disrepair or not replaced it can cause further, more expensive damage to other electrical parts of the unit.
The inspector will also examine such things as the coils of the AC system and check out other parts to ensure all components are operating correctly. Replacing coils can cost big bucks. Or check the heat exchange for cracks which will later lead to bigger problems. Most importantly, they can identify trouble for you before it becomes a total system failure.
We also strongly urge clients to purchase a home warranty for their home. Most good warranties will cover the heating and air systems as a claim if they need repair (or replace them if necessary). BUT lately it’s becoming more apparent they WON’T cover the system if they determine the problem existed before the warranty was put into place. These claim denials are happening more often due to the huge volume of HVAC system problems during this hot summer. Why? Many homeowners/buyers don’t even realize the problem existed before they closed on the house.
In one recent case, our Buyer client nearly had their new home experience spoiled because the AC system completely failed right after they moved in. The home warranty company denied the service/replacement claim because the Seller allegedly placed “boosters” on the AC units outside to mask the imminent failure of the units. Fortunately, the former owner reimbursed our client but only after the threat of a lawsuit!
Carol and I are real estate experts, but we aren’t heating and air experts. If you’re thinking of buying a home and want an expert to help, give us a call or email us. And we have other experts who can help in other areas throughout the process!