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Selling Your Home? You'll Want to Check out the HVAC System

It’s always wise to keep current with ongoing maintenance and routine checkups, whether they have to do with your teeth or your Toyota. It’s also a smart move to schedule checkups for your home’s systems, to spiff up interiors and to get the yard in shape before you put your house on the market. Not only will it help your real estate agent, but it will also help to impress a prospective buyer.

It’s only human to believe that if the house and grounds are clean, neat and attractive, what doesn’t show has also been treated well and cared for properly. In addition, if you can present recent “exam reports” that cover such things as roof condition or heating and air conditioning “health,” potential buyers take it as a sign that you are a responsible homeowner and have done everything possible to care for the house. They breathe a sigh of relief that may just lead to a quick offer.

Professional Opinions Carry a Lot of Weight

Chances are a buyer will request an inspection anyway, but if you have your own professional assessments in hand, you shouldn’t face any surprises; your home inspection should pass with flying colors.

There are a number of routine ways to assure that your HVAC system is in prime operating condition:

  • Change filters regularly;
  • Monitor your main HVAC unit consistently to check for any leaks or drips, drainage or discoloration;
  • Trim grass, shrubs and weeds that grow near an outdoor unit or compressor;
  • Check your thermostat(s) for proper operation;
  • Replace a standard thermostat with a setback or programmable model to boost system efficiency and lower cost;
  • With a forced air system, regularly check the flow to each room to make sure the system is balanced;
  • Check — or have checked — the ductwork in the attic to assure there are no breaks, rips or tears;

Routine preventive maintenance should be performed prior to each seasonal change. It’s no fun to face the first severe temperature dip with no heat, or to suffer through the first 90-degree days or summer with no cooling.

How Often to Check

If you have twice-yearly checks for a combination HVAC unit, you’ll have the assurance that your system shouldn’t let you down. If you have a separate furnace and air conditioner, schedule seasonal checks well in advance.

In addition to checking the obvious, your HVAC technician will inspect the cabinet and coils of an outdoor unit and take an in-depth look at the motor and fan blades, the wiring and the connections, the circuit boards and the controls.

Indoors, the inspection will include a look at blower housings and coils, evaporator coil, drain pan and condensate line, the ignition system and associated safety controls, proper venting and power consumption, and a whole host of other checks and balances. Any routine inspection should include monitoring and evaluation both while the system is at rest and when heating and cooling cycles are operating.

Catching Issues Early

By investing in this type of preventive maintenance, you will not only prolong the life of your HVAC system, but you’ll have an “early warning system” in place as your system ages. Because all mechanical components have a lifespan, this periodic inspection will allow you to replace worn or aging parts as necessary.

While a pre-listing inspection is no guarantee of continued performance, it is still a smart move and one that will be construed as an act of good faith. The new owner will also appreciate having the service history. It’s a win for everyone.

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