We are often asked “What is the most valuable tip you have with regards to appliances and mechanical systems of a home?”
Without a doubt, we say “In addition to getting a whole house inspection, get a Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling (HVAC) inspection done by a qualified heating and cooling contractor.”
- 50% of the claims we pay are on HVAC systems yet these are two of the most under inspected items on the whole house inspection. Often the home inspector will only turn on the HVAC system that applies to current weather conditions (i.e. air conditioner in the summer, furnace in the winter) but does not evaluate the other system. In addition, several home inspectors do not have the equipment or technical knowledge to properly test HVAC systems so they tend to include several disclaimers on the home inspection about their lack of knowledge and recommend a qualified HVAC contractor evaluate further. This disclaimer is routinely included so that the recommendation to get a HVAC inspection completed becomes “white noise” to a potential home buyer.
- Home buyers assume more testing is done on their HVAC systems by a whole house inspector than what is actually completed. Therefore, they read the inspection report which indicates “furnace appears functional” and assume that their furnace is fine. However, a furnace can be “functioning” and yet operating with a crack in the heat exchanger or be in need of a cleaning. A HVAC contractor can run more sensitive carbon monoxide testings than what is detected by a retail carbon monoxide detector. The contractor can also perform a pressure test or use a scope to check for a cracked heat exchanger, which is the most frequent cause of a furnace claim denial due to pre-existing conditions.
- HVAC repairs and replacements are costly…much more so than kitchen and laundry appliances. If the home inspector misses something on a dishwasher, at worst case scenario, you can replace an entire dishwasher for $300. Not so with a new furnace, heat pump or air conditioner which can run into several thousands of dollars.
- A seller disclosure form is not an adequate indicator of the expected life and condition of the HVAC systems in a home. A seller may have used the systems differently (did not vary thermostat settings much from season to season) or may not have completed routine maintenance on their HVAC systems, thereby being unaware of any potential problems with their systems.
Home Warranty, Inc. is such a strong proponent of the HVAC Pre-Inspections that we offer FREE HVAC coverage to the seller during the time of listing (up to six months) with a satisfactory HVAC inspection.
We also will provide a written guarantee against claim denials due to pre-existing conditions on the HVAC systems once the inspection comes back satisfactory. The home seller or home buyer would pay for the HVAC inspection (generally $50-$99) using the qualified HVAC company of their choice after scheduling the inspection through our toll free customer service line 877-977-4949. We send a checklist to the HVAC company and continue to follow up until the inspection is completed. We then notify both the homeowner and the real estate agent(s) involved in writing.
Sellers can also use this documentation as a further selling point on their home, letting potential home buyers know that their systems have been professionally inspected and have been found satisfactory.