HVAC Inspection and Cost

Your home’s HVAC system (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) is responsible for moving air to keep your living climate comfortable. Regular HVAC system maintenance can help extend lifespan and alert you to even bigger, more costly issues. Without regularly scheduled HVAC inspections, your system could become less efficient or break down altogether. Prolonged HVAC system failure does more than leave your house too hot or too cold. It can also cause moisture and mold to develop, which may contribute to health problems related to poor air quality.

If you’ve ever wondered how much an HVAC inspection costs, this guide has all the necessary information.

What is an HVAC inspection?

In a standard home inspection, the inspector will examine your HVAC system, look for general wear and tear, and confirm the system is working correctly. If there’s any doubt about its performance, the inspector will perform a more in-depth inspection of the system.

You may wonder why you might need an HVAC inspection. Regular checkups of your home’s heating and cooling system will ensure everything is operating as it should. Proper maintenance and inspections will keep your system running as efficiently as possible. It also helps locate minor or significant issues before they get out of control, which could lead to a system failure. With no winter heat and no summer air conditioning, you’ll likely be willing to pay more to fix your system — no matter how high the cost. But with annual inspections, you can look for any problems before they become more significant to save you time and money later. 

HVAC inspection checklist

A home HVAC system relies on several components, including the cooling unit, heating system, and ventilation. A combustion component is also necessary if your home uses natural gas or an oil furnace. The inspector will use a thorough checklist to examine each component, such as the one below.

  • The inspector will confirm the unit was installed correctly per all current safety standards.
  • All filters are inspected and replaced if necessary.
  • Signs of rust, corrosion, and other degradation of materials will be examined and addressed.
  • They’ll check electrical components for proper voltage, wiring issues, and confirmation that displays are operating correctly.
  • Interior and external vents must have clear airflow.  They’ll also check for blockages in pipes and any gas leaks.
  • Ducts must be properly sealed and have the correct pressure in the gas and refrigerant systems.
  • They’ll test the blower to confirm it’s working and the system is in good condition.
  • The technician will test the system using monitors, sensors, and other tools to confirm everything is producing the correct temperature. They’ll test the airflow to ensure the volume is at the correct transfer rate. 
  • A calibration test of the thermostat will be performed to confirm that it’s registering temperatures correctly.
  • The defrost and heating cycles will be tested, as will all safety controls.
  • Any cleaning, lubrication of parts, and other minor repairs may be necessary. The technician should note if any issues need further attention and may offer alternative options for repair whenever possible. 

After the inspection, the HVAC inspector will provide you with a detailed report. This report should offer solutions and cost estimates if they find any issues. If your HVAC system or filter is dirty, it won’t be effective at heating, cooling, or keeping the air in your home clean until an expert addresses the issue. Dirty or clogged systems must work harder, meaning your monthly energy heating and cooling bills will be higher. Most knowledgeable inspectors can do cleaning and other light maintenance right away. However, they should also address more severe problems like duct or electrical problems later.

If you’re getting an HVAC system inspection as part of a comprehensive home inspection before purchasing a property, a negative report doesn’t always mean you should walk away. Sometimes, the results could help you negotiate a lower price with the seller. Ensure you always get a detailed cost estimate of any repairs required before you sign a purchase contract.

How much does an HVAC inspection cost?

The average HVAC inspection cost is approximately $325 for a 1200-square-foot home and should take between 1.5 and 3 hours to complete if they don’t find any significant repair or maintenance issues. Your cost will be higher if the inspector discovers significant issues. That’s because more labor time and materials will be required to find the root of the problem, determine the best solution, and provide you with an estimate for the cost of repair. Depending on your specific location and current demand, your cost may also be higher if your home is larger.

A preliminary or superficial inspection of the HVAC system during a standard home inspection is an essential part of the process. The inspector examines the system’s overall condition and components to confirm everything is working correctly. During a general inspection, the inspector won’t typically perform a thorough, in-depth examination of the HVAC system and all related components. Suppose you want a more in-depth assessment of your HVAC system to confirm whether it needs further repairs or maintenance. In that case, you should hire a professional HVAC technician rather than a home inspector. These technicians are not home inspectors but experts who specialize in knowing how HVAC systems work exclusively. 

Remember that not all general home inspectors will have the required knowledge of HVAC systems to give you a detailed and thorough report of any needed repairs. If you have concerns, it’s best to consult with a certified HVAC inspector.

Do I need an HVAC inspection?

You may be concerned about the heating and air conditioning inspection cost and the time it will take. Keep in mind that the homeowner can perform some routine maintenance if you’re comfortable with the basics of the system. For example, replacing air filters and keeping the area clear of dust, debris, and anything else that might clog or inhibit the system’s performance is something you can do yourself. You should also maintain the exterior unit by trimming grass and shrubs around it and then removing dead leaves, cobwebs, and other debris. Inspect the insulation around the exterior unit for damage, and replace any damaged insulation as soon as possible.

A professional HVAC inspection will provide a much more in-depth diagnosis of the efficacy and condition. The inspector will check the entire system and look for current problems and areas where potential issues may arise.

If you’re considering buying a home and want to know whether or not an HVAC inspection is worth the time and money, consider the cost of replacement if a significant failure were to occur. Compare this with the inspection cost to determine if it’s the right choice for you. Remember that HVAC system failures typically happen at the most unexpected and unfortunate times.

Once you move into your home, you should get an HVAC inspection once per year to extend the life of your air conditioning, heating, and air ventilation systems. If the system is ten years of age or older, it may need more frequent inspections. It’s best to schedule an HVAC inspection just before the heat of the summer or the extreme cold of the winter arrives, or you can have one done both times of the year, depending on your local climate.

When you’re ready to schedule an HVAC inspection, hire a qualified and accredited inspector, ask for reviews or customer references, and request a sample report. Your inspector should be fully licensed and insured. Most states require HVAC licensing to protect the consumer. Once you receive the report, you should have actionable solutions to your specific HVAC problems. The report should also include a detailed breakdown of any costs you may incur.

Whether you’re currently in the market to purchase a new home or are interested in learning more about your current HVAC system, getting a professional inspection will give you peace of mind. It could also save you time and money by helping your system run more efficiently. A healthy HVAC system will make your indoor temperature comfortable all year round. 
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