Buying a home with an old HVAC system can be a tricky decision. While it may seem like a good deal at first, there are several factors to consider before making your big purchase. Many new home buyers are often faced with the question: is an old HVAC system worth it if it comes with the home? Find out below what factors play a key part in evaluating the value of a home with an old HVAC system.
Age of the System
The first thing to consider is the age of the HVAC system. On average, an HVAC system has a lifespan of 15-20 years. If the home you’re buying is older than this lifespan, chances are the HVAC system has been replaced before. However, if the system is still the original one from when the home was built, it may not be as efficient or reliable as a newer system. Consider getting an inspection done to determine the age and condition of the HVAC system.
If your future home’s HVAC system is older than 20 years, it may be worth considering getting a new one installed. An old system can lead to frequent breakdowns and costly repairs, which could end up costing you more in the long run. While an upfront investment may seem daunting, a new HVAC system can save you money on energy bills and provide better comfort in the long term, especially if you plan on moving in right away.
Maintenance and Repair History
Another crucial factor to consider is the maintenance and repair history of the old HVAC system. If the previous owners have kept up with regular maintenance and there haven’t been any major repairs, it could be a good sign that the system is still in good condition. Unfortunately, many homeowners neglect HVAC maintenance, which can lead to a shortened lifespan of the system. Ask for any records or receipts of past maintenance and repairs before making your decision.
Some homeowners might have also purchased a home warranty that covers the HVAC system. Warranties usually transfer to the new homeowner, so it’s worth checking if this is the case. A warranty can provide peace of mind and help cover any unexpected repair costs if you’re purchasing this older home.
Older HVAC systems generally have lower energy efficiency ratings compared to newer models. This means that they use more energy to heat or cool your home, resulting in higher utility bills. If the home you’re interested in has an older HVAC system, you should consider the potential costs of higher energy bills. However, keep in mind that newer systems with higher efficiency ratings may also come with a higher upfront cost. Newer systems will have higher SEER ratings, which is a measurement of the system’s energy efficiency.
A higher SEER rating means that the system uses less energy to cool your home, resulting in lower electricity bills. Look at the SEER rating of the old HVAC system and compare it to newer models to get an idea of potential cost savings. In some cases, an older system can still be upgraded to improve its energy efficiency, even if it has a lower SEER rating. This could be a more cost-effective option than replacing the entire system. Consider consulting with a professional HVAC technician to determine if this is a good option.
For instance, if your home uses an outdated central AC unit but is on the smaller side, consider investing in ductless mini splits instead. Or, you can install a smart thermostat to regulate your HVAC system better.
Not all HVAC units are created equal when it comes to aesthetic appeal. Some older units are bulky and take up a lot of space, while newer models tend to be sleeker and more compact. Installing a new system can help improve the look of your home if you plan on taking on a more contemporary style. Fortunately, most HVAC systems are located outside of the home in non-conspicuous areas, so this may not be a major concern for some home buyers. However, if you’re particular about the appearance of your home, it’s worth considering the aesthetic appeal of an old HVAC system.
If you need help choosing a new HVAC system or need ideas on how to seamlessly integrate it into your home’s design, consult with a professional HVAC technician for recommendations. They can also provide estimates on installation costs and help you determine which system is the best fit for your home.
Future Add-Ons for Your Home
Older homes might not be equipped with central AC. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you plan on adding rooms or expanding your home in the future, it may be worth considering investing in separate heat pumps for each room. Heat pumps are a more energy-efficient option compared to central AC units, and they can be easily installed in individual rooms without breaking the bank. This is also a good option if you live in a milder climate where heating or cooling isn’t needed year-round.
Heat pumps can also be used for separate ADU (accessory dwelling unit) rooms, such as a guest house or rental space. Whether you plan to use these spaces for your own family or as a source of rental income, investing in separate HVAC systems can be a smart move for older homes.
If the home you’re planning on purchasing is an absolute steal, but you’re still unsure of the condition of the HVAC system, you can negotiate with the seller to lower the price or have them replace or upgrade the HVAC system before closing. However, this may not always be a possibility, especially in competitive housing markets. Still, it’s worth the effort to try and negotiate a better deal, especially if the HVAC system is a major concern. If negotiations are successful, make sure to have an HVAC inspection done after the replacement or upgrade to ensure everything was done correctly. Doing so can protect you from any future issues with the system and give you peace of mind knowing that your new home’s HVAC system is in good condition.
Improve Your Home’s HVAC System Today
Buying a home with an old HVAC system requires careful consideration and evaluation. Fortunately, there are options for upgrading or replacing the system, depending on your budget and future plans for your home. Be sure to consult with a professional HVAC technician to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. With proper maintenance and care, an old HVAC system can still provide reliable comfort and efficiency for years to come.
Our Key Considerations When Purchasing a Home With an Aging HVAC System
At Western Pacific Heating, Cooling & Airflow, we’re proud to offer AC installation, heat pump maintenance, and much more. Our HVAC services in Vancouver, BC, also include air purification, furnace repair and installation, commercial HVAC services, and much more. Take advantage of our expertise and enjoy a more comfortable home today, no matter how old it is. Contact Western Pacific Heating, Cooling & Airflow to schedule an appointment or for any of your HVAC-related questions!