Heating & Cooling Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

With everything that’s involved in selecting a new home, it can be easy for first-time home buyers to overlook features that aren’t so easy to see, including the heating and cooling system. With Houston’s humid summers and cool winters, though, it’s important to know just what kind of HVAC system you’re getting. Here are some tips to do that;

  • Determine the system type – While most homes in the Houston area use furnaces, some work on boilers or heat pumps. The energy source used can affect your heating bills. If a furnace or boiler is in place, find out if it’s fueled by natural gas, oil, propane, or another fuel.
  • Learn the system’s age – After 10 years, most systems reach the end of their lifespan. While a system can perform for years longer, it’s also at high risk for requiring any major repairs or a even complete replacement.
  • Find out the system’s efficiency rating – While older systems are generally less efficient, you’ll save more with a high-efficiency system than with a mid-efficiency one, regardless of the age. For a furnace or boiler, check on the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). For a heat pump, ask for its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). Higher-efficiency systems include advanced features that can improve their performance, like variable-speed blower motors.
  • Check the warranty – Even if the system was under a warranty program when installed, the warranty might be expired or have been voided by improper maintenance, such as skipping annual inspections. Without a warranty, first-time home buyers will need to shell out the full cost of any repairs or parts replacements.
  • Request the results of the last inspection – The heating and air conditioning system each require annual professional inspections to keep them running at top efficiency and to prevent any normal wear and tear from damaging the components. At the end of each inspection, the technician provides a detailed report listing any issues with the system. This report can reveal potential problems.

If you’re among the many first-time home buyers confused about HVAC system choices and maintenance requirements, contact us for help at Airtron Heating & Air Conditioning in Houston.

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