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How to Inspect the AC Unit When Buying a Home

Shopping for a new home in Phoenix can be an exhilarating and terrifying adventure. In the hubbub of making an offer, getting an inspection, taking care of the financing and all the other tasks inherent in buying a home, it’s easy to forget about details like an inspection of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. You may even assume that when your home inspection was completed, there was also an inspection of the HVAC system.

Unfortunately, many home inspectors lack the tools and expertise to properly inspect an HVAC system, and simply flip the switch to make sure the unit comes on before noting that the “HVAC system appears to be functional.” A disclaimer usually accompanies this declaration, urging the homeowner to have a professional HVAC inspection due to the inspector’s lack of knowledge on the subject. It’s important to remember that you can make an inspection of the system yourself, but a trained HVAC professional can conduct a much more thorough inspection of the system, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in the long run.

How To Inspect HVAC Systems

Start your air conditioning home inspection at the exterior unit. It should be clean, without vines or other foliage growing close to its sides. It should be free of any obstructions; even a decorative enclosure can impact the unit’s operation and efficiency. The exterior unit uses airflow to dissipate heat, so anything that impedes that airflow is a big no-no.

Another important part of the exterior unit is the condensing coils; they can become dirty, covered in outdoor debris like grass clippings and dust. They can be cleaned easily by spraying them off with a water hose, but are sometimes protected by mesh panels that must be removed prior to cleaning. You may be more comfortable having an HVAC technician carry out this task.

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The final piece of the exterior unit inspection is the way the unit sits. Many units rest on the ground and can be susceptible to shifting out of position, putting pressure and stress on the AC lines. This is typically easy to fix, but it’s a good idea to have a professional HVAC technician look at the problem before you decide on the home.

Once you’ve completed the exterior inspection, try turning on the system, if possible. Check that the exterior unit’s fan begins turning when the unit kicks on, and that the air coming from the vents is noticeably cooler than the air in the home. If you can’t get the system to kick on, you’re not able to try the system to see if it works or if you’re unsure about the system at all, you should have a home air conditioning inspection by an experienced technician. At ACE Home Services, we have a staff of trained HVAC professionals who can inspect your system thoroughly.

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Repairing or replacing the HVAC system can be a very costly endeavor. Having the system inspected by a qualified technician can help you pinpoint problem areas, as well as give you an idea of what you can expect from your AC unit in the future.

At Ace Home Services, we’re standing by to help you avoid HVAC problems in your new Phoenix home. We’re available 24 hours a day, every day of the week. Our service calls are free and we never charge for overtime, not even on holidays, nights or weekends.

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