HVAC Inspection – How Often? What to Expect? Cost?

Wondering if an HVAC inspection is worth it?

Regular check-ups of your heating and cooling equipment will boost the system’s efficiency and will actually help you save money. On average, you can expect to pay around $300 for a professional inspection, and that should be done twice a year if you use the system year-round.

Keep on reading to find out why it’s recommended to invest in a professional inspection instead of trying to examine the HVAC system on your own.

What Is an HVAC Inspection?

A full HVAC inspection is a thorough review and evaluation of all the components of your heating and cooling system.

During the inspection, the technician will make sure that all the elements of your HVAC system are clean and in great working condition. The specialist should also check all the built-in safety measures and ensure that they are functioning correctly.

If any repairs or cleaning is needed, the technician will warn you about that. Some minor issues can be fixed straight away, but more serious tasks (like duct cleaning, for example) might require an additional appointment.

Read: Are HVAC Service Plans Worth It?

Why Is HVAC Inspection Important?

Regular HVAC inspections have a few serious benefits:

  • These inspections are able to boost the efficiency of your heating and cooling equipment – your system will run at peak efficiency if it’s clean and all the components are functioning correctly
  • Regular inspections will potentially help you save energy and will lower your heating and cooling bills – an efficient system will be able to bring your house to the desired temperature in the shortest timeframe
  • Check-ups help make sure that it is safe to use your HVAC system – gas-burning appliances can be especially dangerous, if not maintained correctly
  • The technician will provide you with up-to-date information about your system – you’ll know exactly how old the equipment is, what to pay extra attention to, and what upgrades are available to you
  • You’ll be able to enjoy better air quality – the condition of your HVAC system affects the quality of the air that you breathe
  • An inspection will help identify areas for improvement – you’ll find out if the system is properly sized for the house and if there are any components that you can replace to boost your system’s efficiency even more

Read: How To Do Air Balancing HVAC In A House?

How Often Should an HVAC System Be Inspected?

You should schedule a professional HVAC inspection at least once a year. If you have a standard furnace or an AC, then an annual check-up should be enough.

However, if you have an HVAC system that you use year-round, then you would want to have a specialist check your system before the beginning of every heating and cooling season. So, having the equipment inspected every 6 months is recommended.

How Much Does HVAC Inspection Cost?

The prices will vary depending on the area you live in and the size and type of your system. Normally, an HVAC inspection will cost you anywhere between $150 and $500.

On average, you can expect to pay $300 for a 1.5-2-hour inspection of the cooling and heating system in a mid-sized house.

This is not a small sum of money, especially, if you have to pay it twice a year. But you should remember that regular inspections might save you a small fortune in the future as any potential breakdowns will get prevented. You’ll also be able to benefit from lower energy bills and an overall longer lifespan of the equipment.

Read: Is Closing Vents Bad For HVAC?

Who Should Inspect Your HVAC System?

Homeowners can be able to conduct their own HVAC inspections. However, if you have discovered that there is something wrong with the system, some local state laws might allow only certified professionals to correct the problems.

It is also not usually recommended to conduct an independent HVAC inspection as even experienced DIYers won’t be able to check the system as thoroughly as trained professionals.

By the way, after the inspection, the HVAC technician should provide you with an inspection report. The report has to include a run-down of everything that the specialist had observed (including the expert’s in-depth explanations).

If the technician has discovered any issues with your system, the report should include some possible solutions to the problem.

How Do You Inspect an HVAC System?

If you’re not planning on hiring a professional to conduct an HVAC inspection, then inspecting the system on your own would certainly be better than not examining the unit at all.

  1. Make sure the thermostat is working properly – raise and lower the temperature to check if your HVAC system is responding
  2. Shut off the power to the unit
  3. Clean the area around the outdoor unit and the actual unit
  4. Make sure that the condenser is level
  5. Clean the evaporator coil
  6. Ensure that the drain is not clogged
  7. Replace the air filter
  8. Inspect the visible part of the ductwork for any leaks

What Is One of the Main Concerns When Inspecting the HVAC System?

Moisture is definitely one of the main concerns when inspecting a heating and cooling system.

First, you should examine the outdoor components. Make sure that water is not dripping on the unit from the roof, for example, and ensure that the condenser is located on a level concrete pad. Otherwise, the equipment might get damaged when it starts pouring rain.

If the system is producing condensate (ACs and high-efficiency furnaces do that), then double-check if the system is able to effectively get rid of the moisture.

Ideally, you would also want to measure the humidity levels and take certain steps to reduce or increase the indoor moisture level if it doesn’t fall in the 30%-50% range.

Read: Should You Replace Or Repair Your HVAC?

What Should You Check During Start-Up in HVAC?

Each season, before starting up the heating or cooling system after a break, you should:

  1. Ensure correct thermostat settings
  2. Check the air filter and change it, if necessary
  3. Clear the area around the outdoor unit
  4. Open all the vents
  5. Perform a test run (allow the system to run for at least 30-60 minutes before checking the airflow)
  6. Take note of any unusual sounds or smells
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HVAC Inspection Checklist

An HVAC inspection checklist of a professional would certainly differ from that of a regular homeowner. Here are a few examples of the tasks that a certified technician should perform:

  • Test the thermostat
  • Evaluate the airflow
  • Check refrigerant levels
  • Check exhaust systems and gas connections
  • Make sure that the safety equipment is enabled
  • Look for any infestations
  • Assess the electrical components, and so on

HVAC Inspection When Buying a House

Before buying a house, you should definitely go for an HVAC inspection. This will help you avoid any unexpected expenses in the future and you might be able to negotiate the house’s price.

Here are another 3 reasons why you should have the HVAC system inspected separately:

  • The heating and cooling system already accounts for around half of your energy bill – you would definitely want to make sure that the equipment is functioning correctly, otherwise, you would have to spend even more money on keeping the house at a comfortable temperature
  • An average house inspection does not include a thorough HVAC inspection – don’t assume that the home inspector is going to correctly assess the whole system. Even if the equipment is functioning, it does not mean that there is no hidden problem
  • HVAC systems are the most expensive appliances in your house – the heating and cooling system is one of the biggest investments within your new house, and you would definitely want to make sure that it’s reliable

Read: Is Air Balancing The HVAC System Worth The Cost?

Conclusion

Conducting an HVAC inspection twice a year before the beginning of the heating and cooling season would certainly improve your house’s comfort level. Furthermore, these regular inspections will help you save money in the long run, so scheduling the check-ups is definitely worth it.