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HVAC Inspection Cost

HVAC Inspection Cost

National average
$210 - $260
(high-efficiency furnace and AC inspection with two or three zones and replacing filters)
Low: $150 - $200

(furnace and AC inspection with one zone)

High: $300 - $400

(checking air balance and hot and cold spots)

Cost to inspect HVAC varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from air-conditioning and heating contractors in your city.

The average cost of inspecting the HVAC system is $210 - $260.

In this guide

Why hire an HVAC inspector?
Services included
Energy efficiency
Health and safety
After the inspection
Labor
Maintenance
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to inspect HVAC?

Your HVAC system, or heating ventilation and air conditioning, keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer. These systems require regular maintenance and inspections to run efficiently. An HVAC inspection is an examination of your home’s mechanical heating, cooling, and air circulation systems.

HVAC inspections are one of the most important things you can have completed as a homeowner. The inspection is different from servicing or maintaining your system. The average HVAC inspection, which includes high-efficiency furnace and AC inspection with two-three zones, checking registers and returns, temperature rises through the furnace, replacing filters, averages $210-260.

Why hire an HVAC inspector?

The average person might not have trouble changing filters and relighting pilot lights that go out from time to time on their furnace. However, giving an exam to your furnace or AC is a different story. A professionally licensed HVAC technician is trained in understanding the nuances of a heating and cooling system. They know what to look for inside and out during an inspection to determine system needs and lifespan.

Most homeowners get HVAC inspections through their home inspectors when they first purchase a property. It is also important to get regular inspections on your systems. For newer systems, once every other year is okay. When systems begin to age they should have yearly inspections and after reaching ten years it should be every six months. An inspection tells you important info about your system and will help circumvent and/or prepare you for otherwise unforeseen issues.

There will be less emergency repairs needed as an inspection will help catch any issues with the system before it breaks, allowing you to obtain repairs in advance of an emergency. Inspections help with operating efficiency and will increase the lifespan of your system. Regular inspections also mean better air quality.

Yearly inspections keep manufacturers’ warranties in check, letting you know in advance if something is falling out of warranty. They help save money over the life of the system. Inspections find issues before heating systems fail, leaving you shivering in the winter, or AC systems fail, leaving you sweating in summer.

Just like getting your car engine checked regularly, your HVAC system should also be checked regularly. You’ll have peace of mind knowing what is happening with your system and understanding how it works and when maintenance and service might be needed.

Services included

An HVAC professional, and sometimes a home inspector, completes a thorough review of your HVAC system to determine the age of your systems and condition of your HVAC appliances, operational quality, efficiency, safety, and what kind of working order the system is in.

HVAC inspections can be anything from a quick checkup to a more involved analysis of the entire structure including piping, wiring, and venting. Inspectors examine boilers, furnace, heat pump 1 systems, and hydro coils.

Services provided during an inspection depend on the type of equipment being inspected. During an inspection, an HVAC technician will check a number of different components and may also perform simple services. HVAC inspections start with measuring voltage and checking and tightening electrical components and connections, changing filters, and lubricating any moving parts to reduce friction and prevent overheating.

Technicians will inspect condensate drains for any algae or sludge buildup due to condensation produced from a furnace or AC and removes any clogs or blockages. They will also replace acid neutralizer pellets in the condensate line to prevent buildup. Inspections include testing and calibrating thermostats 2 or installing programmable thermostats to replace older models. They will also inspect ductwork to determine if cleaning is needed.

For new home installations, they audit the system during installation for quality and efficiency. Most inspectors also test controls for the start, operation, and shut off sequences, find hot or cold spots that reduce efficiency, check blower 3 components for proper airflow, and test gas piping and pressure to ensure operational safety. Sometimes refrigerant pressure tests are needed, as well as testing heat pumps for heating modes and defrost cycles.

Other options that might be included in an inspection are radiant floor heating 4 examinations and checking the efficiency of humidifiers and dehumidifiers.

New HVAC system installation

During a new HVAC system installation, such as when renovating or adding on to your home, inspection includes three major components. First, a stack inspection is to examine inside and outside systems to make sure the installation meets code requirements before being closed in with drywall 5.

Outside examinations include air intake, roof flashings 6, exhaust hoods, and flue gas venting. For inside examinations, inspectors will check equipment sizing and installation, ductwork size and location, and the hydronic heating system if applicable.

Second, a concealed duct inspection is conducted to examine the main air distribution. This is also required before drywall is installed. Inspectors review duct sizing, standard compliance, intake, and exhaust ducts, check gas lines and flue gas venting pipes.

The last step once installation is completed is the final inspection. Inspectors check that everything is up to code and operational, including airflow at the registers, operational equipment, and flue 7 gas venting terminations. They also audit for energy code compliance and depressurization.

Energy efficiency

Regular maintenance and inspections increase the energy efficiency of your HVAC system, helping to save money on your bills and reduce the need for service and repairs over the life of the system. An unmaintained system will consume more fuel the longer it goes without maintenance, increasing costs on your energy bills. An older system will also operate less efficiently than newer, energy efficient models.

Health and safety

Your HVAC system helps maintain the air you breathe in your home. Breathing in air that is contaminated or polluted is bad for your health. Your lungs become irritated and it can cause breathing issues. Any breakdown in a furnace, such as a crack in a heat exchanger, can cause carbon monoxide to release into the air. The potential for carbon monoxide poisoning increases as the air quality worsens, endangering you and your family.

With regular inspections and maintenance, you’ll know how your system is performing, if filters need to be replaced or vents cleaned, and whether or not carbon monoxide is an issue in your breathable air.

Maintaining your system is important with or without pets. Pets add pollutants to your air. As air circulates around your home so does pet hair and dander, along with other allergens that filter in through windows, doors, and open spots in your home.

After the inspection

Once an inspection is completed, the inspector will go over every detail with the homeowner. This can be overwhelming for a homeowner, but it is important to know that the inspector has your best interests at heart. Many things can go wrong with a heating system and it is up to an inspector to discuss all of this with you, as well as the things that are performing optimally.

An inspector will provide a detailed report explaining everything they examined and the results of that examination. They will walk you through how your system works and tell you when you should clean or repair your system. Furnace filters should be changed every one to two months, depending on the type of filter. An AC unit might need the refrigeration line cleaned. Your AC might have low refrigeration levels indicating a possible leak in the system.

You will learn whether your system is operating efficiently, how many years the system has left to perform at its optimal operation, and if anything is broken. Inspectors also go over your system's warranty, if a warranty is still available, and what is covered under that warranty. They can show you how to change the filters yourself and even how to reset your furnace.

If your system requires further maintenance or repairs, an HVAC technician will be able to take on most or all of these tasks for you. HVAC companies provide maintenance, service, and replacement for furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, AC equipment, and anything else related to your home’s heating and cooling needs. An additional quote for services, repairs, or replacement of your system will be provided before any work is performed.

Labor

Average labor costs for an HVAC inspection are between $90-125 per hour. City locations charge on the higher end of the per hour rate, whereas smaller towns in the midwest will charge on the lower end of the per hour rate.

It generally takes about one and a half to two hours to inspect a 1-3- zone HVAC system in a residential home. The larger the home, the longer an inspection will take. Since HVAC companies charge by the hour, if you are not quoted a flat rate, even if it only takes half an hour to complete an inspection, you will likely receive a bill for one hour of service.

Sometimes an HVAC company will offer a flat rate for inspection and simple maintenance. With this flat rate, they will replace filters, change condensate rocks, or add refrigeration to your AC system. The flat rate averages around $150 for the inspection and service of a 1-2-zone heating and air conditioning system.

Maintenance

Preventative maintenance should be performed on HVAC systems once a year. The perfect time to do this is in the fall on your heating system and in the spring on your cooling system. This maintenance should be performed by a professional.

There are steps you can take on your own to keep your system operating at optimal efficiency:

  • Replace air filters once a month, or when your systems indicator light specifies it is time to change the filter.
  • Keep inside units free from debris including clutter, dust, and pet hair.
  • Keep outside units free leaves and foliage.
  • Outdoor units can be hosed down to remove dirt.
  • Make sure supply and return registers are not blocked by household items, such as rugs, furniture, or piles of shoes and laundry.
  • In the summer, the water for the furnace and humidifier can be turned off.
  • Replace humidifier filters and in the winter turn the water back on for the humidifier and furnace.
  • Regularly check carbon monoxide detector 8 batteries and replace as often as every 6 months.
  • The outdoor AC condenser should be on firm, level ground.
  • Clear the AC condensate drain with a water and bleach mixture to keep it clean and clog free.
  • Consider installing a programmable thermostat, as they save money year round.

Any additional maintenance should be left up to a licensed professional.

Enhancement and improvement costs

HVAC repairs

During an inspection the technician might find issues with your furnace, boiler, or heat pump that need to be repaired. They will provide you with a quote for service which includes the labor and price of materials or parts if applicable. Service can cost the same or a little more than an inspection, on average between $90-$130 an hour.

Furnace repairs

If you have a furnace these are some common repairs needed:

  • Inducer fan motor replacement takes, on average, 30-45 minutes. An inducer fan motor runs between $300-400 with a one hour labor cost (as most companies charge per hour and not half hour), so the total cost for replacement is on average $430-$530.
  • A flame sensor 8 failure replacement is inexpensive, costing under $10 and takes about 15-30 minutes to replace. Estimated cost with labor averages $125.
  • An ignitor replacement is also less expensive than a fan motor, with an average price under $20. Estimated cost with labor averages $155.

Boiler repairs

Here are some common repairs needed for a boiler:

  • Pump replacement takes, on average, an hour and a half to two hours. The part runs between $150 and $300, which makes the total with labor as high as $560.
  • Inducer fan motor replacement on a boiler takes about an hour to replace. An inducer fan motor runs between $300-400, with a one hour labor cost. The total cost for replacement is on average $430-$530.
  • Low water cutouts allow the water to go into the boiler and might need replacement. With parts and labor, the cost varies between $500 and $600.

Air cooled heat pumps

Heat pumps combine heating and air conditioning into one system. Sometimes a technician will charge a flat rate rather than a per hour rate.

  • Electrical contactor runs about a $130 flat rate to install with the part.
  • Condenser fan motor replacement with labor averages about $450.

Central air conditioning

  • Outdoor condenser fan motor replacement with labor averages about $450.
  • Capacitor replacement with parts and labor averages about $185-$200.

Replace HVAC systems

If your system is very old or beyond repair an investigation will show this. The technician or inspector will discuss the possibility of needing to have your system replaced. To replace your entire system with a new one you might need to pull a permit. The permit will include the cost of the inspection process during the replacement.

An HVAC, mechanical, or building permit generally costs a percentage of the replacement or installation. This percentage can vary by state but usually averages 10% of the project price.

The average price to install a new HVAC system with parts and labor is between $10,000 and $14,000. The larger the home, the more it will cost.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Home inspectors check the HVAC system during a home inspection, but an HVAC inspector is better equipped to asses the ins and outs of an entire HVAC system, including the appliances.
  • An HVAC technician should be licensed to perform any examinations or service on your system. Licensing requirements vary by state. Federal law does not mandate a technician to receive certification from formal technical training in order to obtain a license. However, those with schooling and certification are able to perform more duties and services as it relates to the field.
  • A home inspector may examine the chimney to see if it is in good shape during a full home inspection. However, an HVAC technician would not check the chimney during an HVAC inspection. This would require a chimney sweep. A chimney sweep charges on average $130 to check and clean a flue.
  • Most residential houses have one conventional type of heating system, such as a furnace, a boiler, or a heat pump. It is unusual to have all three or any combination of two. A technician will inspect whatever system you have, whether that be a furnace, boiler, or heat pump.
  • A system that is more than 10 years old should be inspected twice a year.
  • A permit is only required to change, remove, or install a new system such as during renovations or expanding a home. When a permit is required and a change or renovation completed, the system must be inspected throughout the process. This inspection is included in the permit price and does not require additional costs.
  • HVAC companies may charge for travel, anywhere from $25 to $50 depending on how far your home is from the service center.
  • Different types of equipment require different types of inspections. Most inspections are charged by the hour of $90-125 an hour, or a flat rate. The more equipment and examination needed, the longer an inspection takes, which will increase the cost per hour.
  • If you require a chimney sweep to clean your flue you will incur an additional cost, averaging $130.
  • You may also need your ducts cleaned. Over time build up can result from air pollutants, dirt, dust, and pet hair and dander. Air duct cleaning cost can range from $300-400.

FAQ

  • What is involved in an HVAC inspection?

An HVAC Technician will perform examinations of equipment and testing of operating efficiency to determine maintenance, service, repair, or replacement needs for your system.

  • How much does it cost to have furnace inspected?

Inspecting a furnace is charged by the hour of $90-125 an hour, or with a flat fee of about $150 for a 1-2-zone home.

  • How much does it cost for HVAC service?

Most HVAC service charges by the hour, on average $90-125 an hour. Sometimes service costs more than just an inspection, since the technician has to perform additional labor work. Expect to pay for any materials and parts used while servicing your systems.

  • How much do HVAC inspectors make?

The average hourly pay for a mechanical inspector is $22 an hour. The average hourly pay for an HVAC technician is $18-36 an hour. This varies greatly by location. An HVAC technician in Connecticut or Massachusetts might make around $60,000 a year, while in New Mexico or Wyoming it is $41,000.

  • How do I become an HVAC inspector?

To become an HVAC inspector you should have at a minimum a high school diploma. However, an associates or bachelors degree is preferred by employers. Also, hands-on technical training and attending a building inspection course for a certificate is necessary. Then you can join an apprenticeship program with a certified inspector before applying to become a certified inspector yourself.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Heat pump: A device used to heat or cool the air in a home by moving hot and cold air to where it is needed. The unit pulls hot air from inside the home in the summer and directs it outdoors, leaving the inside air cool, and pulls heat from outdoors in the winter and directs it into the home, thereby warming it
glossary term picture Thermostat 2 Thermostats: A device that senses and regulates temperature by turning heating and cooling devices on and off
glossary term picture Blower 3 Blower: An accessory that makes a fireplace more efficient by circulating the warm air in the fireplace to other areas of the home
glossary term picture Radiant Flooring 4 Radiant floor heating: (Also known as Radiant floor) A heating system using tubes or electric wires installed underneath the flooring
glossary term picture Sheetrock 5 Drywall: Type of plasterboard, commonly used to build walls and ceilings, composed of gypsum that is layered between sheets of heavy paper
glossary term picture Flashing 6 Flashings: Pieces of sheet metal used on roofs to cover joints, such as where the roof meets the wall, or around a chimney or skylight, to protect them and prevent water leaking through
glossary term picture Flue 7 Flue: A duct or pipe through which exhaust gases from a fireplace, stove or boiler are released to the outdoors
glossary term picture Sensor 8 Detector: (Also known as Sensor) Device that responds to a physical event or change in the environment by emitting an output signal

Cost to inspect HVAC varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Professional carrying out an HVAC inspection

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Anaheim, CA
+21%
Arlington, VA
+38%
Athens, GA
-9%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Bangor, ME
-25%
Bethlehem, PA
+12%
Bivins, TX
-30%
Boston, MA
+40%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Charlotte, TN
-23%
Chesapeake, VA
-6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Danbury, CT
+43%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Detroit, MI
+16%
Duncannon, PA
-20%
Emerson, GA
-21%
Fayetteville, NC
-20%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Gaffney, SC
-17%
Gresham, OR
+8%
Hialeah, FL
-2%
Hollywood, FL
0%
Hopkinton, MA
+31%
Houston, TX
+24%
Irvington, NJ
+27%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Kent, OH
-15%
Lakewood, OH
+7%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lenoir, NC
-36%
Levittown, NY
+31%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Lynn, MA
+19%
Manchester, NH
+33%
Miami, FL
+1%
Millville, NJ
+14%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Nashua, NH
+33%
New Haven, CT
+22%
New York, NY
+77%
Nokesville, VA
+21%
Omaha, NE
-10%
Labor cost in your zip code
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Methodology and sources