How Much Does an HVAC Inspection Cost?
Get free estimates from air-conditioning and heating contractors near you
HVAC Inspection Cost Guide
Updated: August 4, 2023
How much does it cost to get your HVAC inspected?
Properly maintaining your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is crucial for cooling your home in summer and warming it in winter. And routine inspections are an essential part of any HVAC maintenance plan. On average, homeowners spend between $227 and $422 to get their HVAC system inspected by a licensed pro.
Fortunately, these costs are relatively small compared to HVAC replacement and repair costs. And since HVAC system inspections let you know about your HVAC’s potential problems before they develop into more expensive issues, getting them done annually or even seasonally can increase the lifespan of your system and help you save money on maintenance costs.
On a similar note, getting routine HVAC inspections and tune-ups will keep your system operating at peak efficiency, saving you considerable amounts of money on your energy bills throughout the year.
There are many factors that influence the cost of an HVAC inspection, including the type of system you have, how large it is, where you live, and how thorough the inspection is. This means you could pay more or less than average for an inspection. Keep reading, and we’ll explain how the different cost factors can influence your price.
Factors that can affect HVAC inspection costs
During a run-of-the-mill checkup, your HVAC inspector will look over your entire system and check the following:
- Electrical connections
- Refrigerant levels
- Air ducts
- Air filters
- Heat exchangers
- Condensate drain lines
They’ll also run a few tests to measure airflow and energy efficiency and check for carbon monoxide leaks. Finally, they’ll do some small preventative maintenance tasks like recalibrating your thermostat, lubricating moving parts, and cleaning your air conditioning system’s evaporator coils.
Once the inspection is complete, the technician will write an inspection report detailing everything they found, and list recommended fixes. This type of HVAC inspection takes about an hour to complete and typically costs around $315.
However, you don’t have to inspect the whole system at once. For instance, if you know your AC system needs a checkup but think your furnace is fine, you can just inspect your cooling system. Piecemeal inspection will have a much more limited scope, so it won’t give you the peace of mind that a full inspection would, but it will cost significantly less.
Here’s what it typically costs to inspect different parts of an HVAC system:
Inspection prices for individual HVAC components
Average inspection price range
AC unit inspection
Heat pump inspection
The larger your home, the more powerful your various HVAC units will need to be to properly heat and cool it – and the more powerful an HVAC unit, the more inspecting it will cost. Also, especially large homes sometimes require multi-zone cooling and heating systems, so if you have an especially large home, you may have more HVAC components than someone in a small home.
In short, if your home has significantly more square footage than the median U.S. home—2,299 square feet—you’ll probably pay more than average to get your HVAC system inspected.
HVAC unit location
The accessibility of your HVAC system’s various mechanical and electrical components will significantly influence the amount of time your inspection will take. And since many HVAC companies charge hourly for inspections (hourly rates usually range from $78 to $146), this will impact your final price.
For example, if your outdoor condensing unit is mounted to your roof, you’ll probably pay more for an inspection than someone whose condenser is on the ground in their backyard. Similarly, if your furnace is tucked away in a tight crawl space, you’ll probably pay more than you would if the unit were in a large basement room.
The demand for HVAC services fluctuates throughout the year based on the temperature outside, and HVAC companies tend to charge more when demand is higher. This means that the time of year you get your inspection done can significantly impact both your price and your wait time.
For instance, if you get your AC inspected when the first heat wave of summer rolls in, you’ll likely be joining a long line of other people who waited until the last minute to schedule an HVAC tune-up. The same applies to furnace inspections after the year’s first cold snap.
You can save money on your inspection by scheduling it and picking a date when temperatures should be temperate.
HVAC inspection pricing tiers
The budget option
Despite the cost of hiring an HVAC professional to conduct an inspection, you really shouldn’t inspect your HVAC yourself to save money. An HVAC is a complex web of appliances requiring expertise to assess and diagnose correctly. As such, this isn’t a good candidate for a DIY job, no matter how handy you are.
Instead, try to save money by keeping the scope of your inspection small. Simply hire a technician to inspect the appliance and components you’ll use most in the next few months, especially any appliance you’ve noticed operating less well recently. To save even more money, schedule the inspection for a date that shouldn’t be too busy for HVAC professionals. Spring or early fall are usually safe bets.
Getting a small-scale seasonal inspection like this means you won’t catch everything that might be wrong with your system, and it means your other HVAC components may run inefficiently, but it will keep your upfront costs down.
The mid-range option
If you can afford to get more of your HVAC inspected than what you absolutely have to for comfort, we recommend doing so. Every component you add to your inspection is a component you’ll know how to properly maintain as it runs. And while a more comprehensive inspection won’t necessarily reveal extra issues, it’s better to pay a little extra to know that your whole system is operating perfectly than to save money and not know about potential problems.
The high-end option
If you want to know exactly what’s going on with your whole HVAC system and have money in the budget to go all out, we recommend getting a full inspection of every component. In some cases, this can cost as much as $700, but it’s the only way to know everything there is to know about your system’s every inefficiency and failing part.
That said, an all-out inspection like this isn’t necessary regularly. Many people simply perform them as part of their home inspections when buying a new home and forego them during annual maintenance.
Still, if you’re concerned about your HVAC system's overall health and want to keep it running for as long as possible, then getting a complete inspection is the best way to accomplish this.
How to pay for your HVAC inspection
As far as home improvement projects go, HVAC inspections are more affordable. But if you don’t have hundreds of dollars on hand to pay for this necessary service, you do have a few choices.
Your best option is usually to finance your inspection through your HVAC company. With this option, you can work with your technician to establish a payment plan. Depending on the company you hire, they may not offer you a lot of flexibility around payback periods and interest rates. Still, they could offer something that works perfectly for your budget. When you first set up your appointment with your HVAC company, call and ask about their financing.
Your other option is to pay for your inspection with a credit card. This will typically come with a steep interest rate, so you could pay significantly more than the actual inspection costs if you don’t pay off the credit quickly. However, if you don’t have the necessary cash and don’t like the terms of your HVAC company’s financing, paying with your credit card can help you get the service your HVAC requires.
Other factors to consider
In addition to the inspection cost, your HVAC company will also charge a travel fee just to send an inspector to your home. Fees vary by company and how far the technician has to travel to reach you, but they cost between $27 and $50 on average.
DIY HVAC upkeep
While you can’t accurately inspect your HVAC system yourself, there are a few things you can do to maintain it between inspections.
First and foremost among them is changing your air filters. Most people need to change their HVAC filters every three months, though the interval can depend on air quality and how much you run your system.
You should also keep your outdoor condensing unit free of dirt, fallen leaves, and other debris. Otherwise, your system will have to work harder than usual to keep your home temperate, and an overworked system will fail quicker.
Finally, you should inspect all your exposed air ducts for leaks every once in a while. Air leaks in your ductwork may seem unimportant, but they can require your system to overwork itself. If you find a leak in an air duct, cover it up with duct tape until a technician can repair it for you.
To learn more, read our guide about DIY HVAC maintenance tasks.
Getting your HVAC system inspected
Getting your HVAC inspected is just the first step. After your inspector gives you their report, you’ll then have to decide whether to pay for all the fixes and replacements they recommend, if any. This means you could pay for significantly more than just the inspection. Still, knowing about your HVAC issues is much better than running the system while oblivious to them.