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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. Inspecting your HVAC costs around $250-$400, with the average homeowner paying $300 for a 1.5 to 2-hour inspection in a mid-sized home with minor issues to report. The minimum cost of an HVAC inspection would be $200 for a 1-hour inspection in a small home with an HVAC system in very good condition. For a 2-hour inspection in a larger home with more extensive repairs to report, the homeowner will spend around $450.
|HVAC Evaluation Cost|
|National average cost||$300|
An HVAC inspection ensures that your home’s heating and cooling system functions properly. This inspection identifies any issues that may be occurring within a homeowner’s HVAC unit. They permit homeowners to stay up-to-date on their unit’s condition and avoid any long-term issues that can be resolved after inspection. For these reasons and more, HVAC inspections are a crucial part of annual maintenance for homes big and small.
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 the system’s working order.
After an inspector looks closely at the HVAC unit, they provide a detailed report that lists any issues or points of concern. They also offer their suggestions for the best ways to resolve these problems, whether it’s by replacing a part, repairing your system, or making some much-needed upgrades.
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, furnaces, 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 checks several different components and also performs simple services. HVAC inspections start with measuring voltage, checking and tightening electrical components and connections, changing filters, and lubricating any moving parts to reduce friction and prevent overheating.
Technicians inspect condensate drains for algae or sludge buildup due to condensation produced from a furnace or AC and remove any clogs or blockages. They 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 inspect ductwork to determine if cleaning is needed.
For new home installations, they audit the system during installation for quality and efficiency. Most inspectors test controls for the start, operation, and shut-off sequences, find hot or cold spots that reduce efficiency, check blower 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 included in an inspection are radiant floor heating 3 examinations and checking the efficiency of humidifiers and dehumidifiers.
The cost for HVAC inspection varies depending on the units that need to be inspected within the HVAC system. In their entirety, the average cost of an HVAC inspection typically falls between $250 and $325. Because home inspections don’t always include an in-depth look at the home’s HVAC system, it can be incredibly helpful to invest in a separate, dedicated inspection. The following information provides insight into the numerous parts of an HVAC unit that may need inspecting and their respective price points.
|Type of Unit||Cost of Inspection|
|Roof Vent||$75 - $125|
|Air Duct||$75 - $125|
|Furnace||$80 - $100|
|Attic Fan||$80 - $100|
|Radiant Flooring||$100 - $125|
|Air Conditioner||$100 - $150|
|Boiler||$100 - $300|
Roof vents serve to evacuate hot or humid air from the highest spaces of a home first. Maintaining proper roof vents is a fantastic way to benefit your home’s HVAC system. On average, the cost of a roof vent inspection is between $75 and $125, depending on the technician’s hourly rates. An inspection of this nature identifies any blockages that may be impeding ideal airflow in your attic area. Roof vent inspections start with an exterior evaluation of the roof, checking for rising shingles that might indicate high humidity levels on the inside.
It goes without saying that maintaining clean air ducts plays a primary role in the efficiency of an HVAC system. Air duct inspections are the first step to determining whether a homeowner requires an air duct cleaning. The average cost of an air duct inspection is between $75 and $125. The average cost of an HVAC duct cleaning, on the other hand, is generally between $750 and $1,000. With this drastic difference in mind, homeowners should take care to invest in regular air duct inspections to minimize long-term air duct cleaning costs. Duct inspections and cleaning go hand-in-hand with HVAC maintenance to ensure that your HVAC system stays running smoothly.
Particularly in cold climates where the furnace is necessary to maintain a comfortable home, it’s important to invest in regular furnace inspections. A furnace inspection costs an average of $80 to $100. However, homeowners should keep in mind that the price of a furnace inspection increases if repairs are necessary. In the long run, keeping an eye on your furnace benefits the lifespan of your HVAC system and even saves you money in repairs down the road.
Attic fans work to cool houses from the top down by extracting hot air from the attic. Fans can be highly useful for home HVAC systems. The average cost of an attic fan inspection falls between $80 and $100. These costs typically cover one hour of an attic ventilation expert’s time. This inspection includes minor repairs. However, if the repairs are extensive or the professional requires more time to resolve the attic fan’s issues, expect the price to increase accordingly.
A popular option to heat floors from below, radiant flooring 3 is a modern innovation that should undergo regular inspections to avoid long-term complications. The average cost of a radiant flooring inspection is generally between $100 and $125. This inspection typically takes place during a homeowner’s annual HVAC inspection. During a radiant flooring inspection, technicians usually charge an HVAC evaluation fee to assess the system’s pressure (for hydronic systems) and the radiant flooring system’s pump. Low pressure indicates a leak in the homeowner’s pipes. A louder-than-usual sound of the pump can be a symptom of other complications.
Annual air conditioner inspections help homeowners enjoy refreshing, cool air all year long. The average cost of an air conditioner inspection is generally between $100 and $150. This price varies depending on different technicians’ hourly rates and the potential need for further repairs or part replacement. That being said, investing in a regular air conditioner inspection keeps your AC unit running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. In the long run, servicing your AC unit each year brings down your final HVAC tune-up cost.
Boilers can be an economical option to heat homes, but like other parts of the HVAC system, boilers must undergo regular inspections. The average price of a boiler inspection is between $100 and $300. This service should be performed annually for best results. Because boilers can experience severe fluctuations in temperature, they are typically built with welded steel that can withstand these extremes. However, if the steel were to crack, the boiler itself could be at risk of exploding. With this in mind, it’s clear why annual boiler inspections are essential for homeowners to maintain a safe and efficient household.
An HVAC technician’s pay rate varies depending on geographic location, experience, and other factors. That being said, the average hourly rate for an HVAC technician is between $75 and $150. Moreover, some technicians have a minimum service fee, regardless of how long the service or maintenance lasts. These minimum fees range up to $200, but they are specific to each HVAC technician. On the other hand, some HVAC technicians offer flat rates for common maintenance or repair services, which some technicians believe increases transparency with clients. Services like inspections, maintenance, and repairs should always be conducted by a licensed HVAC professional. Their experience and in-depth understanding of the regulations associated with HVAC systems are extremely valuable to maintain a properly functioning system.
Taking a closer look at the various parts of a home’s HVAC system allows technicians to inform homeowners of potential issues, as well as impending and current problems that should be resolved as soon as possible. When it comes to new HVAC systems, inspections can be performed every other year to avoid complications and limit long-term maintenance expenses. However, particularly if a home’s HVAC unit is in frequent use, yearly inspections are necessary to maintain an optimal system once the system starts to age. A system that is more than ten years old should be inspected twice a year. For best results, schedule your inspection the season before you need your system the most. This means contacting a technician in the spring for an AC unit inspection. On the other hand, for heating systems, take the initiative to schedule an inspection in the fall.
It’s a good idea to schedule an HVAC inspection before buying a house. It can be challenging to know how well a home’s previous owners cared for its HVAC system, making a preemptive inspection helpful. Inspections are prudent after installing a new system to ensure that it works well and complies with governmental efficiency standards.
Following an inspection, it is customary for an HVAC technician to provide homeowners with an HVAC inspection report. This report is a run-down of everything that the technician observed, complete with in-depth explanations. An HVAC inspection report serves primarily to underscore the system’s current and impending issues. It offers the recipient a series of possible solutions for these issues. An inspection report contains a checklist and open spaces for specific notes from the technician. The report could include a numbered list of the HVAC system’s different features with the technician’s comments. The report’s content, notes, and suggestions vary depending on the unit that is inspected. For example, if a technician is conducting an air duct inspection, their inspection criteria and procedures differ from a standard boiler or radiant flooring inspection. The end of an inspection report includes a list of expenses and payment options for the repairs and maintenance that are needed.
Regular maintenance and inspections increase the energy efficiency of your HVAC system, helping to save money on your bills and reducing the need for service and repairs over the life of the system. An unmaintained system consumes more fuel the longer it goes without maintenance, increasing costs on your energy bills. An older system operates less efficiently than newer, energy-efficient models.
With regular inspections and maintenance, you’ll know how your system is performing and if filters need to be replaced or vents cleaned. You also have a better idea of whether there are any pollutants in your breathable air, such as from pets.
Most homeowners get HVAC inspections through their home inspectors when they first purchase a property. An inspection tells you important info about your system and helps circumvent and/or prepare you for otherwise unforeseen issues.
Yearly inspections keep manufacturers’ warranties in check, letting you know in advance if something is falling out of warranty. They save you money over the life of the system. Inspections find issues before heating and cooling systems fail, leaving you shivering in the winter or sweating in the summer.
Following an HVAC inspection, the technician provides the homeowner with his or her findings. First, the technician highlights any issues discovered during their inspection. Next, they provide a series of suggestions based on what they think the best solutions are for each specific issue. These suggestions include maintenance services and repairs that benefit the HVAC system’s longevity and performance.
If you are buying a new home, it is always a good idea to conduct a dedicated HVAC inspection to reveal any potential issues before purchasing the home. If the inspection uncovers some problems with the home’s HVAC system, new buyers should negotiate the sale price with the sellers to compensate for the expense of repairs or maintenance. On the other hand, if homeowners buy a new HVAC unit and experience issues soon after its purchase, there could be a manufacturing issue. New systems generally come with a warranty, so be sure to contact the system’s manufacturer before paying for a technician’s services.
The broad term “HVAC maintenance” includes a wide range of services provided by an HVAC technician, whether preventative maintenance, repairs, or part replacement. Technicians also wear the “inspector” hat, given their ability to perform HVAC inspections. Generally speaking, an HVAC technician can provide a detailed inspection, report, and suggestions for helpful maintenance and repairs. Remember that a standard HVAC inspection does not include the price of maintenance and repairs. However, the same technician is typically capable of completing both the inspection and the necessary maintenance and repair services, which is convenient for homeowners. If the problems are too complex for the original technician, they will refer you to a specialist for your specific issues. Technicians provide an estimate for the cost of necessary repairs and maintenance following their inspection. This information can be found in the inspector’s report. The most common maintenance that a technician performs after an inspection includes fixing a malfunctioning thermostat, changing the air filters, cleaning pipes and repairing leaks, and fixing a fan relay mechanism or a blown fuse. Once again, preventative maintenance is the best strategy to avoid serious HVAC maintenance and repair costs down the road.
HVAC inspections usually take between 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the type of unit inspected and its condition. The more damage there is for a technician to report, the longer the inspection takes. Yet another factor that affects the length of an HVAC system inspection is the size of the home. Generally speaking, the larger a home is, the longer its inspection takes to complete.
Standard HVAC systems typically last between 10 and 15 years. However, with regular maintenance and repairs, HVAC systems may last 20+ years. It’s also helpful to note that certain units last longer than others. For example, furnaces can last 20 to 30 years, while boilers have been known to last up to 35 years. To avoid a premature decline in unit efficiency, homeowners should invest in annual maintenance and repairs from a licensed HVAC technician.
Most HVAC service charges are hourly--$75 to $150 an hour. Sometimes service costs more than just an inspection since the technician has to perform additional labor. Expect to pay for any materials and parts used while servicing your systems.
The average hourly pay for a mechanical inspector is $22 an hour. The average hourly pay for an HVAC technician is $18 to $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, they make about $41,000.
To become an HVAC inspector, you should have, at a minimum, a high school diploma. However, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is preferred by employers. Also, hands-on technical training and attending a building inspection course for a certificate are necessary. Then you can join an apprenticeship program with a certified inspector before applying to become a certified inspector.