Selling your home? Don’t forget the HVAC A.C.E.: Age, Condition and Efficiency
When considering properties on the market, old, inefficient heating and cooling systems can be a sticking point for savvy buyers. But the cost of a full replacement—or even a significant repair to a major component like your A/C compressor or furnace heat exchanger—can be a considerable investment that most sellers aren’t eager to take on.
Before you make any decisions about your HVAC system, use the A.C.E. rule (Age, Condition, Efficiency) to decide whether to repair, replace or simply wait and see.
Age of Your System
Industry leaders, including National Home Builders, EnergyStar/EPA and the Department of Energy state that home comfort systems—air conditioning units, heat pumps and furnaces— may last between 15-20 years. However, professionals note that unit-efficiency declines noticeably after ten years, even with regular maintenance.
The prospect of inheriting an older system near the end of its life may give some buyers pause. For these eagle-eyed future homeowners, a newly redone master or renovated kitchen may not be enough to look past the possibility of higher utility bills and less-reliable conditioning power.
In fact, some buyers note that an older HVAC system is even more in a renovated or well-staged home.
For potential buyers, a new home is a significant investment. As a result, buyers may not be willing or able to take on the significant expense of major HVAC system repairs. When costs begin to build, it isn’t uncommon for a seller to offer a credit or price break to help cover a new system. In some cases, an aftermarket warranty for the old system may also help close a sale.
Condition of Your System
A well-maintained HVAC system, one that is routinely inspected and serviced, should satisfy most presale scrutiny. However, some issues such as filthy filters, improperly fitted or disconnected pipes and ducts are easy to spot. Above all, safety is a real concern to both the buyer and seller.
Some of the most common problems, including refrigerant leaks or gas emissions, can also be the most dangerous.
A cracked heat exchanger or leaks in your furnace or air conditioning units can release carbon monoxide and other toxins into the home. Needless to say, once revealed, these types issues should be dealt with immediately. Not only are these problems the ultimate deal breaker, but pose an immediate threat to the safety of your family.
Efficiency of Your System
A brand new, high-efficiency system always stands out to potential home buyers. A new system holds the promise of years of trouble-free performance. Plus, most homeowners know a new system saves as much as 20% on heating and cooling costs when compared with systems from just 10-12 years ago.
An older, outdated HVAC unit can’t compete with present efficiency standards. Look at your heating and air conditioning bills over the last couple years if possible. Is your heating and cooling system operating at optimal efficiency? Or, have energy and repair costs gone up over time?
A money-saving, high-efficiency replacement system may help your home sell quickly. As with all upgrades to attract buyers, be sure to do your homework, weigh the benefits, and be prepared to compromise.
The First Step to A Great Sale: Schedule a full HVAC maintenance inspection
In a perfect world, your essential comfort systems are already on a routine maintenance plan. If not, now is the time to talk to your Horizon Services team. Horizon offers cost-effective, value-adding maintenance plans that keep your heating and air conditioning units running at peak performance. Schedule a full HVAC inspection to set a system baseline, and evaluate performance.
An inspection can save you from being blindsided by unexpected system issues, and the associated repair costs. Once you know exactly what’s needed to get your system to sale-worthy condition, you can make a more informed decision on whether to repair, replace or simply wait and see.
Let Your Horizon Pros Help.
Horizon Services has more than 30 years of experience, helping homeowners (and home sellers) fine-tune their heating and cooling systems. With an incredible two-year repair warranty, and an up-to 12-year installation warranty, it’s easy to perfect in-home HVAC for your comfort, or your buyers. Call any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to schedule a free, no-obligation comfort consultation. Our experts will work with you to create customized solution that fits your budget, your family, and your plans for the future.
Key questions buyers may ask about your HVAC system:
What is the age of your HVAC system?
Systems over 10 years old may warrant extra scrutiny for many buyers.
What are your monthly heating and air conditioning costs?
Excessive or rising costs over time can be a red flag to buyers—even with regular maintenance.
Do you have service or repair records?
Service records can show that an HVAC system has been well-maintained, or indicate costly future issues.