Saturday, December 22, 2018

Advanced Training for Inspecting HVAC Systems for Home Inspectors

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One of the largest home purchases, the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system requires annual inspections to ensure energy-efficient operation. Neglected and dirty HVAC equipment is the main reason for the majority of system failures. While a homeowner can conduct his own HVAC system inspection, for repairs, local state laws might require a certified professional to correct any problems. After a do-it-yourself HVAC system inspection, you might consider an annual maintenance or service contract to protect your home's HVAC investment.

1. Start with the thermostat and check all functions for correct operation. Make sure that both the heating and cooling systems turn off at the preset temperatures.
2. Turn off the circuit breakers that power both the furnace and air conditioner. The circuit breakers are in the electrical service panel. Leave both units off until after the HVAC inspection.
3. Check for loose electrical connections.
4. Listen for any squeaks or noises when manually inspecting moving parts.
5. Find the condensate drain and check for clogs. Condensation that builds up during HVAC use must drain properly to prevent rust from forming on internal parts. Clogged condensate drains also contribute to bacteria and mold growth in the home.
6. Remove and clean all air filters attached to the cold air returns in the home. To improve HVAC efficiency, clean them every 90 days.
7. Smell for gas leaks near all gas fittings, if your home uses gas. Inspect heat exchangers or burners for cracks, abnormal discoloration or deterioration.
8. Review the system for dirt and debris. A buildup of debris and dirt affects the system's efficiency. Use a small portable vacuum to remove any dust buildup.
9. Look at the air-conditioning coils for an accumulation of dirt or dust. Vacuum the coils to improve cooling efficiency.
10. Turn the circuit breakers back on after your inspection is complete.

An annual service or maintenance contract with your local HVAC contractor is a small investment to protect your HVAC system. Most contractors conduct inspections biannually in the spring for air-conditioning units and the fall for furnaces. At the time of inspection, the HVAC contractor will also make any small repairs and lubricate all the system's moving parts.

Do not make any repairs to your HVAC system if the system is under warranty or if you don't have experience. Do not attempt to recharge the air-conditioning system. Laws require a certified technician to recharge the HVAC system. Discharging refrigerants in the air is illegal.


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