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The must-have checklist when buying a new home.


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Purchasing a home is likely one of the largest investments you’ll likely ever make, and you’ll want to ensure the home’s major systems and appliances are working properly. Here are a few tips to help give you a better understanding of what to look for during your home inspection.

Heating system

Most common break: heat exchanger

Did you know that most home inspectors don’t check, or are not qualified, to inspect the heat exchanger? The heat exchanger is a critical element to the heating system, and one that is commonly overworked. It’s recommended to hire a licensed HVAC technician to certify the entire system.

A furnace certification goes beyond the general “clean and check”, but rather tests the heat exchanger for leaks and cracks. It’s a common misunderstanding that a crack in the heat exchanger will prevent the furnace from functioning, which is not the case. Cracks must become severe in nature before a furnace will become inoperable.

Air conditioner

Most common break: evaporative coils

The majority of air conditioner problems come from inadequate ventilation from the exhaust (back) side of the unit. Take extra precaution when having this system inspected by having a temperature differential test performed. A good result for this test should show a ratio of 16/21 degrees.

Also, be aware of any recent invoices from the seller indicating “Freon added,” which could indicate a leak in the system and should be questioned.

Appliances

Did you know that when it comes to a home inspection, most appliances are excluded? Test each appliance in the home by having them run a full cycle. The dishwasher, for instance, may turn on and seem like it’s working, but having it run a full cycle can help to ensure the spray pumps, arms and drain hoses are working properly.

Plumbing systems

Most common break: Hot water heater

When working with a home inspector, be sure to have them check the water pressure on the hot water heater; signs of rust are a good indicator that there could be issues in the future.

Electrical system

Is the service panel up to code? More specifically, if the service panel is labeled “Federal Pacific,” it will need to be replaced as this brand has been banned due to a defect linked to electrical fires.

Age matters. Knowing the age of the systems and appliances in your home can help determine what sort of warranty plan is needed, and save you time and money. Many home warranty plans offer different coverage options for repairs and replacements that might arise through the course of homeownership. Be sure and select a company and plan that best fits the needs of your systems and appliances.