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HVAC Checklist: Purchasing an Older Home

A lot of our focus in the past has largely been on new homes, such as checking the HVAC system before agreeing to purchase and which questions you should ask your home builder, but what about older homes? When you’re talking about a home that’s 50, 100, or even 150 years old, that means that it was built in a different era that was under a different set of laws and one where different building materials were used that were later found to be hazardous.

So before purchasing an older home, it would be wise to consider a couple of important items:

  1. Have an abatement specialist come by and inspect the house.
  2. What would the impact of installing a new HVAC system be if the current system has not been updated?

So what should would-be homeowners do first? Well, Step One…

Call the Environmental Specialist First

Some would-be homebuyers find themselves in the middle of a never-ending money pit due to extensive repairs, such as with attempting to install a new HVAC system and then discovering asbestos-covered pipes in the basement. Or perhaps ancient fluorescent fixtures out in the garage.

Before any big moves are made to sign the dotted line, it’s important to get a clean bill of health on the house, and part of that includes one from the environmental specialist. This person will inspect the house for any hazardous materials, especially ones that are no longer in production, but were at the time when the house was built.

These can include materials such as:

  • Asbestos, used for fireproofing. Typically found on pipes.
  • Lead, toxic to humans. Found in everything from paint to window putty.
  • Mercury, dangerous to humans in small amounts. Found in relays, light bulbs, thermometers, etc.
  • Heavy Metals, this is typically placed between joints as a fireproof material.

These materials can become disturbed while demolishing the existing structure to install the new HVAC system, so be sure to get the clear from the specialist before deciding whether or not the cost is worth it.

Don’t Forget What You are Looking For

A home is an investment. And one that you are buying into for life. Before signing that contract, don’t only make sure that it is going to be safe, but also make sure that it fits you and your family’s needs. Access to good schools, restaurants, and shopping are important parts of our everyday happiness, and even the coolest historical house couldn’t take that away.

And even more so, if it’s going to be way too expensive to heat and cool it, avoid it.

How FAMCO Can Help

We are FAMCO, one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest distributors and manufacturers of HVAC equipment and accessories. If you’re looking for the parts that would go great with your new older home, feel free to get in touch with us. We will be more than happy to help.

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