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How to Look

at a House

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More blog posts about heating and air conditioning:

  1. How can I find out the size of my air conditioner?

  2. How can I find out the age of my air conditioner or furnace?

  3. The coils on my heat pump are covered with ice on cold mornings. What’s wrong with it?

  4. What is the SEER of my old air conditioner?

  5. What is the difference between the “ON” and “AUTO” settings on my thermostat?

  6. What is a “ton” of air conditioning?

  7. What is the best air conditioner for a mobile home?

  8. How do I find the right size air conditioner for my house?

  9. What is an HVAC system?

  10. How can checking the fireplace damper reduce energy bills year-round?

  11. What is the difference between the SEER and EER of an air conditioner?

  12. What does an ultraviolet air treatment system do?

  13. The coolant line to the outside unit of my air conditioner is frozen. What's wrong?

  14. What size air conditioner is right for my mobile home?

  15. What is the minimum SEER rating for a new air conditioner?

  16. What does the “AFUE” rating of a furnace mean?

  17. How much life is left in that air conditioner?

  18. Why is there mold around the air conditioning ducts?

  19. What is a geothermal heat pump?

  20. What is the difference between a heat pump and a cooling air conditioner?

  21. Is it alright to close the air conditioning vents in unused rooms?

  22. What is the right MERV number for my air conditioning filter?

  23. Should I move my air conditioner into the attic?

  24. What are the minimum requirements for bathroom ventilation?

  25. What is an air conditioning heat recovery system?

  26. When should I switch the thermostat to “EMERGENCY HEAT” for my heat pump air conditioner?

  27. Why does the air conditioner condensate drain line need a trap in it?

  28. What is the average lifespan of an air conditioner?

  29. Should I remove an old whole house fan or keep it?

  30. How can I find out the SEER of my air conditioner?

  31. Is it acceptable for an air conditioning condensate drain line to terminate under the house?

  32. How much will I save on my utility bill if I get a new higher SEER air conditioner?

  33. Will closing doors reduce my heating and cooling costs?

  34. Why is there a wall switch next to the furnace or indoor unit of the air conditioner in the garage?

  35. Which one is better for a home heating system: electric or natural gas?

  36. How can I tell if an air conditioner uses R-22 or R-410A refrigerant?

  37. What is a return air plenum for a furnace or air conditioning system?

  38. Why does it take so long to cool a house when the air conditioner has been off for a while?

  39. What are the right words to use when talking about a heating and air conditioning system?

  40. What is a ductless mini-split air conditioner?

  41. What is a FanRecycler and AirCycler?

  42. Why is my bathroom vent fan not exhausting enough air?

Welcome to our blog!
We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

  1. 2)Poorly sealed around opening - Light visible around the edges of the unit, loose seal material, or cracks in the accordion panel of a window air conditioner.

  2. 3)Not cooling or low temperature differential - The difference between the ambient room air and the cold air coming out of the air conditioner is called the “temperature differential,” and it should be 14º F or more if the unit is functioning properly.

  3. 4)Connected to wall outlet with extension cord - Most units are specified by the manufacturer to only be directly connected to a wall receptacle. While there are heavier extension cords rated for wall/window air conditioner use, they are 6-feet or less.

  4. 5)Exterior side of unit exhausts into enclosed space - When the heat generated is dissipated into an enclosed or partially-enclosed area, such as a garage or carport, the efficiency of the system is reduced.

  5. 6)Connected to ungrounded (2-slot) receptacle - The 2-slot ungrounded receptacles found still found in many pre-1960 homes are safe and acceptable as long as only 2-prong cords are connected to them; but all wall/window air conditioners require grounding and have a 3-prong cord. The small grey conversion plug used to connect a 3-prong cord to a 2-slot receptacle, shown below, does not actually provide a ground.

    Incidentally, we note in our report if a wall/window air conditioner does not have a heating mode, if it is in a room that does not have any installed heating appliance or duct from a central system in it. While it is not a defect, we want the homebuyer to know if it is not meant to be an all-seasons room. Also, rooms without permanently installed heat are not counted in the calculation of total square footage of conditioned space for a real estate transaction.

If you want to reproduce this blog post, please contact us for permission, attribution and link requirements.
While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
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