Common HVAC Problems Found During Home Inspections

Common HVAC Problems Found During Home Inspections

It’s important to be aware of common HVAC problems when you’re buying a house — but also when you’re selling. You can avoid getting citations on your inspection report by making sure the following heating and air conditioning issues are addressed.

These include:

  • Leaks
  • Clogged drains
  • Dirty coils
  • Uneven condenser pads
  • Dirty filters
  • Proper exhaust vents
  • Duct system flaws
  • Old equipment

Leaks and emissions

Leaks in the cooling system can allow the escape of refrigerant or gas, and are not only among the most common problems, but also the most potentially dangerous. 

Clogged condenser drains

Condensation collects during the cooling process and is often removed through a drain hose. If this drain hose gets clogged, the condensation will back up and cause moisture issues. 

Dirty condenser coils

Dirty coils can restrict air flow and lower your energy efficiency. Keeping plants and all other obstructions at least one foot away from the unit is helpful, and you can clean the coil surface with a brush or vacuum cleaner.

Uneven condenser

The pad for the outside condenser should be within 10 degrees of level. When it is not, it reduces the effectiveness of lubrication in the tubing and increases stress on refrigerant lines.


Filters have a bigger job these days. They not only protect your system’s mechanical parts from getting dusty and dirty, they also help clean the air that runs through the equipment. If they are not changed regularly and kept clean, it affects the air flow and can cause problems with your heating and cooling system.

Exhaust flue

Any combustion equipment needs to properly vent its waste, including carbon monoxide. Your exhaust flue, vents this waste out of the house and releases it outside. The flue pipe needs to slope up to an outdoor vent or chimney with proper support and should be kept away from anything flammable.


If your ductwork is not installed properly, or develops cracks or broken connections, you can lose heated or cooled air into attics or inside walls.

Old age

According to a study by the National Association of Home Builders, you should expect to get 15 to 20 years out of a well-maintained HVAC system. Eventually, everything needs replacement at some point, but you can extend the life of your equipment by having it maintained regularly.

Good maintenance is key

How well an HVAC unit has been maintained can be an indicator of how well the entire home has been maintained. As a homeowner, it’s good to have your heating and air conditioning systems inspected by a licensed technician every year.