Heating and Cooling Systems

Checking the heating and cooling system is one of the most important parts of the professional home inspection and one that many homebuyers pay little attention to. Once they learn, however, that the price of a new system could set them back between $5,000 and $7,000 their interest in the inspection increases.

While replacing an old furnace is pricey, maintaining an old or inefficient one is almost as costly. In addition, the operating cost of a dated system is far more than that of newer, energy efficient heating and cooling systems.

Heating and cooling your home, according to the experts at the Department of Energy (DOE), eat up almost half of your energy bill.

Before you replace that system, let’s take a quick look at what types of heating and cooling systems are available.

Central Heating and Cooling Systems

These are the most common systems in the United States. They’re inexpensive and popular because the air conditioning system can be combined with the heating system.

The central heating systems works by heating air in a furnace and distributing it throughout the home, via ducts and heat registers.

The disadvantages of central heating include


  • Leaky ducts: If the ducts aren’t insulated properly or they leak, they waste energy.


  • Size of the ducts: because they are large they take up space that could be used of other things.


  • Dust: Ducts tend to gather dust which is then distributed into the living areas of the home.

Hot Water

Hot Water is used in two types of systems: the radiator and radiant floor heating. They both work by distributing heat from a boiler to either the radiator or to a system of pipes beneath the floor. Some radiant floor systems utilize electric cables instead of hot water.

Mini-Split System

The mini-split system is also known as the ductless air-cooling system. It is quite similar to the ducted system but much smaller and work best in a small area.


If you want to go ultra-modern with your heating and cooling system, consider the geothermal system. The geothermal heat pump gathers heat from the earth and distributes it throughout the home. To cool the home, it does the opposite, taking heat from the home and depositing it in the earth.

Geothermal systems are quite efficient and can result in a 70 percent reduction in the cost of heating a home and a 50 percent reduction in cooling costs. The biggest drawback is that installation of a geothermal system is quite costly.

If you are purchasing a home it’s vital that you check the HVAC system. Ask when it was first installed and when it was last serviced. If you have any doubts about the system, have it inspected by an HVAC technician.  One HVAC Company for our area is Paige Mechanical.