HVAC System Inspections: Frequency, Cost, and Why They Shouldn’t Be Overlooked

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Updated October 6, 2021
HVAC repairman
LifestyleVisuals via Getty Images

You should get an HVAC system inspection twice a year

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Whether or not you give it much thought, your HVAC system is the heart of your home. It keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and much like your car needs oil changes, your system needs regular inspections to keep it running smoothly. HVAC inspections cost $70 to $100 on average, a small price to pay for peace of mind.

But if you’ve neglected to have a local HVAC company service your system, we’re here to explain why it’s so important.

Why Should You Get a Biannual HVAC Inspection?

It’s a common misconception that you should only get an HVAC system inspection once a year. While yearly is better than nothing, ideally, you should have your system looked at twice a year since each inspection focuses on different aspects of the system. 

Your HVAC system makes up about half of your energy bill. Parts develop wear and tear over several months, and if your systems are not running properly, they can drive up your utility bill. Not to mention that when things do go wrong with an HVAC system, it’s expensive. All in all, getting it serviced twice a year will extend the life of your HVAC system.

Annual Heating System Inspection

In addition to cleaning the system, your HVAC technician will examine several things during the winter heating system inspection.

  • Make sure the thermostat is running properly

  • Lubricate moving parts

  • Inspect the condensate drain for obstruction

  • Test the voltage and inspect the electrical connections to prevent future component failure

Servicing the heating system can also reveal carbon monoxide leaks, which can cause health problems and even be fatal. Since roughly 75% of service calls for heating systems are due to a lack of servicing, having an annual HVAC inspection can save you money and a hassle.

Annual Air Conditioning System Inspection

An annual air conditioning system inspection looks at some different elements than when you’re getting your system geared up for winter, including:

  • Inspecting and cleaning the condensation pump

  • Cleaning and checking the indoor and outdoor coils

  • Making sure there’s no dirt, dust, or debris in the system

  • Replacing the air filters

Those tasks are in addition to checking the thermostat and visually inspecting the entire HVAC system, which takes place during both the winter and summer inspections.

HVAC repairman running tests
Adam - stock.adobe.com

When Should You Get an HVAC Inspection?

You should schedule your inspections six months apart, preferably in the fall and spring. It’s a good idea to get your furnace inspection planned in late summer because fall is a busy time of year for HVAC technicians. You should get an air conditioning inspection when it’s warm to ensure that your pro can check the refrigerant. On the flip side, you should get the heating system checked when it’s cool outside.

What Happens When You Don’t Have Your HVAC System Inspected?

Most HVAC systems come with warranties that mandate servicing, so if you push back these inspections, you could be violating that warranty. An unserviced system also loses about 5% efficiency per year and reduces the system’s lifespan by 50%. 

If you need a new HVAC system, that will run you between $5,000 and $10,000. However, if your system is more than 10 years old and needs repairs, it’s probably time to replace it rather than having it fixed.

Can You Service an HVAC System Yourself?

You should always have a professional inspect and service your HVAC system. Local HVAC service providers should be licensed, bonded, and insured. Technicians go through years of training to correctly service and fix HVAC systems, so it’s not something you want to try to take on yourself. If your HVAC system does have a warranty, the warranty won’t cover damage done by improper maintenance, so it’s best to leave it to a local HVAC repair pro.

How Does an HVAC Inspection Work During the Homebuying Process?

While your general inspector will do a cursory once over of an HVAC system just to ensure it’s working, it’s worth it to spring for a specific HVAC system inspection. Because HVAC systems are so expensive to replace, you want to know if there are problems before you enter into a contract to purchase a home. 

HVAC inspections during the homebuying process are a little more costly than regular HVAC inspections, clocking in at between $200 and $600. However, they’re more thorough than a regular biannual inspection. The price varies based on the size of the home and whether or not you request a full energy efficiency report.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.