Buying or selling a home became a bit more complex recently. In January of 2015, the federal government released new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) requirements for homeowners. The standards, measured by SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), vary depending where the home in question is located. In the Yorba Linda area and throughout California, these standards are on the high end, due to the extensive use of air conditioning systems during the summer months.

Old Standards as Compared to New Standards

The most compelling change to the updated HVAC requirements is the regional factor. Prior to January 2015, standards were set on a national basis. Now, homeowners in certain regions of the United States are required to have more efficient heating and AC systems. California requires a 14 SEER rating, up from 13 previously.

Home Sellers and HVAC

Current homeowners looking to sell their house need to be aware of the new standards for HVAC systems. Most homes today have a 13 SEER HVAC rating, and the cost for upgrade can be significant. Sellers could end up paying anywhere from 25 percent to 50 percent more to upgrade from a 13 SEER to a 14. Additionally, since the HVAC system is multifunctional, it is possible that an upgrade to one part of the system may be incompatible with the rest. Current estimates put meeting the new HVAC requirements at an average of $4,000 for the seller. In the local market, a current homeowner could expect to recoup the cost of upgrading after 15 years of energy use, thanks to the brutal summers in the region. Additionally, the upgraded HVAC system would increase the resale value of the home. Although a system upgrade is expensive, it has the potential to increase both the value and salability of your home.

Home Buyers and HVAC

Individuals interested in purchasing a home need to be aware of how the new HVAC requirements may affect them. Ideally, you will want to purchase a home already up to code with the new SEER 14 standard or beyond. This will eliminate all potential costs for upgrading. But if the home for sale is not up to code, it is a good idea for buyers to ask the seller if a home warranty plan is in place or available that will cover the cost if the system fails in the future. This will help mitigate future expenses for the buyer, who will be faced with upgrading the system should the existing equipment not be reparable.

Whether you're a potential home seller or a buyer, it is important to learn about the new HVAC SEER standards. The cost and hassle of upgrading can be inconvenient for sellers, and the risk of inheriting an unprotected or faulty system can be a drawback to buyers. As a seller or buyer in the Yorba Linda market, it is important to enlist the help and knowledge of a professional real estate agent. Contact the Edie Israel Team to learn more about the implications of the new HVAC requirements if you are buying or selling a home.