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Power Question 4: How Old Are The…?

Up to date we have covered the length on market, renovations, repairs, and maintenance of the property. All very important power questions. The next power questions is:

How old are the furnace, AC, Windows, and Roof?

Why is this a power question? Two reasons.

The first is that these four elements can be the costliest repairs to a house. The older the age of the item, the less of a remaining life it has. By asking the age, you are effectively asking roughly how much longer will they last. Nothing is certain as no one can see the future, but it does offer a good “guestimate”. By asking this question you are trying to estimate how long before you are forced to invest into these elements of the house. To give you an idea of average lifespans of some of these items, an average furnace may last 25 years, an AC unit may last 15 years, windows should last 25 years, and the average roof (shingles)  lifespan can vary greatly depending on ventilation, insulation in the attic, sun exposure, and type of shingle used, but a rough estimate can be 15 years (for the most common shingles used: Asphalt)

The other reason this question is a power question, is due to the influence on heat /cooling and hydro. Newer furnaces and air conditioners are more efficient at heating or cooling the home and can achieve the results you are looking for at a lower cost than in the past. A newer unit that is 5 years old will use less electricity than one from 15 years ago. High efficiency modern furnaces or air conditioners can save you significantly on energy usage.

Windows have come a long way from those used in older homes. Newer windows have higher thermal efficiency, less air leakage and more solar gain (heat from the sun). All of this can contribute greatly to the heating or cooling of the house.

The age and condition of the roof not only affects the heating bills but also protects the house from the elements. As a roof gets older it loses its capability to perform both of these functions. When shingles start to go, heat begins to escape. I have heard of a roofing company that would inspect roofs at night with a thermal camera to detect these heat lose areas. Water can start to make its way in and this can lead to damaging the home. The older the roof, the more likely there are leaks and areas that are weakening.

Next time you are considering purchasing a home, make sure to ask the power question “How old are the furnace, AC, windows, and roof.” The age of the item is not as important as the knowing of it. If you know, then you can adjust your offer to compensate. If you are unaware, these costs could be significant and may arise shortly after the purchase of your new home.

 To read the rest of the Power Questions, you can find them here:

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