HVAC System Basics for New Homeowners
Congratulations on buying your first home! You are obviously thrilled with your investment, even though you may also feel overwhelmed by all the new responsibilities. Now that you’re the owner, not the renter, it’s your job to take care of all your home’s appliances and systems, such as the heating and cooling equipment.
If the only interaction you’ve ever experienced with a furnace or air conditioner is to change the thermostat, you have a lot to learn. Try these HVAC system tips for brand-new homeowners.
Know the Different Elements of an HVAC System
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Unless you live in the perfect climate, your new home likely has this system to keep you warm during the winter and cool for the summer. Here are the key parts of an HVAC system:
- Comfort units, such as an air conditioner, air-source heat pump, furnace, boiler, geothermal heat pump or ductless mini-split, to name a few options.
- Ductwork connected to return and supply registers in the case of air-forced systems like ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
- Radiators or hot water distribution systems like boilers.
- Indoor air quality equipment, such as an air filter, whole-house humidifier, whole-house dehumidifier, air purifier or energy-recovery ventilator.
- Thermostat for indoor temperature control.
Recognize the Importance of Preventive Maintenance
When you were a renter, your landlord probably handled any HVAC maintenance tasks such as replacing the air filter. They may or may not have foot the bill for thorough heating and cooling inspections.
Now that you’re taking care of things, you can provide preventive maintenance the attention it deserves. First, perform these do-it-yourself HVAC maintenance tasks:
- Change the air filter every 30 to 90 days.
- Carefully hose down the outdoor unit and pare back vegetation to improve airflow.
- Keep all air registers open to maintain proper system balance.
Then, request annual maintenance for each HVAC unit. Only a qualified professional can perform in-depth tasks like cleaning the furnace burners, recharging the AC refrigerant and gauging air leaks in the ductwork. Expect the following advantages when you get a professional to inspect your system every year:
- Energy savings
- Fewer breakdowns
- Lower repair bills
- Superior home comfort
- Longer system life span
- Peace of mind
Keep an Eye Out for Signs of Trouble
Repairing and replacing the HVAC system is the homeowner’s responsibility. Watch for these signals that it’s time to hire a heating and cooling professional:
- Loud noise: Don’t neglect a screeching, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It can be a cry for help from the furnace or air conditioner.
- Comfort or air quality problems: Uneven temperatures, high or low humidity, stale rooms and musty odors are routinely tied to defective HVAC equipment.
- Low energy efficiency: Are your bills mysteriously increasing? This could mean your heating and cooling system isn’t running correctly.
- Old age: Like all mechanical utilities, HVAC systems ultimately wear out. The standard life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps can live around a decade.
Learn More About the HVAC Replacement Process
If a defective furnace or air conditioner can’t be repaired, you’ll need to replace it with an HVAC specialist’s help. Here’s how this works:
- Illustrate the problem to your technician and allow them to take a closer look at it more in-depth.
- The technician will diagnose the problem and offer available solutions. A repair might be doable, but based on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement might be more cost-effective.
- You can secure various opinions and estimates from assorted contractors if you prefer.
- When you call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, a residential sales consultant will go over what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is best for you.
- The tech will then provide a written estimate describing the work needed, the equipment they’ll install and the overall cost. You may also receive info about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
- Schedule the installation as soon as you figure out what system you want. Your contractor will complete everything, even hauling away the old equipment for safe disposal.
- The sales consultant can go over the new system with you, describing how to use it, answering any questions and offering all the necessary documentation.
Call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing
If you have concerns about these HVAC system fundamentals, call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We emphasize customer education to help you make an educated decision about your heating and cooling system. Our team is proficient in a full range of HVAC services, so give us a call for anything from furnace maintenance to AC repair to heat pump installation. For more details or to ask about an estimate, please call your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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