Congrats on purchasing your first home! You are undoubtedly pleased with your investment, though you might feel overloaded by all these new responsibilities. Now that you’re the homeowner, not the renter, it’s your job to care for all your home’s appliances and systems, like the heating and cooling equipment.
If the only interaction you’ve ever experienced with a furnace or air conditioner is to adjust the thermostat, you have more to learn. Get a head start with these HVAC system basics for new homeowners.
Know the Different Elements of an HVAC System
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Unless you live in an idyllic climate, your new home probably has this system to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Here are the key parts of an HVAC system:
- Comfort units, like an air conditioner, air-source heat pump, furnace, boiler, geothermal heat pump or ductless mini-split, to name a few possibilities.
- Ductwork fixed to return and supply registers in the case of air-forced systems such as ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
- Radiators or hot water distribution systems in the case of boilers.
- Indoor air quality products, such as an air filter, whole-house humidifier, whole-house dehumidifier, air purifier or energy-recovery ventilator.
- Thermostat for indoor temperature control.
Understand the Importance of Preventive Maintenance
When you were a renter, a landlord most likely managed 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 in charge, you can give preventive maintenance the attention it deserves. First, perform these do-it-yourself HVAC maintenance tasks:
- Change the air filter every 30 to 90 days.
- Lightly hose down the outdoor unit and cut back vegetation to increase airflow.
- Keep all air registers open to maintain proper system balance.
Then, request yearly maintenance for each HVAC unit. Only a qualified professional can execute in-depth tasks like cleaning the furnace burners, recharging the AC refrigerant and measuring air leaks in the ductwork. Count on the following benefits when you get a professional to inspect your system once a year:
- Energy savings
- Fewer breakdowns
- More affordable repair bills
- Enhanced 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 signs that it’s time to hire a heating and cooling professional:
- Loud noise: Don’t dismiss a whining, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It could be a cry for help from the furnace or air conditioner.
- Comfort or air quality issues: Uneven temperatures, high or low humidity, stale rooms and musty odors are regularly tied to malfunctioning HVAC equipment.
- Reduced energy efficiency: Are your bills mysteriously on the rise? This could mean your heating and cooling system isn’t functioning correctly.
- Old age: Like all mechanical equipment, HVAC systems inevitably wear out. The average life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps last around a decade.
Learn More About the HVAC Replacement Process
If a finicky furnace or air conditioner can’t be fixed, you’ll need to replace it with an HVAC specialist's help. Here’s how this works:
- Explain the problem to your technician and let them explore it more in-depth.
- The technician will next diagnose the problem and recommend the best solutions. A repair could be doable, but depending on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement might be more cost-effective.
- You can obtain multiple opinions and estimates from different contractors if you prefer.
- When you contact Freschi Service Experts, a residential sales consultant will review what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is perfect for you.
- The technician should compose a written estimate detailing the work needed, the equipment they’ll install and the overall cost. You may also receive details about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
- Schedule the installation as soon as you decide what system you want. Your technician will take care of everything, like hauling away the old equipment for appropriate disposal.
- The sales consultant should go over the new system with you, detailing how to use it, addressing any questions and offering all the required documentation.
Call Freschi Service Experts
If you have questions about these HVAC system basics, feel free to get in touch with Freschi Service Experts. We emphasize customer education to help you make an informed decision about your HVAC system. Our team is experienced in a full range of HVAC services, so turn to us for anything from furnace maintenance
to AC repair
to heat pump installation
. For more information or to ask for an estimate, please call your local Freschi Service Experts office