HVAC System Basics for New Homeowners
Congrats on picking out your first home! You are certainly thrilled with your investment, though you may also feel weighed down by all these new responsibilities. Now that you’re a homeowner, not the renter, it’s your job to maintain all your home’s appliances and utility equipment, including the heating and cooling equipment.
If the only interaction you’ve ever had with a furnace or air conditioner is to change the thermostat, you have a lot to learn. Try these HVAC system basics for first-time homeowners.
Know the Parts of an HVAC System
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Unless you live in the perfect climate, your new home most likely has this system to keep you warm during the winter and cool for the summer. Here are the basic 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 attached to return and supply registers in the case of air-forced systems including ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
- Radiators or hot water distribution systems like boilers.
- Indoor air quality solutions, including 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 renting your home, your landlord most likely took care of HVAC maintenance tasks such as replacing the air filter. They may or may not have paid the bill for comprehensive heating and cooling inspections.
Now that you’re taking care of things, 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.
- Gently hose down the outdoor unit and trim back vegetation to enhance airflow.
- Keep all air registers open to sustain proper system balance.
Then, arrange yearly maintenance for each HVAC unit. Only an experienced professional can execute in-depth tasks like cleaning the furnace burners, recharging the AC refrigerant and gauging air leaks in the ductwork. Expect the following benefits when you hire a professional to inspect your system every year:
- Energy savings
- Fewer breakdowns
- Smaller repair bills
- Improved 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 contact a heating and cooling specialist:
- Excess noise: Don’t dismiss a screeching, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It might 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 mold-like smells are often associated with malfunctioning HVAC equipment.
- Reduced energy efficiency: Are your bills suddenly going up? This might mean your heating and cooling system isn’t working properly.
- Old age: Like all mechanical systems, HVAC systems eventually give out. The standard life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps can live about a decade.
Understand the HVAC Replacement Process
If a damaged furnace or air conditioner can’t be restored, you’ll need to replace it with an HVAC professional’s help. Here’s how that works:
- Illustrate the problem to the contractor and allow them to take a closer look at it more in-depth.
- The tech will next diagnose the problem and offer possible solutions. A repair may be feasible, but depending on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement may be more cost-effective.
- You can obtain various opinions and estimates from assorted contractors if you want.
- When you call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, a residential sales consultant will determine what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is best for you.
- The tech should provide a written estimate describing the work required, the equipment they’ll install and the total price. You may also be given information about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
- Schedule the installation after you pick what system you want. Your technician will handle everything, even hauling away the old equipment for proper disposal.
- The sales consultant will review the new system with you, explaining how to use it, addressing any questions and providing all the needed documentation.
Call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing
If you have concerns about these HVAC system fundamentals, don’t hesitate Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We prioritize customer education to help you make the best decision about your heating and cooling system. Our team is well-versed in a full range of HVAC services, so turn to us for everything from furnace maintenance to AC repair to heat pump installation. For more info or to ask for an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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