Congrats on buying your first home! You are certainly pleased with your investment, though you may also feel overwhelmed by all these new responsibilities. Now that you’re the homeowner, not the renter, it’s your job to take care of all your home’s appliances and utilities, like the heating and cooling equipment.
If the only interaction you’ve ever had with a furnace or air conditioner is to use the thermostat, you have more to learn. Get started 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 a perpetually comfortable climate, your new home probably has this system to keep you warm during the winter and cool in the summer. Here are the important parts of an HVAC system:
- Comfort equipment, like 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 such as ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
- Radiators or hot water distribution systems such as boilers.
- Indoor air quality solutions, such as an air filter, whole-house humidifier, whole-house dehumidifier, air purifier or energy-recovery ventilator.
- Thermostat for indoor comfort control.
Recognize the Importance of Preventive Maintenance
When you rented, a landlord probably took care of HVAC maintenance tasks such as replacing the air filter. They may or may not have foot the bill for detailed heating and cooling inspections.
Now that you’re in charge, you can provide preventive maintenance the attention it deserves. First, perform these do-it-yourself HVAC maintenance tasks:
- Replace the air filter every 30 to 90 days.
- Carefully hose down the outdoor unit and pare back vegetation to enhance airflow.
- Keep all air registers open to preserve proper system balance.
Then, arrange yearly maintenance for each HVAC unit. Only an experienced professional can complete in-depth tasks like cleaning the furnace burners, recharging the AC refrigerant and identifying air leaks in the ductwork. Expect the following benefits when you call a professional to inspect your system once a year:
- Energy savings
- Fewer breakdowns
- Smaller repair bills
- Superior home comfort
- Expanded system life span
- Peace of mind
Keep an Eye Out for Signs of Trouble
Repairing and replacing the HVAC system is the homeowner’s job. Watch for these signs that it’s time to call a heating and cooling professional:
- Excessive noise: Don’t ignore a whining, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It might be a cry for help from the furnace or air conditioner.
- Comfort or air quality problems: Inconsistent temperatures, high or low humidity, stagnant rooms and musty smells are often associated with malfunctioning HVAC equipment.
- Reduced energy efficiency: Are your bills suddenly on the rise? This can mean your heating and cooling system isn’t running correctly.
- Old age: Like all mechanical systems, HVAC systems ultimately wear out. The standard life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps run around a decade.
Learn More About the HVAC Replacement Process
If your defective furnace or air conditioner can’t be fixed, you’ll need to replace it with an HVAC contractor’s help. Here’s how that works:
- Explain the problem to your technician and allow them to take a closer look at it more in-depth.
- The technician should diagnose the problem and offer possible solutions. A repair may be viable, but depending on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement might be more cost-effective.
- You can obtain various opinions and estimates from assorted contractors if you so choose.
- When you call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, a residential sales consultant will review what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is best for you.
- The contractor will supply you with a written estimate describing the work needed, the equipment they’ll install and the final cost. You may also receive info about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
- Schedule the installation after you decide what system you want. Your technician will handle everything, even hauling away the old equipment for appropriate disposal.
- The sales consultant should review the new system with you, detailing how to use it, helping with any questions and offering all the needed documentation.
Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
If you have concerns about these HVAC system fundamentals, feel free to call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We emphasize customer education to help you make the best decision about your home comfort system. Our team is well-versed 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 information or to ask for an estimate, please call your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.