Congratulations on picking out your first home! You are no doubt delighted with your investment, even though you might feel weighed down by all the new responsibilities. Now that you’re a homeowner, not the renter, it’s your job to care for all your home’s appliances and systems, including 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 plenty to learn. Get started with these HVAC system basics for brand-new homeowners.
Know the Different Components of an HVAC System
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Unless you live in an idyllic climate, your new home most likely has this system to keep you warm through the winter and cool throughout 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 options.
- Ductwork attached to return and supply registers in the case of air-forced systems like ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
- Radiators or hot water distribution systems such as 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 climate control.
Understand the Importance of Preventive Maintenance
When you were a renter, your landlord probably managed any HVAC maintenance tasks like replacing the air filter. They may or may not have also handled the bill for thorough heating and cooling inspections.
Now that you’re taking care of things, you can give preventive maintenance the attention it deserves. First, prioritize these do-it-yourself HVAC maintenance tasks:
- Change the air filter every 30 to 90 days.
- Gently hose down the outdoor unit and pare back vegetation to increase airflow.
- Keep all air registers open to preserve 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 measuring air leaks in the ductwork. Expect the following benefits when you get a professional to inspect your system once a year:
- Energy savings
- Fewer breakdowns
- More affordable repair bills
- Improved 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 responsibility. Watch for these signs that it’s time to call a heating and cooling professional:
- Excessive noise: Don’t dismiss a whining, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It might be a cry for help from your home's furnace or air conditioner.
- Comfort or air quality problems: Uneven temperatures, high or low humidity, stuffy rooms and mold-like smells are regularly associated with malfunctioning HVAC equipment.
- Low energy efficiency: Are your bills suddenly on the rise? This can mean your heating and cooling system isn’t functioning right.
- Old age: Like all mechanical systems, HVAC systems eventually wear out. The average life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps last just about a decade.
Understand the HVAC Replacement Process
If the damaged furnace or air conditioner can’t be restored, you’ll need to replace it with an HVAC professional's help. Here’s how it works:
- Explain the problem to the contractor and let them explore it more in-depth.
- The professional will next diagnose the problem and offer possible solutions. A repair may be viable, but based on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement can be more cost-effective.
- You can secure numerous opinions and estimates from assorted contractors if you prefer.
- When you call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, a residential sales consultant will review what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is ideal for you.
- The tech will then provide a written estimate detailing the work needed, the equipment they’ll install and the total price. You should also get information about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
- Schedule the installation after you figure out what system you want. Your contractor will handle everything, even hauling away the old equipment for proper disposal.
- The sales consultant will review the new system with you, describing how to use it, answering any questions and providing all the needed documentation.
Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
If you have questions about these HVAC system guidelines, don’t hesitate to reach out to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We focus on customer education to help you make the best decision about your heating and cooling system. Our team is experienced in a wide range of HVAC services, so turn to us for everything 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 office today.