Congrats on buying your first home! You are no doubt delighted with your investment, although you may 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 utilities, 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 plenty to learn. Try these HVAC system basics for first-time 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 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 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 when it comes to air-forced systems like ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
- Radiators or hot water distribution systems like boilers.
- Indoor air quality solutions, like an air filter, whole-house humidifier, whole-house dehumidifier, air purifier or energy-recovery ventilator.
- Thermostat for indoor climate control.
Appreciate the Importance of Preventive Maintenance
When you were renting your home, a landlord most likely took care of HVAC maintenance tasks like replacing the air filter. They may or may not have foot the bill for thorough heating and cooling inspections.
Now that you’re responsible for this, you can give preventive maintenance the attention it deserves. First, prioritize these do-it-yourself HVAC maintenance tasks:
- Swap out 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 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 identifying air leaks in the ductwork. Expect the following perks when you call a professional to inspect your system once a year:
- Energy savings
- Fewer breakdowns
- Lower repair bills
- Superior home comfort
- Expanded system life span
- Peace of mind
Look Out for Signs of Trouble
Repairing and replacing the HVAC system is the homeowner’s job. Watch for these clues that it’s time to contact a heating and cooling specialist:
- Loud 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 trouble: Inconsistent temperatures, high or low humidity, stuffy rooms and mold-like smells are routinely tied to faulty HVAC equipment.
- Reduced energy efficiency: Are your bills unexpectedly increasing? This can mean your heating and cooling system isn’t functioning properly.
- Old age: Like all mechanical systems, HVAC systems eventually 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 fixed, you’ll need to replace it with an HVAC contractor’s help. Here’s how it works:
- Describe the problem to the technician and allow them to investigate it more in-depth.
- The professional should identify the problem and suggest the best solutions. A repair might be doable, but based on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement can be more cost-effective.
- You can secure numerous opinions and estimates from available contractors if you so choose.
- When you work with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, a residential sales consultant will determine what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is ideal for you.
- The tech will then provide a written estimate detailing the work required, the equipment they’ll install and the total price. You should also be given information about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
- Schedule the installation after you decide what system you want. Your contractor will handle everything, even hauling away the old equipment for safe disposal.
- The sales consultant can walk through 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
If you have concerns about these HVAC system fundamentals, feel free to call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We prioritize customer education to help you make an educated decision about your home comfort system. Our team is proficient in a wide range of HVAC services, so reach out for everything from furnace maintenance to AC repair to heat pump installation. For more information or to ask for an estimate, please get in touch with your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.