HVAC System Basics for New Homeowners

Well done on purchasing your first home! You are undoubtedly pleased with your investment, even though you may feel overwhelmed 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 utilities, including 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. Get a head start with these HVAC system tips for brand-new homeowners.

Know the Parts of an HVAC System

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Unless you live in a perpetually comfortable 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 systems, 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 with regards to air-forced systems like 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 climate control.

Appreciate the Importance of Preventive Maintenance

When you were a renter, your landlord likely handled any HVAC maintenance tasks such as replacing the air filter. They may or may not have foot the bill for comprehensive heating and cooling inspections.

Now that you’re responsible for this, you can offer 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 cut back vegetation to improve airflow.
  • Keep all air registers open to maintain proper system balance.

Then, request yearly maintenance for each HVAC unit. Only a qualified professional can perform in-depth tasks like cleaning the furnace burners, recharging the AC refrigerant and gauging 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
  • Improved home comfort
  • Expanded system life span
  • Peace of mind

Watch for Signs of Trouble

Repairing and replacing the HVAC system is the homeowner’s job. Watch for these clues that it’s time to hire a heating and cooling contractor:

  • Loud noise: Don’t dismiss a whining, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It can be a cry for help from the furnace or air conditioner.
  • Comfort or air quality trouble: Inconsistent temperatures, high or low humidity, stagnant rooms and musty smells are routinely associated with faulty HVAC equipment.
  • Reduced energy efficiency: Are your bills suddenly increasing? This might mean your heating and cooling system isn’t working properly.
  • Old age: Like all mechanical systems, HVAC systems ultimately give 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 the 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:

  • Describe the problem to your technician and permit them to explore it more in-depth.
  • The professional will next diagnose the problem and recommend possible solutions. A repair may be feasible, but according to the unit’s condition and age, a replacement might be more cost-effective.
  • You can obtain multiple opinions and estimates from available 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 will then provide a written estimate outlining the work needed, the equipment they’ll install and the total price. You might also be given information about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
  • Schedule the installation after you figure out what system you want. Your technician will handle everything, including hauling away the old equipment for appropriate disposal.
  • The sales consultant will review the new system with you, detailing how to use it, answering any questions and providing all the needed documentation.

Call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

If you have concerns about these HVAC system fundamentals, get in touch with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We emphasize customer education to help you make the best decision about your HVAC system. Our team is experienced in a full array 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 about an estimate, please call your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.

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