HVAC System Basics for New Homeowners

Congrats on picking out your first home! You are obviously delighted with your investment, although you may feel weighed down by all these new responsibilities. Now that you’re the owner, not the renter, it’s your job to maintain all your home’s appliances and utility equipment, like the heating and cooling equipment.

If the only interaction you’ve ever had with a furnace or air conditioner is to adjust the thermostat, you have a lot 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 the perfect climate, your new home likely has this system to keep you warm during the winter and cool for the summer. Here are the important 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 possibilities.
  • Ductwork connected to return and supply registers in the case of air-forced systems like ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
  • Radiators or hot water distribution systems like boilers.
  • Indoor air quality equipment, including an air filter, whole-house humidifier, whole-house dehumidifier, air purifier or energy-recovery ventilator.
  • Thermostat for indoor temperature control.

Appreciate the Importance of Preventive Maintenance

When you were renting your home, your landlord likely managed any HVAC maintenance tasks like replacing the air filter. They may or may not have also handled the bill for comprehensive heating and cooling inspections.

Now that you’re in charge, you can provide preventive maintenance the attention it deserves. First, prioritize these do-it-yourself HVAC maintenance tasks:

  • Replace the air filter every 30 to 90 days.
  • Carefully hose down the outdoor unit and trim back vegetation to enhance airflow.
  • Keep all air registers open to maintain proper system balance.

Then, arrange yearly maintenance for each HVAC unit. Only a trained professional can perform in-depth tasks like cleaning the furnace burners, recharging the AC refrigerant and gauging air leaks in the ductwork. Expect the following perks when you get a professional to inspect your system once a year:

  • Energy savings
  • Fewer breakdowns
  • Lower repair bills
  • Improved home comfort
  • Longer 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 signals that it’s time to hire a heating and cooling professional:

  • Excessive noise: Don’t ignore a screeching, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It can be a cry for help from your home’s furnace or air conditioner.
  • Comfort or air quality issues: Erratic temperatures, high or low humidity, stagnant rooms and mold-like odors are routinely associated with malfunctioning HVAC equipment.
  • Reduced energy efficiency: Are your bills suddenly going up? This could mean your heating and cooling system isn’t running right.
  • Old age: Like all mechanical utilities, HVAC systems ultimately give out. The typical life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps run about a decade.

Learn More About the HVAC Replacement Process

If the finicky furnace or air conditioner can’t be repaired, you’ll need to replace it with an HVAC professional’s help. Here’s how this works:

  • Describe the problem to the contractor and allow them to explore it more in-depth.
  • The tech will diagnose the problem and recommend available solutions. A repair might be doable, but according to the unit’s condition and age, a replacement might be more cost-effective.
  • You can secure numerous opinions and estimates from available contractors if you so choose.
  • When you call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, a residential sales consultant will go over what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is best for you.
  • The tech will supply you with a written estimate detailing the work required, the equipment they’ll install and the overall cost. You might also get details about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
  • Schedule the installation after you pick what system you want. The technician will take care of everything, even hauling away the old equipment for proper disposal.
  • The sales consultant can walk through the new system with you, describing how to use it, addressing any questions and giving you all the needed documentation.

Call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

If you have questions about these HVAC system basics, feel free]] to {reach out to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We emphasize customer education to help you make an informed decision about your heating and cooling system. Our team is experienced 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 get in touch with your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.

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