HVAC System Basics for New Homeowners

Congrats on picking out your first home! You are certainly delighted with your investment, though you may feel overloaded by all your new responsibilities. Now that you’re a homeowner, not the renter, it’s your job to take care of all your home’s appliances and utility equipment, including the heating and cooling equipment.

If the only interaction you’ve ever come across with a furnace or air conditioner is to adjust the thermostat, you have more to learn. Get a head start 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 the perfect climate, your new home likely has this system to keep you warm during the winter and cool in the summer. Here are the basic 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 fixed 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 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 were a renter, your landlord most 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, complete these do-it-yourself HVAC maintenance tasks:

    • Change 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 sustain proper system balance.

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

    • Energy savings
    • Fewer breakdowns
    • Smaller repair bills
    • Superior home comfort
    • Extended 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 signs that it’s time to call a heating and cooling specialist:

    • Excessive noise: Don’t ignore a squealing, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It could be a cry for help from your furnace or air conditioner.
    • Comfort or air quality issues: Erratic temperatures, high or low humidity, stagnant rooms and mold-like smells are regularly associated with faulty HVAC equipment.
    • Reduced energy efficiency: Are your bills unexpectedly going up? This might mean your heating and cooling system isn’t running right.
    • Old age: Like all mechanical equipment, HVAC systems eventually wear out. The standard life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps last around a decade.

Understand the HVAC Replacement Process

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

    • Describe the problem to your technician and let them explore it more in-depth.
    • The professional will next identify the problem and suggest available solutions. A repair may be feasible, but based on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement may be more cost-effective.
    • You can acquire numerous opinions and estimates from different 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 ideal for you.
    • The tech will then compose a written estimate detailing the work required, the equipment they’ll install and the overall cost. You may also get info about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
    • Schedule the installation as soon as you pick what system you want. Your contractor will complete everything, even hauling away the old equipment for appropriate disposal.
    • The sales consultant will walk through the new system with you, explaining how to use it, helping with any questions and giving you all the necessary 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 focus on customer education to help you make an informed decision about your HVAC system. Our team is experienced in a full array of HVAC services, so give us a call for everything from furnace maintenance to AC repair to heat pump installation. For more information or to ask about an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.

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