HVAC System Basics for New Homeowners

Congratulations on purchasing your first home! You are no doubt thrilled with your investment, even though you might feel overloaded by all your new responsibilities. Now that you’re the 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 come across with a furnace or air conditioner is to use the thermostat, you have plenty to learn. Get a head start with these HVAC system tips for brand-new 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 most likely has this system to keep you warm in the winter and cool for the summer. Here are the key parts of an HVAC system:

  • Comfort systems, such as an air conditioner, air-source heat pump, furnace, boiler, geothermal heat pump or ductless mini-split, to name a few choices.
  • Ductwork connected to return and supply registers when it comes to air-forced systems such as ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
  • Radiators or hot water distribution systems in the case of boilers.
  • Indoor air quality solutions, including 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 renting your home, the landlord likely managed any HVAC maintenance tasks such as replacing the air filter. They may or may not have also handled the bill for detailed 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 trim back vegetation to enhance airflow.
  • Keep all air registers open to preserve proper system balance.

Then, arrange 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 measuring air leaks in the ductwork. Anticipate the following benefits when you get a professional to inspect your system annually:

  • Energy savings
  • Fewer breakdowns
  • Lower repair bills
  • Improved home comfort
  • Longer 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 signals that it’s time to contact 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 the furnace or air conditioner.
  • Comfort or air quality trouble: Erratic temperatures, high or low humidity, stale rooms and musty smells are often linked to faulty HVAC equipment.
  • Poor energy efficiency: Are your bills mysteriously on the rise? This could mean your heating and cooling system isn’t working properly.
  • Old age: Like all mechanical systems, HVAC systems inevitably wear out. The average life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps run around a decade.

Understand the HVAC Replacement Process

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

  • Describe the problem to your technician and allow them to explore it more in-depth.
  • The tech will determine the problem and suggest available solutions. A repair might be doable, but depending on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement can be more cost-effective.
  • You can obtain numerous opinions and estimates from assorted contractors if you so choose.
  • When you contact 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 detailing the work required, the equipment they’ll install and the final cost. You might also get info about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
  • Schedule the installation after you figure out what system you want. Your contractor will take care of everything, like hauling away the old equipment for safe disposal.
  • The sales consultant can go over the new system with you, detailing how to use it, answering any questions and offering all the required documentation.

Call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

If you have questions about these HVAC system basics, call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We emphasize customer education to help you make an educated decision about your home comfort system. Our team is proficient in a full array of HVAC services, so reach out for anything from furnace maintenance to AC repair to heat pump installation. For more information or to request an estimate, please get in touch with your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.

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