HVAC System Basics for New Homeowners

Congrats on purchasing your first home! You are obviously pleased with your investment, although you may also 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 systems, including the heating and cooling equipment.

If the only interaction you’ve ever experienced with a furnace or air conditioner is to change the thermostat, you have plenty to learn. Try these HVAC system suggestions for first-time 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 most likely has this system to keep you warm during the winter and cool throughout the summer. Here are the basic parts of an HVAC system:

    • Comfort equipment, such as an air conditioner, air-source heat pump, furnace, boiler, geothermal heat pump or ductless mini-split, to name a few choices.
    • Ductwork attached to return and supply registers in the case of air-forced systems including 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 temperature control.

Appreciate the Importance of Preventive Maintenance

When you were a renter, the landlord probably handled any HVAC maintenance tasks like replacing the air filter. They may or may not have paid the bill for comprehensive heating and cooling inspections.

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

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

Then, request annual maintenance for each HVAC unit. Only an experienced professional can perform in-depth tasks like cleaning the furnace burners, recharging the AC refrigerant and identifying air leaks in the ductwork. Expect the following benefits when you hire 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

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 hire a heating and cooling contractor:

    • Excessive noise: Don’t neglect a screeching, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It could be a cry for help from your furnace or air conditioner.
    • Comfort or air quality problems: Inconsistent temperatures, high or low humidity, stagnant rooms and moldy odors are routinely tied to malfunctioning HVAC equipment.
    • Reduced energy efficiency: Are your bills mysteriously increasing? This could mean your heating and cooling system isn’t functioning properly.
    • Old age: Like all mechanical utilities, HVAC systems eventually give out. The typical life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps can live about 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 that works:

    • Explain the problem to the contractor and let them take a closer look at it more in-depth.
    • The tech will next determine the problem and suggest the best solutions. A repair could be doable, but according to the unit’s condition and age, a replacement can be more cost-effective.
    • You can obtain multiple opinions and estimates from different contractors if you want.
    • 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 perfect for you.
    • The tech should supply you with a written estimate outlining the work required, the equipment they’ll install and the total price. You might also get info about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
    • Schedule the installation once you figure out what system you want. The technician will complete everything, even hauling away the old equipment for proper disposal.
    • The sales consultant will walk through the new system with you, explaining how to use it, helping with any questions and providing all the required documentation.

Call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

If you have questions about these HVAC system guidelines, call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We focus on customer education to help you make the best decision about your HVAC system. Our team is experienced in a wide range of HVAC services, so reach out for everything from furnace maintenance to AC repair to heat pump installation. For more info or to ask for an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.

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