HVAC System Basics for New Homeowners

Well done on picking out your first home! You are no doubt thrilled with your investment, even though you may also feel overwhelmed by all your 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, 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 a lot to learn. Get a head start with these HVAC system tips for first-time homeowners.

Know the Different Elements of an HVAC System

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Unless you live in a perpetually comfortable climate, your new home probably has this system to keep you warm through the winter and cool throughout the summer. Here are the key 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 options.
  • Ductwork fixed to return and supply registers with regards to air-forced systems including ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
  • Radiators or hot water distribution systems in the case of boilers.
  • Indoor air quality equipment, including an air filter, whole-house humidifier, whole-house dehumidifier, air purifier or energy-recovery ventilator.
  • Thermostat for indoor comfort control.

Appreciate the Importance of Preventive Maintenance

When you were renting your home, the landlord probably took care of HVAC maintenance tasks like replacing the air filter. They may or may not have foot the bill for detailed heating and cooling inspections.

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

  • Swap out the air filter every 30 to 90 days.
  • Gently hose down the outdoor unit and cut back vegetation to enhance airflow.
  • Keep all air registers open to preserve proper system balance.

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

  • Energy savings
  • Fewer breakdowns
  • More affordable repair bills
  • Improved home comfort
  • Longer system life span
  • Peace of mind

Keep an Eye Out for Signs of Trouble

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

  • Excessive noise: Don’t neglect a squealing, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It can be a cry for help from your furnace or air conditioner.
  • Comfort or air quality issues: Uneven temperatures, high or low humidity, stagnant rooms and moldy smells are routinely tied to malfunctioning HVAC equipment.
  • Reduced energy efficiency: Are your bills suddenly increasing? This can mean your heating and cooling system isn’t working correctly.
  • Old age: Like all mechanical equipment, HVAC systems ultimately give out. The typical life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps last about a decade.

Learn More About the HVAC Replacement Process

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

  • Illustrate the problem to the contractor and allow them to take a closer look at it more in-depth.
  • The technician will identify the problem and suggest available solutions. A repair may be doable, but depending on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement may be more cost-effective.
  • You can acquire various opinions and estimates from available contractors if you want.
  • When you work with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, a residential sales consultant will review what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is perfect for you.
  • The technician should compose a written estimate describing the work needed, the equipment they’ll install and the overall cost. You might also receive information about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
  • Schedule the installation once you decide what system you want. Your technician will take care of everything, including hauling away the old equipment for proper disposal.
  • The sales consultant should go over the new system with you, explaining how to use it, helping with any questions and providing all the needed documentation.

Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

If you have concerns about these HVAC system fundamentals, don't wait to reach out to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We prioritize customer education to help you make an educated decision about your heating and cooling system. Our team is proficient 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 about an estimate, please get in touch with your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.