Well done on picking out your first home! You are no doubt pleased with your investment, although you may also feel overloaded by all these new responsibilities. Now that you’re the homeowner, not the renter, it’s your job to maintain 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 more to learn. Get a head start with these HVAC system suggestions for first-time 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 probably has this system to keep you warm through the winter and cool throughout the summer. Here are the basic parts of an HVAC system:
- Comfort equipment, like an air conditioner, air-source heat pump, furnace, boiler, geothermal heat pump or ductless mini-split, to name a few options.
- Ductwork attached to return and supply registers when it comes to air-forced systems including ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
- Radiators or hot water distribution systems like boilers.
- Indoor air quality equipment, like an air filter, whole-house humidifier, whole-house dehumidifier, air purifier or energy-recovery ventilator.
- Thermostat for indoor comfort control.
Understand the Importance of Preventive Maintenance
When you were a renter, the landlord likely managed any HVAC maintenance tasks like replacing the air filter. They may or may not have paid the bill for thorough heating and cooling inspections.
Now that you’re in charge, you can give preventive maintenance the attention it deserves. First, prioritize these do-it-yourself HVAC maintenance tasks:
- Change 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 maintain proper system balance.
Then, schedule 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 measuring air leaks in the ductwork. Count on 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
- 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 responsibility. Watch for these signs that it’s time to contact a heating and cooling contractor:
- Excessive noise: Don’t neglect a screeching, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It can be a cry for help from the furnace or air conditioner.
- Comfort or air quality trouble: Uneven temperatures, high or low humidity, stale rooms and musty odors are routinely tied to malfunctioning HVAC equipment.
- Low energy efficiency: Are your bills suddenly on the rise? This can mean your heating and cooling system isn’t functioning correctly.
- Old age: Like all mechanical utilities, HVAC systems eventually fail. 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 restored, you’ll need to replace it with an HVAC specialist's help. Here’s how it works:
- Describe the problem to the technician and allow them to explore it more in-depth.
- The technician should identify the problem and offer possible solutions. A repair might be viable, but based on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement can be more cost-effective.
- You can obtain multiple opinions and estimates from available contractors if you prefer.
- When you contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, a residential sales consultant will determine what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is perfect for you.
- The technician should compose a written estimate detailing the work needed, the equipment they’ll install and the total price. You may also be given info about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
- Schedule the installation after you decide what system you want. The technician will complete everything, including hauling away the old equipment for appropriate disposal.
- The sales consultant should go over the new system with you, describing how to use it, addressing any questions and offering all the required documentation.
Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
If you have concerns about these HVAC system basics, don't wait to get in touch with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We emphasize customer education to help you make the best decision about your HVAC system. Our team is experienced 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 contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.