HVAC System Basics for New Homeowners

Congratulations on picking out your first home! You are obviously thrilled with your investment, though you may also feel overloaded by all these new responsibilities. Now that you’re the owner, not the renter, it’s your job to care for all your home’s appliances and utility equipment, like the heating and cooling equipment.

If the only interaction you’ve ever had with a furnace or air conditioner is to change the thermostat, you have a lot to learn. Try these HVAC system suggestions for new 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 probably 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 units, like an air conditioner, air-source heat pump, furnace, boiler, geothermal heat pump or ductless mini-split, to name a few choices.
  • Ductwork fixed to return and supply registers with regards to 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 climate control.

Understand the Importance of Preventive Maintenance

When you were a renter, a landlord probably took care of HVAC maintenance tasks such as replacing the air filter. They may or may not have paid the bill for comprehensive heating and cooling inspections.

Now that you’re in charge, you can give 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 cut back vegetation to improve airflow.
  • Keep all air registers open to maintain proper system balance.

Then, schedule annual maintenance for each HVAC unit. Only a trained professional can perform in-depth tasks like cleaning the furnace burners, recharging the AC refrigerant and measuring 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
  • Smaller repair bills
  • Superior home comfort
  • Expanded 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 clues that it’s time to hire a heating and cooling professional:

  • Excess noise: Don’t ignore a screeching, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It can be a cry for help from your furnace or air conditioner.
  • Comfort or air quality problems: Inconsistent temperatures, high or low humidity, stale rooms and mold-like odors are often tied to defective HVAC equipment.
  • Low energy efficiency: Are your bills suddenly going up? This could mean your heating and cooling system isn’t running properly.
  • Old age: Like all mechanical systems, HVAC systems eventually give out. The typical life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps last around a decade.

Learn More About the HVAC Replacement Process

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

  • Describe the problem to the contractor and allow them to explore it more in-depth.
  • The technician should determine the problem and suggest possible solutions. A repair might be viable, 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 so choose.
  • When you call Stevenson Service Experts, a residential sales consultant will review what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is best for you.
  • The tech will then supply you with a written estimate describing the work needed, the equipment they’ll install and the overall cost. You should also get information about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
  • Schedule the installation as soon as you decide what system you want. Your technician will handle everything, including hauling away the old equipment for appropriate disposal.
  • The sales consultant should review the new system with you, describing how to use it, helping with any questions and giving you all the needed documentation.

Call Stevenson Service Experts

If you have questions about these HVAC system guidelines, don’t hesitate to call Stevenson Service Experts. 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 turn to us for everything from furnace maintenance to AC repair to heat pump installation. For more details or to request an estimate, please get in touch with your local Stevenson Service Experts office today.

 

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