HVAC System Basics for New Homeowners

Congratulations on picking out your first home! You are certainly delighted with your investment, though you may feel overloaded by all these 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 utility equipment, including the heating and cooling equipment.

If the only interaction you’ve ever experienced with a furnace or air conditioner is to adjust the thermostat, you have more to learn. Try these HVAC system basics for brand-new homeowners.

Know the Parts of an HVAC System

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Unless you live in an idyllic climate, your new home probably has this system to keep you warm in the winter and cool throughout the summer. Here are the key parts of an HVAC system:

  • Comfort units, such as an air conditioner, air-source heat pump, furnace, boiler, geothermal heat pump or ductless mini-split, to name a few options.
  • 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 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 comfort control.

Understand the Importance of Preventive Maintenance

When you were a renter, the landlord most likely handled any HVAC maintenance tasks such as replacing the air filter. They may or may not have paid the bill for detailed heating and cooling inspections.

Now that you’re taking care of things, 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.
  • Lightly hose down the outdoor unit and trim back vegetation to increase airflow.
  • Keep all air registers open to preserve proper system balance.

Then, schedule yearly 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. Expect the following advantages when you hire a professional to inspect your system annually:

  • Energy savings
  • Fewer breakdowns
  • Lower repair bills
  • Improved home comfort
  • Extended 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 clues that it’s time to hire a heating and cooling contractor:

  • Excess noise: Don’t ignore 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, stale rooms and mold-like odors are regularly tied to defective HVAC equipment.
  • Poor energy efficiency: Are your bills unexpectedly on the rise? This could mean your heating and cooling system isn’t running right.
  • Old age: Like all mechanical utilities, HVAC systems eventually wear out. The average life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps last just 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 professional's help. Here’s how that works:

  • Describe the problem to the contractor and let them investigate it more in-depth.
  • The technician should determine the problem and suggest available solutions. A repair may be feasible, but depending on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement can be more cost-effective.
  • You can acquire multiple opinions and estimates from assorted contractors if you so choose.
  • When you work with A-PLUS Service Experts, a residential sales consultant will go over what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is best for you.
  • The technician will provide a written estimate outlining the work necessary, the equipment they’ll install and the final cost. You may also be given info about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
  • Schedule the installation as soon as you pick what system you want. Your technician will take care of everything, even hauling away the old equipment for safe disposal.
  • The sales consultant will review the new system with you, describing how to use it, answering any questions and offering all the needed documentation.

Call A-PLUS Service Experts

If you have questions about these HVAC system guidelines, don’t hesitate to reach out to A-PLUS Service Experts. We emphasize customer education to help you make an informed decision about your home comfort system. Our team is proficient in a full array of HVAC services, so reach out for everything from furnace maintenance to AC repair to heat pump installation. For more information or to ask for an estimate, please contact your local A-PLUS Service Experts office today.

 

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