HVAC System Basics for New Homeowners

Congratulations on buying your first home! You are no doubt delighted with your investment, although you may also feel overwhelmed by all these 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, such as the heating and cooling equipment.

If the only interaction you’ve ever come across with a furnace or air conditioner is to use the thermostat, you have more to learn. Get a head start with these HVAC system basics for 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 through the winter and cool in the summer. Here are the key 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, like an air filter, whole-house humidifier, whole-house dehumidifier, air purifier or energy-recovery ventilator.
  • Thermostat for indoor temperature control.

Understand the Importance of Preventive Maintenance

When you rented, your landlord most likely took care of HVAC maintenance tasks such as replacing the air filter. They may or may not have paid the bill for thorough 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:

  • Swap out the air filter every 30 to 90 days.
  • Carefully hose down the outdoor unit and trim back vegetation to increase airflow.
  • Keep all air registers open to maintain proper system balance.

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

  • Energy savings
  • Fewer breakdowns
  • Smaller repair bills
  • Improved home comfort
  • Extended system life span
  • Peace of mind

Watch 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 professional:

  • Excessive noise: Don’t dismiss a whining, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It could be a cry for help from your furnace or air conditioner.
  • Comfort or air quality problems: Uneven temperatures, high or low humidity, stagnant rooms and musty smells are often associated with faulty HVAC equipment.
  • Poor energy efficiency: Are your bills unexpectedly going up? This might mean your heating and cooling system isn’t running properly.
  • Old age: Like all mechanical utilities, HVAC systems eventually wear out. The typical life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps can live around a decade.

Learn More About the HVAC Replacement Process

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

  • Describe the problem to the contractor and let them 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 want.
  • When you work with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, a residential sales consultant will go over what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is ideal for you.
  • The tech should provide a written estimate outlining the work required, the equipment they’ll install and the final cost. You might also get information about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
  • Schedule the installation after you decide what system you want. Your contractor will take care of everything, including hauling away the old equipment for safe disposal.
  • The sales consultant should walk through the new system with you, explaining how to use it, answering any questions and giving you all the necessary documentation.

Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

If you have questions about these HVAC system basics, don’t hesitate 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 everything from furnace maintenance to AC repair to heat pump installation. For more info or to request an estimate, please get in touch with your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.