HVAC System Basics for New Homeowners

Congrats on picking out your first home! You are undoubtedly thrilled with your investment, even though you might feel weighed down by all your new responsibilities. Now that you’re the owner, not the renter, it’s your job to take care of all your home’s appliances and utilities, such as 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 a lot to learn. Try these HVAC system tips for new homeowners.

Know the Different Elements of an HVAC System

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

  • Comfort systems, such as an air conditioner, air-source heat pump, furnace, boiler, geothermal heat pump or ductless mini-split, to name a few choices.
  • Ductwork connected to return and supply registers with regards to air-forced systems such as ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
  • Radiators or hot water distribution systems in the case of boilers.
  • Indoor air quality products, 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, your landlord probably handled any HVAC maintenance tasks such as replacing the air filter. They may or may not have also handled the bill for thorough heating and cooling inspections.

Now that you’re in charge, you can provide preventive maintenance the attention it deserves. First, complete these do-it-yourself HVAC maintenance tasks:

  • Change 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 sustain proper system balance.

Then, request 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 gauging air leaks in the ductwork. Count on the following perks when you call a professional to inspect your system annually:

  • Energy savings
  • Fewer breakdowns
  • Lower repair bills
  • Enhanced home comfort
  • Expanded system life span
  • Peace of mind

Look 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 contact a heating and cooling specialist:

  • Loud noise: Don’t ignore a squealing, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It can be a cry for help from the furnace or air conditioner.
  • Comfort or air quality problems: Uneven temperatures, high or low humidity, stuffy rooms and musty odors are routinely tied to defective HVAC equipment.
  • Poor energy efficiency: Are your bills suddenly increasing? This might mean your heating and cooling system isn’t functioning properly.
  • Old age: Like all mechanical utilities, HVAC systems eventually give out. The typical life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps can live around a decade.

Understand the HVAC Replacement Process

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

  • Describe the problem to your technician and allow them to explore it more in-depth.
  • The technician will identify the problem and recommend available solutions. A repair could be doable, but based on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement might be more cost-effective.
  • You can secure various opinions and estimates from assorted contractors if you prefer.
  • When you work with Strogen's Service Experts, a residential sales consultant will go over what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is ideal for you.
  • The tech will then provide a written estimate detailing the work required, the equipment they’ll install and the overall cost. You should also receive information about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
  • Schedule the installation after you decide what system you want. Your technician will handle everything, including hauling away the old equipment for proper disposal.
  • The sales consultant should go over the new system with you, describing how to use it, addressing any questions and providing all the needed documentation.

Call Strogen's Service Experts

If you have concerns about these HVAC system fundamentals, feel free to get in touch with Strogen's Service Experts. We focus on customer education to help you make an educated decision about your home comfort system. Our team is experienced 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 call your local Strogen's Service Experts office today.

 

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