Congratulations on picking out your first home! You are no doubt thrilled with your investment, though you may also feel overwhelmed by all your 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 come across with a furnace or air conditioner is to adjust the thermostat, you have more to learn. Get a head start with these HVAC system basics for first-time homeowners.
Know the Different Components 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 important parts of an HVAC system:
- Comfort equipment, such as an air conditioner, air-source heat pump, furnace, boiler, geothermal heat pump or ductless mini-split, to name a few possibilities.
- Ductwork attached 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 in the case of boilers.
- Indoor air quality solutions, like 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 most likely handled any 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 provide preventive maintenance the attention it deserves. First, perform 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 improve airflow.
- Keep all air registers open to preserve proper system balance.
Then, arrange yearly 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 call a professional to inspect your system once a year:
- Energy savings
- Fewer breakdowns
- Lower repair bills
- Enhanced home comfort
- Extended 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 call a heating and cooling specialist:
- Excessive noise: Don’t dismiss a screeching, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It might be a cry for help from your furnace or air conditioner.
- Comfort or air quality problems: Uneven temperatures, high or low humidity, stuffy rooms and moldy smells are often associated with malfunctioning HVAC equipment.
- Reduced energy efficiency: Are your bills unexpectedly going up? This can mean your heating and cooling system isn’t working correctly.
- Old age: Like all mechanical systems, HVAC systems eventually wear out. The standard life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps run around a decade.
Learn More About the HVAC Replacement Process
If your defective furnace or air conditioner can’t be repaired, you’ll need to replace it with an HVAC professional's help. Here’s how it works:
- Describe the problem to your technician and allow them to investigate it more in-depth.
- The technician should identify the problem and suggest available solutions. A repair might be doable, but depending on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement may be more cost-effective.
- You can obtain multiple opinions and estimates from available contractors if you so choose.
- When you contact Strand Brothers Service Experts, a residential sales consultant will go over what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is ideal for you.
- The technician will compose a written estimate describing the work required, the equipment they’ll install and the overall cost. You may also be given information about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
- Schedule the installation once you pick what system you want. Your contractor will complete everything, including hauling away the old equipment for appropriate disposal.
- The sales consultant can review the new system with you, detailing how to use it, addressing any questions and giving you all the necessary documentation.
Call Strand Brothers Service Experts
If you have concerns about these HVAC system basics, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Strand Brothers Service Experts. We emphasize customer education to help you make the best decision about your home comfort system. Our team is proficient in a full array of HVAC services, so turn to us for anything from furnace maintenance to AC repair to heat pump installation. For more info or to ask about an estimate, please call your local Strand Brothers Service Experts office today.