HVAC System Basics for New Homeowners

Congratulations on purchasing your first home! You are obviously thrilled with your investment, even though you might feel weighed down by all these new responsibilities. Now that you’re the homeowner, not the renter, it’s your job to maintain 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 use the thermostat, you have more to learn. Get started with these HVAC system basics for first-time homeowners.

Know the Parts of an HVAC System

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Unless you live in the perfect climate, your new home likely has this system to keep you warm during the winter and cool for the summer. Here are the basic 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 possibilities.
  • Ductwork fixed to return and supply registers with regards to air-forced systems including ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
  • Radiators or hot water distribution systems like boilers.
  • Indoor air quality equipment, including 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 renting your home, the landlord likely managed any 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 in charge, you can provide preventive maintenance the attention it deserves. First, prioritize 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 enhance airflow.
  • Keep all air registers open to preserve proper system balance.

Then, schedule annual maintenance for each HVAC unit. Only an experienced professional can complete in-depth tasks like cleaning the furnace burners, recharging the AC refrigerant and gauging air leaks in the ductwork. Anticipate the following perks when you get a professional to inspect your system once a year:

  • Energy savings
  • Fewer breakdowns
  • Smaller repair bills
  • Superior 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 signals that it’s time to call a heating and cooling contractor:

  • Excessive noise: Don’t ignore a squealing, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It could be a cry for help from your home's furnace or air conditioner.
  • Comfort or air quality problems: Erratic temperatures, high or low humidity, stagnant rooms and moldy smells are often associated with malfunctioning HVAC equipment.
  • Reduced energy efficiency: Are your bills unexpectedly increasing? This might mean your heating and cooling system isn’t working right.
  • Old age: Like all mechanical utilities, HVAC systems inevitably wear out. The typical life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps can live about 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 contractor’s help. Here’s how this works:

  • Describe the problem to the contractor and let them investigate it more in-depth.
  • The tech will next identify the problem and suggest possible solutions. A repair might be feasible, but depending on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement may be more cost-effective.
  • You can obtain numerous opinions and estimates from available contractors if you so choose.
  • When you contact Neal Harris Service Experts, a residential sales consultant will determine what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is best for you.
  • The technician will then compose a written estimate outlining the work needed, the equipment they’ll install and the total price. You might also receive details about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
  • Schedule the installation after you decide what system you want. Your technician will complete everything, even hauling away the old equipment for appropriate disposal.
  • The sales consultant can review the new system with you, explaining how to use it, addressing any questions and offering all the needed documentation.

Call Neal Harris Service Experts

If you have concerns about these HVAC system fundamentals, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Neal Harris Service Experts. We prioritize customer education to help you make the best decision about your home comfort system. Our team is experienced in a wide range of HVAC services, so reach out for anything from furnace maintenance to AC repair to heat pump installation. For more information or to request an estimate, please get in touch with your local Neal Harris Service Experts office today.

 

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