Congrats on purchasing your first home! You are undoubtedly thrilled with your investment, even though you might feel overloaded by all your new responsibilities. Now that you’re the 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 had with a furnace or air conditioner is to adjust the thermostat, you have a lot to learn. Get started with these HVAC system tips for first-time 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 during the winter and cool for the summer. Here are the basic 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 possibilities.
- 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 in the case of boilers.
- Indoor air quality equipment, 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 were a renter, the landlord probably handled 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 taking care of things, you can provide preventive maintenance the attention it deserves. First, perform these do-it-yourself HVAC maintenance tasks:
- Replace the air filter every 30 to 90 days.
- Lightly hose down the outdoor unit and trim back vegetation to enhance airflow.
- Keep all air registers open to maintain proper system balance.
Then, arrange annual maintenance for each HVAC unit. Only a trained professional can execute 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 annually:
- Energy savings
- Fewer breakdowns
- Lower repair bills
- Improved home comfort
- Longer 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:
- Loud noise: Don’t dismiss a whining, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It could be a cry for help from the furnace or air conditioner.
- Comfort or air quality problems: Erratic temperatures, high or low humidity, stagnant rooms and mold-like smells are routinely associated with malfunctioning HVAC equipment.
- Poor energy efficiency: Are your bills suddenly going up? This could mean your heating and cooling system isn’t working properly.
- Old age: Like all mechanical systems, HVAC systems eventually fail. The standard life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps run around a decade.
Understand the HVAC Replacement Process
If the defective 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 take a closer look at it more in-depth.
- The professional will diagnose 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 various opinions and estimates from available contractors if you so choose.
- When you work with Pardee Service Experts, a residential sales consultant will review what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is perfect for you.
- The technician will provide a written estimate describing the work required, the equipment they’ll install and the total price. You may also be given information about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
- Schedule the installation as soon as you figure out what system you want. The technician will complete everything, even hauling away the old equipment for proper disposal.
- The sales consultant should go over the new system with you, describing how to use it, helping with any questions and giving you all the required documentation.
Call Pardee Service Experts
If you have questions about these HVAC system basics, feel free to get in touch with Pardee Service Experts. We emphasize customer education to help you make an informed decision about your heating and cooling system. Our team is well-versed in a full array of HVAC services, so give us a call for anything from furnace maintenance to AC repair to heat pump installation. For more details or to ask about an estimate, please call your local Pardee Service Experts office today.