Congratulations on picking out your first home! You are undoubtedly thrilled with your investment, though you may feel overwhelmed by all your new responsibilities. Now that you’re the owner, not the renter, it’s your job to care for all your home’s appliances and systems, like the heating and cooling equipment.
If the only interaction you’ve ever had with a furnace or air conditioner is to change the thermostat, you have a lot 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 a perpetually comfortable climate, your new home likely has this system to keep you warm during the winter and cool throughout the summer. Here are the key 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 possibilities.
- Ductwork attached 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 equipment, including an air filter, whole-house humidifier, whole-house dehumidifier, air purifier or energy-recovery ventilator.
- Thermostat for indoor temperature control.
Recognize the Importance of Preventive Maintenance
When you rented, your landlord probably handled any HVAC maintenance tasks like 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 give preventive maintenance the attention it deserves. First, perform 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 enhance airflow.
- Keep all air registers open to sustain proper system balance.
Then, request yearly maintenance for each HVAC unit. Only a qualified professional can perform 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 hire a professional to inspect your system once a year:
- Energy savings
- Fewer breakdowns
- More affordable 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 squealing, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It could be a cry for help from your furnace or air conditioner.
- Comfort or air quality trouble: Uneven temperatures, high or low humidity, stagnant rooms and musty smells are regularly tied to defective HVAC equipment.
- Poor energy efficiency: Are your bills suddenly on the rise? This could mean your heating and cooling system isn’t working correctly.
- Old age: Like all mechanical equipment, HVAC systems inevitably wear out. The typical life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps run just about a decade.
Learn More About the HVAC Replacement Process
If your damaged furnace or air conditioner can’t be fixed, you’ll need to replace it with an HVAC contractor’s help. Here’s how this works:
- Describe the problem to your technician and allow them to take a closer look at it more in-depth.
- The professional will identify the problem and suggest possible solutions. A repair might be feasible, but depending on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement can be more cost-effective.
- You can acquire various opinions and estimates from available contractors if you prefer.
- When you call Church Services, a residential sales consultant will go over what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is perfect for you.
- The technician should compose a written estimate outlining the work needed, the equipment they’ll install and the final cost. You should also receive info about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
- Schedule the installation once you figure out what system you want. Your contractor will handle everything, even hauling away the old equipment for safe disposal.
- The sales consultant should go over the new system with you, describing how to use it, addressing any questions and offering all the needed documentation.
Call Church Services
If you have questions about these HVAC system basics, don’t hesitate to reach out to Church Services. We prioritize customer education to help you make an educated decision about your HVAC system. Our team is proficient in a full array of HVAC services, so give us a call for everything from furnace maintenance to AC repair to heat pump installation. For more info or to ask about an estimate, please contact your local Church Services office today.