Well done on purchasing your first home! You are no doubt pleased with your investment, though you might feel overloaded 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 utility equipment, including the heating and cooling equipment.
If the only interaction you’ve ever had with a furnace or air conditioner is to use the thermostat, you have more to learn. Get started with these HVAC system tips for first-time homeowners.
Know the Different Components of an HVAC System
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Unless you live in a perpetually comfortable climate, your new home probably has this system to keep you warm through the winter and cool in the summer. Here are the basic 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 options.
- Ductwork attached to return and supply registers in the case of air-forced systems including ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
- Radiators or hot water distribution systems such as boilers.
- Indoor air quality products, 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 rented, a landlord most likely took care of HVAC maintenance tasks like 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 give preventive maintenance the attention it deserves. First, prioritize these do-it-yourself HVAC maintenance tasks:
- Replace the air filter every 30 to 90 days.
- Lightly hose down the outdoor unit and pare back vegetation to increase airflow.
- Keep all air registers open to preserve proper system balance.
Then, schedule yearly maintenance for each HVAC unit. Only a trained professional can execute in-depth tasks like cleaning the furnace burners, recharging the AC refrigerant and gauging air leaks in the ductwork. Expect the following advantages when you get a professional to inspect your system every year:
- Energy savings
- Fewer breakdowns
- More affordable repair bills
- Enhanced home comfort
- Longer system life span
- Peace of mind
Keep an Eye Out for Signs of Trouble
Repairing and replacing the HVAC system is the homeowner’s responsibility. Watch for these signals that it’s time to call a heating and cooling contractor:
- Excessive noise: Don’t dismiss a whining, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It can be a cry for help from your furnace or air conditioner.
- Comfort or air quality problems: Inconsistent temperatures, high or low humidity, stagnant rooms and musty odors are routinely associated with faulty HVAC equipment.
- Poor energy efficiency: Are your bills unexpectedly going up? This might mean your heating and cooling system isn’t running properly.
- Old age: Like all mechanical utilities, HVAC systems eventually fail. The average 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 finicky furnace or air conditioner can’t be fixed, you’ll need to replace it with an HVAC contractor’s help. Here’s how it works:
- Explain the problem to the technician and allow them to explore it more in-depth.
- The technician should determine the problem and suggest available solutions. A repair could be viable, but according to the unit’s condition and age, a replacement may be more cost-effective.
- You can acquire various opinions and estimates from assorted contractors if you prefer.
- When you contact Coastal Service Experts, a residential sales consultant will review what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is perfect for you.
- The technician should provide a written estimate detailing the work necessary, the equipment they’ll install and the total price. You may also receive information about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
- Schedule the installation as soon as you pick what system you want. Your technician will take care of everything, like hauling away the old equipment for safe disposal.
- The sales consultant can walk through the new system with you, explaining how to use it, addressing any questions and offering all the required documentation.
Call Coastal Service Experts
If you have concerns about these HVAC system fundamentals, don't wait to call Coastal Service Experts. We focus on customer education to help you make the best decision about your HVAC system. Our team is proficient in a full range of HVAC services, so turn to us for everything from furnace maintenance to AC repair to heat pump installation. For more information or to request an estimate, please call your local Coastal Service Experts office today.