HVAC System Basics for New Homeowners

Well done on picking out your first home! You are certainly pleased with your investment, although you may feel overwhelmed 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 systems, including 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 plenty to learn. Get started 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 the perfect climate, your new home most likely has this system to keep you warm in 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 choices.
  • Ductwork connected to return and supply registers when it comes to air-forced systems like ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
  • Radiators or hot water distribution systems such as boilers.
  • Indoor air quality solutions, like 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 were a renter, the landlord likely handled any HVAC maintenance tasks like replacing the air filter. They may or may not have foot the bill for thorough heating and cooling inspections.

Now that you’re responsible for this, you can offer preventive maintenance the attention it deserves. First, complete these do-it-yourself HVAC maintenance tasks:

  • Swap out the air filter every 30 to 90 days.
  • Gently 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 perform in-depth tasks like cleaning the furnace burners, recharging the AC refrigerant and gauging air leaks in the ductwork. Count on the following benefits when you get a professional to inspect your system annually:

  • 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 signals that it’s time to call a heating and cooling professional:

  • Excess noise: Don’t ignore a squealing, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It can be a cry for help from your furnace or air conditioner.
  • Comfort or air quality problems: Erratic temperatures, high or low humidity, stale rooms and musty odors are regularly tied to malfunctioning HVAC equipment.
  • Poor energy efficiency: Are your bills unexpectedly on the rise? This could mean your heating and cooling system isn’t functioning correctly.
  • Old age: Like all mechanical equipment, HVAC systems inevitably fail. The typical life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps can live about a decade.

Understand the HVAC Replacement Process

If the damaged furnace or air conditioner can’t be repaired, you’ll need to replace it with an HVAC specialist's help. Here’s how this works:

  • Illustrate the problem to the contractor and permit them to take a closer look at it more in-depth.
  • The tech should identify the problem and recommend available solutions. A repair may be feasible, but based on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement can be more cost-effective.
  • You can secure multiple opinions and estimates from different contractors if you prefer.
  • When you work with McKinley Heating Service Experts, a residential sales consultant will determine 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 should also receive info about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
  • Schedule the installation as soon as you decide what system you want. The technician will handle everything, even hauling away the old equipment for appropriate disposal.
  • The sales consultant will review the new system with you, describing how to use it, helping with any questions and offering all the needed documentation.

Call McKinley Heating Service Experts

If you have concerns about these HVAC system basics, don't wait to reach out to McKinley Heating Service Experts. We prioritize customer education to help you make an educated decision about your home comfort system. Our team is proficient in a wide range 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 request an estimate, please get in touch with your local McKinley Heating Service Experts office today.

 

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