Congrats on buying your first home! You are no doubt thrilled with your investment, although you may also feel weighed down by all these new responsibilities. Now that you’re the homeowner, not the renter, it’s your job to care for all your home’s appliances and utilities, like 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 a lot to learn. Try 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 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 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 when it comes to air-forced systems such as ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
- Radiators or hot water distribution systems like boilers.
- Indoor air quality products, 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 most likely handled any HVAC maintenance tasks such as replacing the air filter. They may or may not have foot the bill for comprehensive 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:
- Swap out the air filter every 30 to 90 days.
- Gently hose down the outdoor unit and pare back vegetation to enhance airflow.
- Keep all air registers open to preserve proper system balance.
Then, schedule annual 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. Expect the following benefits when you hire a professional to inspect your system once a year:
- Energy savings
- Fewer breakdowns
- More affordable repair bills
- Improved home comfort
- Longer system life span
- Peace of mind
Look Out for Signs of Trouble
Repairing and replacing the HVAC system is the homeowner’s responsibility. Watch for these clues that it’s time to contact a heating and cooling contractor:
- Excess noise: Don’t ignore a whining, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It could be a cry for help from your home's furnace or air conditioner.
- Comfort or air quality issues: Uneven temperatures, high or low humidity, stuffy rooms and moldy smells are routinely associated with faulty HVAC equipment.
- Reduced energy efficiency: Are your bills unexpectedly increasing? This can mean your heating and cooling system isn’t running correctly.
- Old age: Like all mechanical systems, HVAC systems ultimately wear out. The average life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps run about a decade.
Understand the HVAC Replacement Process
If a defective furnace or air conditioner can’t be repaired, you’ll need to replace it with an HVAC contractor’s help. Here’s how that works:
- Illustrate the problem to your technician and allow them to investigate it more in-depth.
- The professional will determine the problem and recommend the best solutions. A repair could be viable, but based on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement can be more cost-effective.
- You can secure numerous opinions and estimates from available contractors if you prefer.
- When you contact Rob's Albertan Service Experts, a residential sales consultant will determine what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is ideal for you.
- The technician will then compose a written estimate describing the work needed, the equipment they’ll install and the overall cost. You might also be given information about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
- Schedule the installation as soon as you decide what system you want. Your contractor will take care of everything, including hauling away the old equipment for safe disposal.
- The sales consultant should walk through the new system with you, detailing how to use it, helping with any questions and giving you all the required documentation.
Call Rob's Albertan Service Experts
If you have concerns about these HVAC system guidelines, feel free to call Rob's Albertan Service Experts. We emphasize customer education to help you make an informed 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 details or to request an estimate, please get in touch with your local Rob's Albertan Service Experts office today.