HVAC System Basics for New Homeowners

Congratulations on buying your first home! You are obviously pleased with your investment, even though you might feel overwhelmed by all these new responsibilities. Now that you’re a homeowner, 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 use the thermostat, you have plenty to learn. Get a head start with these HVAC system basics for brand-new homeowners.

Know the Different Elements of an HVAC System

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Unless you live in an idyllic climate, your new home most likely has this system to keep you warm during the winter and cool for the summer. Here are the key parts of an HVAC system:

  • Comfort equipment, such as an air conditioner, air-source heat pump, furnace, boiler, geothermal heat pump or ductless mini-split, to name a few possibilities.
  • Ductwork connected to return and supply registers in the case of air-forced systems like ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
  • Radiators or hot water distribution systems such as boilers.
  • Indoor air quality solutions, such as an air filter, whole-house humidifier, whole-house dehumidifier, air purifier or energy-recovery ventilator.
  • Thermostat for indoor comfort control.

Appreciate the Importance of Preventive Maintenance

When you were a renter, the landlord likely managed any HVAC maintenance tasks such as replacing the air filter. They may or may not have also handled the bill for detailed heating and cooling inspections.

Now that you’re in charge, you can give 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.
  • Lightly hose down the outdoor unit and pare back vegetation to improve airflow.
  • Keep all air registers open to preserve proper system balance.

Then, request yearly maintenance for each HVAC unit. Only an experienced professional can perform in-depth tasks like cleaning the furnace burners, recharging the AC refrigerant and identifying air leaks in the ductwork. Anticipate the following advantages when you call a professional to inspect your system every year:

  • Energy savings
  • Fewer breakdowns
  • Smaller repair bills
  • Superior home comfort
  • Extended system life span
  • Peace of mind

Watch for Signs of Trouble

Repairing and replacing the HVAC system is the homeowner’s responsibility. Watch for these signs that it’s time to hire a heating and cooling professional:

  • Loud noise: Don’t dismiss a squealing, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It might be a cry for help from your home's furnace or air conditioner.
  • Comfort or air quality trouble: Inconsistent temperatures, high or low humidity, stale rooms and mold-like odors are routinely linked to malfunctioning HVAC equipment.
  • Reduced energy efficiency: Are your bills suddenly increasing? This might mean your heating and cooling system isn’t running right.
  • Old age: Like all mechanical systems, HVAC systems eventually fail. The typical life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps last just about a decade.

Understand the HVAC Replacement Process

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

  • Describe the problem to your technician and permit them to explore it more in-depth.
  • The technician should identify the problem and suggest available solutions. A repair could be doable, but depending on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement can be more cost-effective.
  • You can secure multiple opinions and estimates from available contractors if you prefer.
  • When you call Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air, a residential sales consultant will go over what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is best for you.
  • The tech will supply you with a written estimate outlining the work needed, the equipment they’ll install and the total price. You might also be given info about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
  • Schedule the installation after you figure out what system you want. The technician will take care of everything, even hauling away the old equipment for proper disposal.
  • The sales consultant will go over the new system with you, detailing how to use it, helping with any questions and offering all the necessary documentation.

Call Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air

If you have concerns about these HVAC system guidelines, don’t hesitate to reach out to Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air. We prioritize customer education to help you make an educated decision about your HVAC system. Our team is experienced 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 information or to ask for an estimate, please contact your local Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air office today.