HVAC System Basics for New Homeowners

Congratulations on purchasing your first home! You are no doubt delighted with your investment, even though you might feel overloaded by all your new responsibilities. Now that you’re the homeowner, not the renter, it’s your job to maintain all your home’s appliances and systems, like the heating and cooling equipment.

If the only interaction you’ve ever come across with a furnace or air conditioner is to change the thermostat, you have a lot to learn. Try these HVAC system tips for brand-new homeowners.

Know the Different Elements of an HVAC System

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

  • Comfort equipment, like an air conditioner, air-source heat pump, furnace, boiler, geothermal heat pump or ductless mini-split, to name a few options.
  • Ductwork connected to return and supply registers in the case of air-forced systems including ACs, heat pumps and furnaces.
  • Radiators or hot water distribution systems in the case of 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 temperature control.

Appreciate the Importance of Preventive Maintenance

When you were a renter, a landlord likely took care of 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 responsible for this, you can give preventive maintenance the attention it deserves. First, perform these do-it-yourself HVAC maintenance tasks:

  • Replace the air filter every 30 to 90 days.
  • Lightly hose down the outdoor unit and cut back vegetation to increase airflow.
  • Keep all air registers open to maintain proper system balance.

Then, arrange 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. Count on the following perks when you hire a professional to inspect your system every year:

  • Energy savings
  • Fewer breakdowns
  • Smaller repair bills
  • Superior home comfort
  • Longer 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 clues that it’s time to contact a heating and cooling specialist:

  • Excess noise: Don’t dismiss a squealing, rattling, clanking or banging sound. It could be a cry for help from your home's furnace or air conditioner.
  • Comfort or air quality trouble: Erratic temperatures, high or low humidity, stagnant rooms and moldy smells are often linked to malfunctioning HVAC equipment.
  • Low energy efficiency: Are your bills suddenly going up? This can mean your heating and cooling system isn’t running properly.
  • Old age: Like all mechanical utilities, HVAC systems inevitably fail. The average life span of a furnace or boiler is 15 years, while air conditioners and heat pumps run around a decade.

Understand the HVAC Replacement Process

If a finicky furnace or air conditioner can’t be restored, you’ll need to replace it with an HVAC contractor’s help. Here’s how this works:

  • Explain the problem to your technician and permit them to explore it more in-depth.
  • The technician should diagnose the problem and offer possible solutions. A repair might be viable, but based on the unit’s condition and age, a replacement can be more cost-effective.
  • You can obtain numerous opinions and estimates from available contractors if you want.
  • When you call Stark Services, a residential sales consultant will go over what HVAC system, brand, fuel type and efficiency rating is perfect for you.
  • The technician will compose a written estimate detailing the work necessary, the equipment they’ll install and the total price. You may also receive info about warranty coverage, service plans and financing options.
  • Schedule the installation after you figure out what system you want. The technician will handle everything, including hauling away the old equipment for appropriate disposal.
  • The sales consultant will review the new system with you, detailing how to use it, addressing any questions and offering all the necessary documentation.

Call Stark Services

If you have concerns about these HVAC system basics, don’t hesitate to reach out to Stark Services. We prioritize customer education to help you make an informed decision about your home comfort system. Our team is well-versed in a wide range of HVAC services, so turn to us 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 Stark Services office today.