You bought a home! Congratulations! Whether this is your first time purchasing a home or fifth, it’s important to be familiar with the systems that control its comfort levels before for they need a major repair.
Doing so allows you to perform the preventive maintenance the HVAC system needs, recognize signs of trouble and avoid newbie mistakes. In turn, your HVAC system will reward you with energy savings and reliability. But first things first…
What Does HVAC Stand for?
Before we get into the nitty gritty basics new homeowners should know about their HVAC system, you should know what the acronym HVAC stands for:
Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system is one of the most important systems in your home. It refers to your entire comfort system responsible for moving and regulating the air throughout your residential home or commercial building. Your HVAC unit affects your everyday life by optimizing your home to your preferred comfort level.
Top 11 Things to Know About Your HVAC System
In today’s post, we will share the top 11 things you need to know to ensure your HVAC system is running efficiently for years to come.
1. Know What Kind of HVAC System You Have
Does your home have a furnace and air conditioner? Heat pump? Furnace and heat pump? Ductless mini-split? After learning exactly how your home is heated and cooled, find out what type of fuel it uses, such as electricity, oil, propane or natural gas. Other important things to learn about your HVAC system include its:
- Age: The age of your system is the first thing we’ll ask when you call with any issues. While some HVAC systems seem to last decades, most start experiencing problems after 10 years.
- Efficiency rating: Heating and cooling systems have SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio), EER (energy efficiency ratio), AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) or HSPF (heating seasonal performance factor) ratings. The higher the rating, the more efficient a unit is.
- Warranty: In addition to learning the warranty’s term, learn what actions might accidentally void it.
- Preventative maintenance results: If the previous homeowner took good care of the HVAC system, they hopefully hired a professional to maintain it annually. Ask for the inspection reports to learn about the types of issues the system experienced to be aware of problems that might occur.
2. Educate Yourself on the HVAC System
The more you know about your HVAC system (and HVAC in general!), the better equipped you’ll be to maintain it. Familiarize yourself with the system enough to identify the major components, such as the condenser coil, compressor, electrical components, and fan. Read the owner’s manual, visit the manufacturer’s website, and ask your HVAC technician any questions you have. You’ll understand how your system works and how to maintain it properly. Also, listen to the sounds it makes so you can identify any potential problems.
3. Replace the Filters Often
Air filters play an important role in your HVAC system. Over time, they get dirty and clogged from filtering out dust, debris, and animal dander, which is why you need to be vigilant in replacing them. We recommend replacing your HVAC air filters every 3 months to ensure you maintain good indoor air quality and efficient airflow throughout your home. During the peak Summer and Winter months when you are running your HVAC system all day long, of if you have pets, you may need to replace the air filters sooner. Take note of how quickly your air filters get dirty so you know when to replace them in the future.
4. Keep the Area Around the Outdoor Unit(s) Clean
Maintaining the landscape does more than make your yard look beautiful, it also helps your HVAC system perform well and have proper airflow. Shrubs, trees, plants and other foliage should be about three feet away from the unit. It is also a good idea to keep garden tools, supplies, furniture and toys away from it—these can easily knock into your system and cause damage. As leaves and pine needles fall on and around the unit, clear them away. The same goes for snow.
Be careful with ice: It is okay if a little bit of ice forms on an HVAC unit during the Winter. If larger sheets or blocks of ice form during the winter, or you notice ice formations when the weather is warmer, call a professional right away. Do not pour warm water on the ice to melt it.
5. Don’t Close Vents
In an attempt to save money on heating and cooling costs, some homeowners close the vents in rooms they don’t use often. This action will actually increase your energy costs because your system will have to work harder to maintain the comfort levels in your home. For this reason, we recommend that you never block vent registers with furniture, books, blankets or other objects. If you only want to heat or cool certain areas of your home, talk to an HVAC expert about creating different zones.
6. Preventative HVAC Maintenance is KEY!
Every homeowner dreads a major HVAC failure during the middle of Summer or the coldest parts of Winter, but with regular HVAC maintenance, you can minimize your chances of needing these expensive emergency repairs.
Preventative maintenance is the key to a long-lasting, efficient HVAC system. Like any other piece of machinery, your HVAC system needs regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly. Not only will it keep your system in optimal condition but it will alert you to small problems that could become major repairs during peak Summer or Winter. Therefore, the best time of year to schedule maintenance is during the Spring or Fall, before the weather gets too hot or too cold. Even if your HVAC unit is running well, it’s important that you have preventative maintenance appointments to assess the energy efficiency and overall performance of your unit.
7. Use a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can help you save energy and money by allowing you to set different temperatures for different times of the day. For example, you can set the thermostat to lower the temperature at night or when you’re not home. This will help you save money on your energy bills and reduce wear and tear on your HVAC system.
Have a PROFESSIONAL install any new thermostats: Your thermostat is the most important component of your HVAC system and unfortunately, we see a lot of homeowners who try to replace them on their own. A faulty, or improperly installed thermostat can lead to a host of problems for your HVAC unit, including inefficient heating and cooling, poor temperature control, and high energy bills.
Thermostats have grown up over the last few years. They barely resemble their simple, two-button cousins of old, and they demand expertise in electrical wiring. Aside from the obvious risk of electrocution, you could also damage your thermostat during installation. Sending too much current through the unit, for instance, might render it inoperable. You’re better off calling Pro-Tech HVAC Home to install it so you don’t cause injury to yourself or damage your HVAC system.
8. Monitor Your Energy Bills
We recommend that all homeowners pay close attention to their energy bills. As a new homeowner, you may not have a solid baseline to consider but try to monitor your energy costs every month to notice any significant changes. Sudden jumps in energy costs are a cause for concern and warrant an assessment by an HVAC technician. However, gradual increases in energy costs can also signify a problem with your system. If you notice these changes in your bills, make sure to raise your concerns with your HVAC technician who can ensure your unit is energy efficient and free of problems.
9. Inspect Your Insulation
Insulation is another critical component to the success and efficiency of your HVAC system. Proper insulation keeps your home cool in the Summer and warm in the Winter while reducing your energy costs. The HVAC system will not work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature if your home is adequately insulated.
If you have purchased an existing construction, you may want to have your insulation inspected to ensure it is still effectively insulated in your home. However, all homes often have the problem of air leaking out of poorly insulated areas, such as the attic. It’s a good idea to have Pro-Tech HVAC Home take a look at these areas to ensure they’re properly insulated.
10. Watch for Warning Signs
All homeowners should watch for warning signs that something is wrong with their HVAC systems. Strange noises, uneven heating and cooling, and sudden changes in your electricity bill are all signs that something is not right. Take note of any changes you notice in your HVAC unit and schedule a service appointment so your technician can identify and solve the problem. It is crucial that you seek professional service as soon as you start to notice these warning signs with your unit. Any of these signs can turn into major problems if left unresolved, so act quickly if this happens.
11. Budget for Repairs and Maintenance
Our final tip for new homeowners is to budget for repairs and maintenance costs. All HVAC units will need repairs at one point or another during the lifespan of the unit, however, being prepared for these costs can make a huge difference. Don’t skip your preventative maintenance appointments with Pro-Tech HVAC Home. You may find them to be unnecessary, especially if your unit is running well, but our trained technicians can spot problems before they start to cause inconveniences. So, make sure to budget for repairs and maintenance to be prepared for anything that may pop up with your unit.
Purchasing a home comes with many new responsibilities, and taking care of your HVAC system is a major one.
Take these HVAC tips into consideration as you embark on your journey as a new homeowner to ensure you and your family are comfortable for years to come.
For more information or to schedule a service, please contact us today. At Pro-Tech HVAC Home, your comfort is our business!
Pro-Tech HVAC Home is Your Top Rated Local HVAC Company!
When it comes to HVAC services, you need to work with a company with a stellar reputation for providing service that is guaranteed to solve your problems once and for all. As Annapolis’ Top Rated Local HVAC contractor, that’s what you get with Pro-Tech HVAC Home. Our customers rely on us for fast, friendly service at a fair price. Our #1 priority is keeping our Annapolis neighbors comfortable all year long!
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Pro-Tech HVAC Home offers new installation, replacement, repairs and maintenance of heating and air conditioning systems in the Annapolis area. Our customers rely on us for honest and reliable service for air conditioners, heat pumps, gas furnaces, Mitsubishi systems, and more. We’re happy to answer questions, troubleshoot, and help you choose the best HVAC system for you and your family. We’re always happy to help answer your questions, so please give us a call or send us an email.