Are you a new homeowner? If so, congratulations. It’s a big step, and one that brings with it a mix of joys and responsibilities.
Take your HVAC system. There’s the joy of having a reliable method of staying cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and the responsibility of making sure that it functions properly.
That’s why it’s important to educate yourself on your heating and cooling system, allowing you to perform small, preventative maintenance and recognize when more serious repairs are needed.
If you’re the owner of a new home, here are a few HVAC system tips.
Start by finding out what kind of system you have – central air, heat pumps, mini-split, etc. – and what kind of fuel your home uses.
After that, find out about the system’s:
Age – Most HVAC products start to experience problems when they hit the 10 to 15-year mark.
Efficiency rating – HVAC systems can have several efficiency ratings (SEER, EER, AFUE, HSPF). The higher the rating, the more efficient your system.
Past inspections – If you’ve bought a home from someone else, look for past inspection reports to see what kind of issues the HVAC system experienced.
It’s also a smart idea to familiarize yourself with the system’s warranty. Find out how long the warranty lasts, and what might accidentally invalidate it.
Beyond that, these HVAC system tips can help you keep your unit in tip-top shape:
1. Air filters
Change the air filters according to the schedule recommended by the manufacturer. This is typically between once a month and twice a year. Your thermostat may have a feature that reminds you when it’s time to change the filter.
Pay attention to the area around your outdoor units. Make sure trees, shrubs, plants and flowers are at least three feet away from outdoor units, and keep garden supplies, furniture and toys away from the outdoor components of your system. Clear away fallen leaves and snow.
Watch for ice. A little bit is okay in the winter, but you should call a professional if large sheets of ice form, or if you notice ice buildup in the summer. Don’t use warm water to melt the ice.
4. Keep your vents open
Many homeowners will try to keep their energy costs down by closing vents in rooms they don’t use. This will backfire, as the HVAC system will then need to work harder to keep your home warm or cool. This is why it’s a bad idea to block vents with furniture or other objects.
5. Pay attention to ductwork
Leaks in ductwork can have a negative impact on the performance of your system and send air into spaces you don’t need it to go (such as between your walls). If you’re seeing a lot of dust in your home, if it feels too humid, or your energy bill seems higher than it should, it’s time to get an expert to inspect and clean the ductwork.
6. Annual maintenance
While these HVAC system tips can help your unit perform to the best of its ability, it’s still important to have a professional look at your heating and cooling operations once a year. This can help you spot minor problems before they become major repairs. It’s best to get these done in the fall or spring, before things get too cold or too hot.
If you’ve purchased a house and need advice about your HVAC system, All Seasons Comfort Control can help. Our technicians can help you restore and maintain your heater, air conditioner or water heater so that you can enjoy your new home.