So you just bought a new home. First of all, congratulations! Buying a home is a momentous occasion and you should be proud of your achievement. However, when you are moving into a new home, it’s important you acquaint yourself with the inner workings of the house. With the number of things affected by your HVAC system, it’s especially important you understand what it needs, how it works, and how to recognize problems. With that in mind, we have gathered some handy HVAC tips and tricks for new homeowners so you can arm yourself with information. If you notice any issues with your HVAC system, call Integrity AC and Heating to have an experienced professional handle it.
-Know Your HVAC System
Does your home have heat pumps, central air conditioning, mini-split systems, or a boiler? Once you know exactly what type of heating and cooling system you have, learn what type of fuel it uses (electricity, oil, propane, or natural gas.) Some other important things you should know about your HVAC system include:
- Age: If your home was pre-owned, it’s important you know how old the HVAC system is. This will give you an idea of the expected lifespan and any repairs that may be necessary in the near future. Many systems begin to experience issues at around 10-to-15 years of age.
- Efficiency ratings: HVAC 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 is, the more efficient the system is.
- Warranty: You’ll likely learn about the warranty when you find out how old the system is. It’s important to research what actions void the warranty as well.
- Maintenance inspection results: If whoever owned your home previously took proper care of the HVAC system, they hired a professional to complete annual inspections. Get the results of these inspections to have a record of issues that have come up, repairs that have been completed, and parts that have been replaced. This information will be useful for when you begin your annual inspection schedule.
-Change the Air Filters
The best habit you can start to make sure your HVAC system operates well is regularly replacing the air filters. Not only will it improve the overall air quality in your home, it will also make the system operate more efficiently, reducing your monthly energy bills. Depending on your system, the filters may need to be replaced anywhere from once a month to once every six months, or they may be able to be cleaned instead of requiring replacement. Some models of thermostats actually alert you to when the filter needs to be changed.
The outdoor portion of your HVAC system is just as important as the indoor unit, and as such, you need to ensure the area around the outdoor unit is in good shape. Not only does maintaining your landscape improve how your yard looks, it can ensure your HVAC system runs well and has proper airflow. Keep all shrubs, trees, plants, and any other foliage at least three feet away from the unit. Be sure you keep tools, supplies, furniture, and toys clear of the unit. If leaves, snow, or pine needles fall on the unit, it’s important you clear it off quickly.
-Mind the Ice
While it’s not a big issue for a small amount of ice to form on the outdoor HVAC unit, it’s important you ensure it doesn’t develop into a large sheet or block of ice. If this happens to your system, call a professional immediately to prevent permanent damage to your system. Whatever you do, do not pour warm or hot water on the ice to attempt to melt it.
-Keep the Vents Open
One of the most common HVAC myths that has been passed around is the idea that closing the vents in rooms you don’t use will save energy. Unfortunately, it is actually the opposite, as your system will be put under more strain in order to maintain the comfort levels in your home. It is for that reason it is not recommended to block the vents with furniture, books, blankets, or any other objects. If you are interested in heating or cooling specific areas of your home, consult with an HVAC professional to discuss creating distinct zones in your home.
-Annual Preventative HVAC Maintenance
To ensure your system is working properly for years to come, it’s imperative you keep up with a regular maintenance schedule. When you have an HVAC professional inspect the system at least once a year, they are able to properly gauge the overall health of the system, problem areas that need to be addressed, and ways to improve the system’s efficiency to reduce your monthly bills. When you let routine maintenance slide, you’re only guaranteeing a large repair bill for yourself later down the line. It’s recommended you have your system inspected in the spring and/or fall, as that is the time of year when temperatures are mildest, but the system will be put into use more in the next season.
If you’ve noticed your new home seems to always be dusty, the temperature is always uneven, smells stale, feels unusually humid, or your energy bills are consistently high, it is likely there is an issue with your ductwork. Whether they need to be cleaned or there is an air leak, you should have a professional inspect the ducts. If your ductwork leaks, it causes your HVAC system to strain more to maintain the temperature you want and it sends air into areas you don’t use, like in between walls. That leads to sky-high energy bills for no benefit.
With all of these tips and tricks, it’s important to have an HVAC company you can trust on your side. Here in Phoenix, Integrity AC and Heating considers themselves the HVAC gurus you can count on. We have years of experience and knowledge under our belt that will help you get the most efficient and comfortable home life you could want. Whether you want to start your annual inspection schedule or you have noticed one of the issues we listed above, we can help you. Call us today!