7 Facts About HVAC Systems That You Need to Know As a First Time Buyer

HVAC systems may not be the most exciting home system to learn about, but they’re incredibly important for homeowners’ comfort and can help increase property value. Taking the time to maintain an up-to-date HVAC system is critical for a long-lasting and reliable system.

The goal of all these units is to transport air into and out of buildings, improving the quality of indoor air. They do this by taking humidity out and bringing in fresh air.

1. Air Conditioners

Often overlooked, air conditioners determine the comfort level in a home. A well sized and maintained system is a critical factor in the home’s overall energy efficiency.

The air conditioner is a piece of equipment that cools and dehumidifies the air, removing contaminants. It is a central or ductless system that delivers conditioned air to each room in the house using a series of ducts and registers.

A newer air conditioning unit will have a higher SEER rating, indicating it is more efficient. Maintaining this equipment will help you save on utility bills and improve your resale value.

2. Furnaces

A furnace heats air by burning a fuel like natural gas. The flames pass through a metal heat exchanger where they warm the air before it is vented out of the house. Older “atmospheric” furnaces vented combustion gases directly into the atmosphere.

A new home furnace should be properly sized. Oversized units turn on and off more often, which wastes energy, shortens system lifespan, increases your utility bills, and causes discomfort.

Ask HVAC companies about their sizing process. They should be able to explain how their methods, including Manual J heating and cooling load calculations or manufacturers’ sizing software, work.

3. Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are having their moment in the sun, and for good reason. They’re a highly efficient way to heat homes, using electricity to power a system that transfers energy from air into your home via a reversing valve.

Like traditional AC units, heat pumps come in ducted and ductless varieties. If your new home has ductwork, you’ll likely choose a ducted heat pump; if not, a ductless unit known as a mini-split might be better suited.

Smart thermostats are available for heat pumps that can help homeowners cut their heating costs, and advanced filtration systems can improve indoor air quality for greater comfort and health benefits. Ask your local Carrier HVAC expert about the most suitable model for your climate and budget.

4. Thermostats

Thermostats help control ambient air temperature and provide comfort for building occupants. They work on the principle that heat makes things expand, and cold causes them to contract. When this happens, the thermostat switches on or off.

The location of a thermostat is important. It should be located in a room where people spend most of their time, such as the living room or bedroom. This will prevent it from registering temperatures in hallways and other spaces that are rarely used, as these can be far different than the occupant’s average temperature.

5. Ductwork

Often overlooked, the ductwork is one of the most important parts of an HVAC system. You can have the best equipment and still be miserable if your ductwork is leaky, poorly insulated or damaged.

Ducts are conduits that deliver warmed or cooled air to every room in your home. They consist of a main trunk, called a plenum, and a series of supply duct pipes that extend from the plenum like the legs of a stool.

These ducts often connect with wall-mounted air registers through stack heads or a zone damper. If you suspect your ductwork is in need of repair, look for signs of moisture problems, such as mold or rodent droppings and gnawing.

6. Air Filters

Air filters are one of the most common HVAC components that many first time buyers forget to change on a regular basis. A dirty filter can lead to decreased system efficiency and even cause your HVAC equipment to break down sooner than it would otherwise.

Filters sit in the air handler/exchange unit where hot and cool air circulates and enters duct work to be distributed throughout the home. Most air filters are made of spun fiberglass or pleated paper or cloth surrounded by cardboard. A good filter should have its size printed on the edges and can be easily identified when you go to buy a replacement.

7. Maintenance

HVAC systems are important to your comfort, and regular maintenance will keep them running at peak performance. Changing your air filter regularly is the best way to keep dirt from clogging and blocking your system. A dirty filter can restrict air flow and cause your system to work harder, causing the lifespan of your unit to decrease.

It’s a common myth that closing air vents in unused rooms of your home can save

electricity, but this actually makes the unit work harder. Closing air vents can also cause a buildup of pressure on the compressor and reduce system efficiency.

Oftentimes, if you buy home warranty, your warranty may cover a lot of HVAC components so be sure to check with your policy and coverage and save time and money on repairs.