Homeowners’ Guide to HVAC Basics | Insight from Your Trusted St. Paul, MN Heating and AC Repair Company
As a homeowner, it’s important to understand what’s going on in your home. Not only do you need to keep an eye on the carpentry, you also need to think about the stuff you can’t see such as your plumbing and HVAC systems. Being a responsible homeowner means looking out for problems and calling a heating and AC repair company when something pops up. However, it’s tough to maintain your HVAC system and keep an eye out for problems when you aren’t a professional. The best you can do is learn what you can and try your best to take care of your heating and cooling. If you’re looking for a basic crash course on the HVAC system in your St. Paul, MN, home, we’ve got you covered.
What Is an HVAC System?
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning; essentially, the HVAC system in your home is everything that’s related to heating and cooling the house. Your HVAC system also includes the vents and ducts the hot and cold air travels through to get to your home.
The important thing to remember about your HVAC system is that a lot of air runs through it, which tends to lead to a lot of dust and debris building up. Having a heating and AC repair company clean your ducts, AC and furnace every once in a while is an important part of preventing problems and keeping things running smoothly.
It’s also important to note that HVAC systems come in different shapes and sizes. While some people may use a standard forced-air furnace and central AC, others may use a ductless mini split or some other alternative type of heating and cooling. It’s important to talk to your heating and AC repair company to figure out what kind of system you have in your home, as this affects what you need to do for maintenance and repairs.
One of the most important things to know about your HVAC system is that you need to keep up with regular maintenance if you want it to continue working well. Most people expect their heating and cooling systems to work with the touch of a button, and it’s a big problem when they don’t. This is especially true during the frigid winter months or the heat of the summer.
A heating and AC repair company can take care of all your maintenance needs with one short service call. This includes everything from checking and replacing your air filter to making sure the coils in your AC unit are clean. Every few years, you can add duct cleaning to the maintenance process.
According to most experts, seasonal maintenance should be done twice a year during the spring and fall. Getting your AC ready for the summer during spring is important, as is preparing your furnace for the winter months during the fall. If you haven’t had anybody take a look at your HVAC system or clean it up in a while, you should call a heating and AC repair company and schedule maintenance now.
Another thing you have to know if you want to keep your HVAC system in good shape is how air filters work. All the air that runs from your HVAC system into your home runs through an air filter, where contaminants are trapped before entering your home. If you want to prevent problems with your HVAC system and promote good indoor air quality, you need to have a heating and AC repair expert change your air filter on a regular basis.
If you’re living alone in a smaller home or apartment, you can change your air filter every six months or so without problems. If you live with people, you should change your air filter every three months or so. Households with families and pets should change their air filters every month.
You also need to consider the different types of air filters you can purchase. Air filters are rated based on their ability to filter out contaminants, with a higher rating indicating better filtration. However, better air filters also tend to restrict airflow which can cause problems with your HVAC system. Ultimately, it’s best to have a heating and AC repair expert help you choose the right air filter for your St. Paul, MN, home.
While you might think your air conditioner and furnace are the most important parts of your HVAC system, everything plays its own important role. Your thermostat is particularly important because it has the job of telling your AC and furnace when to kick on and when to shut off. If you have an old thermostat that’s no longer accurate, you could be wasting a significant amount of money on heating and cooling costs.
When you have a heating and AC repair company do seasonal maintenance, you should also have them take a look at your thermostat. A professional can determine whether or not the thermostat is properly calibrated; if it’s not, they can calibrate it. In some cases, however, you might simply need a new thermostat.
The good news about having to buy a new thermostat is the fact that they’re relatively affordable and easy to install. You can find great prices on programmable digital thermostats on the market today, and they only take a few minutes to install. If you aren’t sure which thermostat is right for your home, a heating and AC repair company can recommend something.
Another thing to consider for your home is a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats are different because they connect to your Wi-Fi, which allows you to connect to your thermostat via your phone no matter where you are. What this means is that you can adjust the temperature inside your home when you’re on your way home from work or leaving for vacation. Just like a regular programmable thermostat, these smart thermostats are easy to install and don’t cost a fortune. Plus, any good heating and AC repair company can install a smart thermostat in your home.
Common AC Problems
As a homeowner, one of the most important things you can do in terms of taking care of your HVAC system is keep an eye out for signs of problems. Lucky for you, we’ve got all the information you need to know when it comes to which AC problems you’re likely to run into. That way, you know exactly when to call a heating and AC repair company to get things fixed.
A lack of airflow or warm air coming from your AC is a common problem. The good news about this problem is that it’s usually an easy fix. This restriction in airflow is often caused by a clogged, dirty air filter, so simply replacing the air filter will fix things a lot of times.
If you notice strange sounds coming from your AC unit, you should call a heating and AC repair company. Banging or clunking sounds are a sign that there’s a part loose in the unit, while squealing usually indicates a problem with a blower or fan. In either case, the only way to fix the problem is to have an expert replace the part that’s at fault.
Common Furnace Problems
It’s also important to understand what types of problems you’re likely to face when it comes to your furnace. The more you know about your HVAC system and signs of problems, the quicker you can call a heating and AC repair company to mitigate the problem.
If your furnace isn’t putting out enough heat for your home, there could be numerous things wrong with it. A natural gas furnace might not have enough fuel to provide heat, or there may be a problem with the fan that forces the warm air into your home. No matter what’s causing a lack of heat in your furnace, you need to get it checked out.
You might also notice strange noises coming from your furnace if there’s something wrong with it. If you hear a squealing noise, chances are the problem has something to do with a belt or fan in your furnace. A clunking or banging noise indicates that a part is loose or broken. While you should never expect your furnace to be completely silent, you should definitely call a heating and AC repair company if your furnace is making unusually loud noises.
HVAC System Upgrades
If you’re the type of homeowner who likes to get the most out of their St. Paul, MN, home, you might be wondering if there are any impactful HVAC system upgrades you can make. The answer is yes, there are tons of things you can do to make your HVAC system perform a little better. Whether you want to save money on your energy bill or keep your home at a more comfortable temperature, you’ve got lots of HVAC upgrade options.
A new furnace or AC unit can work wonders when it comes to heating or cooling your home. If you’ve had your HVAC components for decades now, you probably don’t even realize how inefficient your heating and cooling systems are. Not only will this upgrade keep your home more comfortable, it will also save you a lot on monthly heating and cooling costs.
Upgrading your thermostat is one of the simplest things you can do to make a big difference in terms of performance. Older thermostats weren’t very accurate, but the newer digital models can pinpoint the temperature in your home. Even better, you can have a heating and AC repair company install a smart thermostat that allows you to control the temperature in your home from anywhere you can use your phone.
Replacing Your HVAC System
As is the case with everything else in your home, your HVAC system isn’t designed to last forever. Any reputable heating and AC repair expert will tell you that you need to replace your AC and furnace about every 15 to 25 years. Of course, this depends on a lot of other factors, so it’s important to understand when it’s time for an HVAC system replacement.
If your furnace or AC hasn’t been replaced in more than 20 years, you should replace them right now if you can. Even if your heating and cooling are still working, it’s only a matter of time before you have to call a heating and AC repair company. The last thing you want is to suffer in the heat of summer or cold of winter with no HVAC system.
Taking care of your furnace and AC can help them last longer, but you also have to consider the reverse of that argument. If you don’t have a heating and AC repair expert doing seasonal maintenance on your HVAC system, you can’t expect it to last the 20 or 25 years that others may. Instead, you may end up having to replace your AC or furnace after just 10 or 15 years.
Get Some Help
Taking good care of your HVAC system is important if you want to keep your home comfortable all year long, but it’s also a lot of work. The truth is, you can never know everything there is to know about the HVAC system in your home. Instead, you should pick up the phone and get some help from the experts.
If you’re in the St. Paul, MN, area, Blue Ox Heating & Air has your back when it comes to heating and AC repair. Whether you need a new furnace or AC or you simply need seasonal maintenance done, we’re happy to help. Next time you need help with your HVAC system, give Blue Ox Heating & Air a call at (952) 208-4570.