August means back to school. Whether it’s getting supplies for kindergarten or furniture for a dorm room, everyone seems busy and focused on getting ready for back to school. Building on that back to school energy, today we’re giving you a lesson on HVAC systems.
This little class will include an overview of how systems work, the maintenance you should be regularly doing on your HVAC system, and tips to know when your system needs to be repaired or replaced.
An Overview of Your HVAC System
Interestingly, the majority of people have very little understanding of how their HVAC system works. While it might seem like an overly complicated system, most HVAC systems use a few basic components to effectively heat or cool your home.
If you have both heat and air conditioning, you likely have a forced-air system. In these units, hot or cold air is forced through metal ducts using a blower and then is either heated or cooled. There are different ducts for hot and cold air.
The primary components of these systems are:
- The furnace: usually in the attic, basement or a closet; it uses natural gas or oil to heat air.
- The air conditioner: this is found outside; it uses electricity and coolant to cool air; these units send hot air outside and cold air inside.
- Ductwork: this creates the highway through which hot and cold air travels throughout your house; your home’s ductwork enables your system to move air throughout your house.
- Thermostat: the thermostat, sometimes known as the “brains” of your HVAC system, turns your system on and off and changes the temperature.
Having a basic understanding of how your HVAC system works can help to ensure that you’re using it efficiently and effectively.
Keeping up With HVAC Maintenance
One of the best ways to keep your system running properly and to avoid outages is by doing routine maintenance. We all want to avoid emergency repairs, many times, consistent maintenance can help you do so.
Plus, regular maintenance helps to ensure that your system is running efficiently, which can help you save money on your utility bills. Finally, maintenance can help extend the lifespan of your unit and ensure that you get as many years out of your system as possible.
You should always keep your outdoor system clear of dirt, leaves or other debris. Similarly, you should always ensure that your air filters are clean and working properly. For most people, replacing filters every 90 days will be enough, but if you have pets or put additional strain on your system, you might need to change them more often.
It’s a good idea to check your filters monthly to ensure that they’re in good condition. At least once a year, you’ll want to have your air conditioner and your heater inspected, cleaned and service. While it can be easy to put off, keeping up with regular HVAC maintenance is an easy way to avoid HVAC emergencies and keep your system working properly no matter how hot or cold it is.
When Your HVAC System Needs Repairs or Needs to be Replaced
Even with consistent maintenance, at some point, your HVAC system will need to be repaired or even replaced. Yet, knowing some signs that your unit needs to be serviced can still help you avoid an outage. Signs that your system might need some repairs or need to be replaced include:
- Its age: the average lifespan of an HVAC unit is 10 to 15 years. Systems over 10 years old are more likely to need significant repairs.
- It makes loud sounds: if your system makes squeaking, grinding or grating sounds, it should be serviced.
- Poor air quality: if the air quality in your home is low, it’s likely a sign that there’s an issue with your HVAC system.
- Not properly heating or cooling: if your system is blowing air but not properly heating or cooling, it should be serviced.
If your system needs to be serviced or even replaced, call 4 Seasons Heating and Cooling today at (775) 535-7914. We’re available to answer any HVAC questions that you have and to provide the HVAC services you need.