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Everything You Need to Know About Your Central Air HVAC System

Everything You Need to Know About Your Central HVAC System


Everything You Need to Know About Your Central HVAC System

Own a home with an existing central air HVAC system, or a newly installed one, it’s important to learn about the system. The more educated you are, the better your chances will be of avoiding costly repairs, and earlier replacement. A brief guide on central air HVAC systems, that will educate you on maintenance to common issues to watch for.

There is an outside housing unit

You will have an outside housing unit to your central HVAC system. In most cases, this unit will be on the side of the home, but it may also be on the roof. If the unit is on the side of your home, you will need to make sure you keep a minimum of two feet clean and free of things like litter, dirt, weeds, and other foliage. The unit includes the motor and other components inside a large housing unit that will is metal.

This entire unit should be on a concrete pad to prevent it from shifting as the soil shifts, which can cause issues later down the line. If you ever hear strange new noises coming from this unit, then you want to have someone come take a look. Any new noises you have never heard before are things to be concerned about.

There is an inside thermostat

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You will have a thermostat on the wall of your home. In most homes, this thermostat will be on a wall in the central part of the home, such as near a doorway in the living area or in a hallway. It will be a small unit with buttons. This is where you turn the HVAC system on and off, and tell it you want the air conditioning, the heater, or just the fan. It is also where you will set the temperature that you want for the house.

If you go to turn on the unit or change any of the settings and you aren’t able to, then you will need to have someone come take a look. Often there is no other way for you to control the HVAC system if you can’t do so from the thermostat.

The air ducts

There are ducts that travel throughout your home’s central air HVAC system, you won’t see them because they are above the ceiling. These vents do two things for the system. First, they take the air in the home and pull it through equipment where the air heats or cools to the desired temperature. Then the ducts take the air that has been heated or cooled and push the air into the rooms throughout your home.

The ducts do need to be watched for a few things. For one thing, it is possible and quite common for ducts to end up leaking. You may spot the issue of a leak in the ducts by hearing something that sounds like a whooshing or even a whistling noise that you don’t recall ever hearing before. Also, you may notice that your HVAC system isn’t cooling your home the way it used to. If you think there is a leak, have it looked at right away. A leak causes the system to work harder, and it can significantly raise the cost of your energy bills.

Ducted cleaning

Another thing you want to watch for are signs of pests in the ducts. Rodents and even raccoons have been known to get in the ducts. If you smell anything coming from them or you hear strange noises like squeaks, clawing, or anything else, have the ducts checked. It’s also quite common for rodents to die in the ducts, and this will send a very foul odor into the home.

You also want to have your ducts cleaned when they are dusty. If you are noticing the smell of dust when the system kicks on, or there is more dust in your home, then consider having the ducts checked to see if it is time for them to be cleaned.

There is an air filter

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The air comes in from an air return that is somewhere in the house, either high on the wall, in the ceiling, or near your interior HVAC equipment. It will be a large square grille, and there will be an air filter behind it. You need to pay attention to this filter. It will need to be kept clean. The amount of time that you can go between cleaning it or replacing it will depend on several factors. People in households with pets or smokers will find they are likely changing their air filter every month or so, whereas someone else without pets and with no smokers in the home can go a few months.

If you don’t keep the filter clean, then your HVAC system is going to have a harder time pulling the air through the grime, and this puts additional stress on it. The more stress that your system goes through, the sooner you will pay for repairs, and the shorter the lifespan of your system may be. You want to make sure you purchase the right filter for your system. Write the size down and take it with you when you buy the filter because some of them can look very similar in size, but when you go to put them in, the slight difference in size will make it so they won’t work correctly for your needs.

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Central air HVAC system air registers

Each main room of your home will have registers that are usually on the upper portion of the wall, the ceiling or the floor. These have vents that you can change the position of, or close off. Many people think they can save money on their heating and cooling expenses by shutting the registers in the rooms no one will be in.

However, this is something that you do not want to do. All of the registers in your home should remain open. Shutting one or more of them will lead to an imbalance in the system that is not good for it, and this may leave you needing the assistance of an HVAC technician if you cause a problem with the way the system runs.

There may be warning signs

Women worried about central air HVAC system

Your central air system may give you signs to let you know that you should get it looked at.

The system may turn on more frequently than normal. It also may not be cooling or heating the home enough to meet the temperature you set on the thermostat.

Strange sounds, odors filling one or more rooms, or it can decide not to turn on at all. Any time you notice the system acting differently, you should have it looked at right away.

Running a system that is having problems, only increases your chances of making a small problem become much worse. Ignoring small faults, lead to repairs that take more time, trouble, and money to repair.

Annual servicing is a must

When you have a central HVAC system, you have a convenient and quiet way to heat and cool your home. However, to make sure that you continue to get great performance, you will want to have it serviced each year.

On top of making an annual service booking, the time of the year may also prove to be important. You should have them come out right before you start to use it to cool your home. Having it serviced at the start of summer, before you turn it on, ensures that if there is a problem anywhere in the system, it will be found and fixed before it causes a downward spiral, which can lead to the need to repair a lot of different components.

Servicing will include a complete cleaning, helping you to get more life from the system before the need for replacement.

Central Air HVAC System Conclusion

A central HVAC system makes a great choice for your home for many reasons. For one thing, they allow you to dictate the precise temperature your entire home is going to be. This allows you to be comfortable in any room you decide to go in. Another great thing about these systems is they help you to heat and cool your home using a system that won’t run up your electric bill too much.

Since the condensing unit is outside, you won’t have eyesores like other types of heating and cooling systems. Also, having the condenser outside also allows you to both heat and cool the inside of your home in peace.

The most you will hear from your home central heating and air conditioning system is a slight hum as the system turns on, and then the gentle sound of air coming out of the registers. If you are thinking of installing a central HVAC system in your home, you should go ahead and do so.

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