With our winter season now in full force here in the Lowcountry, we’re once again reminded of the need for dual operation from our HVAC system (both cooling and heating), despite our warmer climate in the Southeast.
With that said, this time of year can be troublesome for many homeowners as they start turning on their heating options and breakdowns occur.
For some Lowcountry residents, it may be the first time they fire up their furnaces or other heating source; for others it’s just been so long since they’ve turned it on, but either way, finding out your system isn’t operating correctly could lead to some cold nights ahead.
The same is true when the temperatures start to rise and you turn on your A/C for the first time in several months.
Whatever time of year it is, there a few simple things you should learn about your system that can help you avoid these seasonal breakdowns and understand how to keep your system running efficiently.
Knowing these five things not only helps you understand your system better, but also saves time when you need a local HVAC company to help with service, maintenance or installation.
1. Brand Name, Make & Model
Probably the easiest thing to know about your system, the brand name, make and model can help allow you to understand its operation type (see #3 below).
Not all brands are created equally, so knowing the manufacturer will also let you know if you like the quality of that company’s offering or if you want to look at other brands for your next system.
2. System Type & Operation Options
Now that you know the brand, make and model of your system you should be able to do a few quick HVAC related Google searches to learn about your system’s operation type.
HVAC systems are flexible by nature, and constantly improve operational efficiency each year so there are many different types of systems out in the wild.
System types include traditional central air conditioning & furnace combinations, high efficiency, variable speed heat pumps (that can both cool and warm your home), ductless mini-splits or even geothermal heating and cooling.
The great thing about learning about these system types is that it allows you to know what would be available to you for your next system installation.
If you’ve moved into a new home or condo with an existing system, this may be hard to estimate, but if you know when your home or building was built, that is a good place to start.
If your home was built longer than 12-15 years ago — and your system doesn’t look new or recent — then it may be time for a replacement (see #5 below).
If your home was built within the past 2-5 years, you should be good but check the maintenance history (see #4) to see if issues are increasing in frequency, which may be a sign of larger problems or poor maintenance.
4. Maintenance History, Air Filter Schedule
Just like with your vehicle, it’s important to maintain a maintenance and/or repair history. This will help any future HVAC company to understand better the current state of your system and save them time when getting you back up and running.
If you keep a good maintenance history, you can also include air filter replacement dates so you never miss your next filter swap in your home.
5. Future Maintenance & New System Installation
Now that you know much more about your system and its past, it’s time to look forward. A properly maintained system can maximize your system’s lifespan so be sure to choose a quality HVAC company in Charleston.