Do you know much about HVAC systems? Do you even know what HVAC stands for? Don’t feel bad, I didn’t even pay attention to what it meant or how it operated….until I became a Realtor. In fact, many people don’t typically know much about their HVAC system until it has an issue or needs to be replaced (and it tends to go out at the most inconvenient time, right???). Below is a summary with a few quick tips to help you understand and make the most of your HVAC system.
Let’s start with HVAC. This stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.
While there are many areas in the world and the United States that don’t use AC (I’ve had clients that live on the west coast that don’t have AC, etc.), it certainly comes to good use here in Texas where temperatures frequently reach in excess of 100+ degrees.
Here is a quick summary of the different types of systems and details of a typical HVAC:
- For the main unit, this is usually located in a closet in your home or in the attic. This is the part of the machine that holds the fan that blows the hot or cold air and helps circulate it through your home. This element is also where the heating elements are typically located as well (gas or electric).
- If you have air conditioning, there is also a condenser that is needed to help produce this cold air. The condenser is typically located somewhere around the house against an exterior wall and is the main component for the A/C..
- Air Conditioning
- The air conditioning system that uses a condenser is electrically powered and utilizes either Freon or a newer gas called R22.
- Heating system
- Electric - in some developments there is no gas lines available and electricity is the only source for heat. This system works very similar to a hair dryer in how it heats the air with heat strips and blows the air through the home.
- Heat Pump - I’ll save the in depth description for this topic for a future episode but this essentially reverses the process that your air conditioning uses and can heat the home. It can only typically be used in temperatures above 35/40 degrees. This is beneficial in areas like Texas where it usually doesn’t drop below freezing. Heat Pumps are sought after because they are much more efficient than the electric version of heating.
- Gas - in areas where gas is available this is usually what you will find being used the heat the home. It is not as efficient as a heat pump but it can be used below freezing and is much more cost efficient than electricity.
Here are a few quick tips to make sure your HVAC stays in optimal condition for as long as possible:
- Change your air filters frequently - during high use months I try to change mine about one each month. During low use times I may way 2-3 months prior to changing. The main reason for doing this is to create the best air flow possible through your unit and to reduce strain on the components of the whole system. In Episdoe #002 of the Real Estate Now Podcast with Adam Acevedo he recommends making sure your filter has a MERV rating of 7 or higher.
- Service your system twice per year - around October and March have your unit serviced by a licensed HVAC tech. They should clean the unit, test for any potential issues, clean the condenser, and check if freon/R22 is needed. This should typically cost less than $100 (pending no repairs, etc.) and can help increase the lifespan of your unit. This is very similar to how you would take your car to get the oil changed on a regular basis to keep it running smoother/longer.
In summary, the better you maintain your HVAC, the longer it should last. For more in depth information I recommend listening to Episode #002 of the Real Estate Now Podcast where we visit with Adam Acevedo - a licensed HVAC tech that owns his own company in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
Please feel free to submit any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can reach me direct at 817-288-5515.