Owning your first home is an exciting endeavor. For most of us, a home is the biggest purchase of our lives. From mowing the lawn to cleaning out the gutters, there are many essential home maintenance tasks to stay on top of if you want to protect your investment. One of the most important is HVAC maintenance. Read on to learn essential HVAC basics for new homeowners.   Need help with your HVAC, Midlothian homeowner? Give the team at Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling and Heating a call at (972) 885-6373 today or visit us online.   

What is HVAC?

You may have heard the term “HVAC” before, but what exactly does it mean? HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. The term broadly refers to the many components that work together to provide year-round climate control in indoor spaces. Your HVAC system is responsible for cooling your home during the warm season, and heating things up when temperatures drop in the fall and winter. Aside from temperature control, HVAC units filter the air that circulates through a living space, and they help remove excess moisture from the air, keeping humidity levels comfortable for you and your family, and safe for your home and belongings.     

Common Types of HVAC Systems

Not all homes have the same kind of HVAC system. The type of unit best suited to your needs may depend on the specifics of your home, lifestyle and location. Let’s look at the most common HVAC systems found in residences today.
  1. Split Systems

Standard split systems are a popular choice for homeowners. These kinds of units are generally affordable and offer several options in terms of how they work. A split system has two main components. One is usually located indoors, and the other outside. There are various ways to achieve a split system setup, utilizing different components and heat sources, including a heat pump split system, a furnace and air conditioner or a furnace and heat pump setup. 
  1. Ductless Split Systems

Ductless split systems typically utilize an indoor and outdoor unit connected through refrigerant tubing and electrical wires. These systems can operate in buildings that do not have any ductwork. 
  1. Geothermal Systems

Geothermal systems source heat energy from the ground or from a water source, rather than using a furnace that burns fuel. These systems are more eco-friendly and highly energy efficient, but are more expensive to install than traditional units.
  1. Packaged Systems

Packaged systems are installed entirely outdoors and are connected to ductwork through a hole in the outside wall of your home. This setup works well in homes where space is limited. 

Common HVAC Maintenance Tasks

It’s important to schedule professional Midlothian heating and air maintenance for your unit twice a year — once in the spring to prepare your A/C for the summer months, and once in the fall to get your heater ready for winter. That said, there’s plenty homeowners can and should do between scheduled visits. Let’s dive in:

Change Air Filters

The air filters in your HVAC unit should be replaced (or cleaned, if reusable) every 30–90 days, depending on your location, lifestyle and number of pets in the home. HVAC air filters can be bought at most big home improvement stores, just be sure to check the size of your old filter. This information is typically printed on the side of the filter’s cardboard frame. If your home has more than one air return register — an air vent that sucks air into the unit, rather than blowing it out — then you’ll likely have an air filter in each one.    To check if an air filter needs to be replaced, hold it up to the light. If little or no light shines through, your filter is clogged. Dirty air filters impede airflow in your unit, decreasing its efficiency and making it less effective at filtering air. 

Check Thermostat Batteries

A faulty thermostat can cause a variety of HVAC issues. If you experience problems like a unit that won’t turn on or reach the desired temperature you’ve set, changing the thermostat batteries is a good place to start troubleshooting. 

Clean the Outdoor Condenser Unit

Your outdoor condenser unit can become clogged or damaged by falling leaves, twigs, nuts, seeds and other types of debris. If nearby bushes, trees and shrubs crowd the condenser unit, it can also impede airflow, making it harder for your unit to release the warm air removed from your home to the outdoors. This can lead to a less efficient unit, or in extreme cases, it can cause the unit to overheat.    Be sure to trim back nearby flora to allow for at least a 2-ft clearance around the unit. Carefully remove any twigs, leaves or branches that become stuck in the system’s metal fins, and use a butter knife to gently bend back any fins that have been bent out of shape. If the condenser unit is covered in dust or grime, be sure to turn the unit off completely before cleaning. Then, remove the access panel, typically located on top of the unit, and hose down the metal fins from the inside. Take care not to get inner components like the motor wet. 

Clean the Condensate Drain Line

As your unit cools your home, condensation collects on the coils in your indoor air handler unit, where it drips down and gets taken outside by a condensate drain line. Over time, this drain line can become clogged with debris, causing water to flow back into your unit’s overflow drain pan.    Homeowners can periodically clean out the condensate drain line to avoid blockages by using a wet/dry vac. This can be done either at the drain line’s access point, located in the indoor portion of the unit, or at the drain line’s exit point, which is often a white PVC pipe located near the outdoor condenser unit. To break up any existing clogs, homeowners can use a funnel to pour alternating amounts of baking soda and vinegar down the drain line (roughly 1 cup of each). Allow this solution to work for 15–30 minutes, then flush with warm water.     It’s important to note these maintenance tasks are meant to supplement professional HVAC tune-ups in between visits, rather than replace them. You’ll still want a qualified HVAC technician to perform a thorough cleaning and inspection twice a year.

Best HVAC Company in Midlothian, TX

Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Heating and Cooling offers reliable, trustworthy and affordable HVAC services in Midlothian, Cedar Hill and the surrounding metro Dallas areas. Our customers receive a 100% guarantee on our workmanship and we’re proud to offer flexible financing options. Give our team a call at (972) 885-6373 or contact us online today. We’re happy to provide information about HVAC Midlothian homeowners can trust.