Whether you’re a Lowcountry native moving into a new home or one of the hundreds of new residents moving to Charleston each month, you probably have a handful of items on your moving-in to-do list.
Everything from moving your household items out of a portable storage unit, to arranging a move-in cleaning service to having a home security system installed, we definitely understand that your hands will be full while you’re moving in.
One important thing that many new homeowners may overlook is doing a proper examination of your new home’s heating and air conditioning system.
You don’t have to get into the nitty-gritty of how your air conditioning system works; all you need to do to help you understand the current state of your HVAC system is to cover the 5 key points below and you can be sure you’ll be comfortable in your new home for years to come.
Just like any other piece of machinery you use frequently, like your car or lawnmower, your heating and air conditioner depends on several moving parts and electrical components to give you the cool, humid-free environment you need. And just like your car and lawnmower, your HVAC system has a lifespan associated with it.
Most systems generally last up to 10-15 years or so, depending the make and model. Many homeowners opt for heating or ac replacement when their system gets to this age as advances with HVAC products allow them to get better efficiency (and lower electrical bills) with more modern units.
As mentioned above, an easy way to keep your electrical bills down each month in your new home is by making sure your hvac system is operating at high efficiency. The metric or number you’re going to need to find out is your system’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER rating.
The SEER rating is basically the amount of cooling output your system creates during an amount of time (like the summer months) divided by the amount of electrical input it needed to use over that same amount of time.
Essentially the higher the SEER rating, the less energy your system needs to use to provide the cooling output you need during the hot months. This is why more efficient systems can drive down electric bills; you get the same output for less energy.
Overall system efficiency depends on a bit more than just this efficiency rating (see Tips 3 & 4 below), but it certainly begins with having a system with a high SEER rating.
If you’re not sure what the SEER rating of your system is, you can always contact an hvac company in Charleston to help you track that down; it could end up saving you hundreds in the long run with a switch to a more efficient system.
Probably one of the easiest tasks for a new homeowner to ensure not only good air quality, but also assist with your system’s efficiency is by regularly changing out your the air filters in your home.
When these begin to clog up with dust and other debris, your system has to work harder to push air through it. The harder it has to work to maintain a temperature, the more energy it must use and that means lower efficiency an you paying more to maintain your home’s comfort.
Most homeowners change air filters between 1 to 3 months, depending on the air filter used.
This tip is a bit tricky. Most of a home’s ductwork is basically impossible to look at as it’s hidden between walls and floors of your home, but there are other signs that you can look for to tell if your ductwork is damaged. A few of these are if your notice uneven temperatures throughout your home or experience unusually high electrical bills.
Leaky ductwork means you’re cooling (or heating) areas of your home that definitely don’t need it, like in-between walls and ceilings/floors.
Probably one of the smartest & most responsible things you can do as a new homeowner is signing up for an annual maintenance plan for your HVAC system with a local HVAC company. There are numerous ways a maintenance plan can save you money, with the biggest one being the ability to catch & repair minor hvac system issues before they become major issues with each annual inspection.
Maintenance plans are completely affordable (most range between $100 and $200), and allow you to know your system is not only working properly, but also extends the lifetime of your unit.
If you’re reading this blog and you’re a new homeowner in Charleston, first of all, congratulations! Also, we hope you found this article helpful as you start this new chapter in your life. As always, should you need help with any of the above tips, don’t hesitate to contact us; we’ll be glad to help.