Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one of your home’s most complex, vital and least understood pieces of equipment. Read on for answers to some of the questions most often asked by homeowners.

Should I replace my HVAC system?

This is the most common question people have, since it can be tough to know when it's time to purchase a new one. There are three issues to consider when answering this question:

  • First, consider how well your system has been working and how old it is. According to Energy Star, if your system is more than 10-15 years old you may want to consider a replacement. Newer models are more efficient and can save you up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.
  • If the temperature in your home varies from room to room and it’s difficult to keep consistent temperatures, it may be a sign your system is inefficient and you may want to consider replacement.
  • Is your HVAC system noisy? If you've been dealing with noise from this equipment for years, you may think that’s normal. It isn’t: Your HVAC system should provide you with a comfortable home with minimal noise. New systems are quieter than ever, and those that make excessive noise may be broken.

How can I tell if I have an energy-efficient system?

To gauge your system’s efficiency, you need to check its seasonal energy efficiency (SEER) ratio. The higher the SEER number, the more efficient your system is. The current federal minimum is 13.

What's the best way to choose a system?

Once you've decided that you need a new system and settled on the SEER rating you're looking for, you should find a contractor you can trust. A technician can offer important input on the type of system you need based on factors like the size of your home. This is a decision you shouldn't make on your own; HVAC systems are an expensive and important part of your home, and you should do your research and consult a professional before purchasing one.

What maintenance does my HVAC system need?

As a homeowner, there's only so much maintenance you should do yourself -- the rest should be left up to a professional. You should replace your disposable filters or clean washable ones once a month or per your manufacturer’s recommendations. You can also look at your ducts periodically to see if they're dirty, and clean them if needed. You should call a professional HVAC technician once a year for all other maintenance.

There are many new thermostats out there. What kind do I need?

If you're concerned about energy costs and you want to be as energy-efficient as possible, purchase a programmable thermostat. You can set it to keep your home at a comfortable temperature while you and your family are present, and at a money-saving temperature when you're away. According to Energy Star, proper use of pre-programmed settings can save you about $180 annually in energy costs.

Need some professional guidance?

Your local One Hour Air Conditioning and Heating® technicians are always here to help with advice and answers to your heating and cooling questions. Routine maintenance of your furnace and air conditioner can extend your system's life and keep it performing at optimal efficiency.

Contact us for more information and tips on caring for your equipment.