Understanding how your home functions

While they may not be the most attractive features, your new home’s heating, ventilation, electrical and plumbing systems are essential to making your home a healthy and comfortable environment.

When you take possession of your new home, it’s important to learn how these systems work, how to use them properly and what maintenance they require so you can protect your investment and your new home warranty coverage. It’s your responsibility as a homeowner to maintain your home, including the systems that help it function.

Being informed and conducting regular and proper maintenance on your home will help ensure that your statutory warranty rights are protected.

Key home system terms to know:

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning)

  • This is an integrated system (including your furnace, air conditioner, duct work and vents) that heats, cools and filters air throughout your home. You control the heating and cooling of these systems by adjusting your thermostat.

HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilation)

  • This system is a type of mechanical ventilation that ensures delivery, distribution and circulation of fresh outdoor air throughout the house.
  • It consists of two ventilation ducts running next to one another and passing between the inside and the outside of a house. One carries cool, fresh air in; the other carries moist, stale air out.
  • The airstreams run through a device called a heat exchanger that allows the outgoing air to pass most of its heat to the incoming air without the two airstreams actually mixing together

GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)

  • A GFCI is a circuit breaker that reduces the risk of electric shock and accidental electrocution. This device shuts off an electric power circuitwhen it detects that current is flowing in a way it is not meant to, such as through water or a person. GFCIs may be found in a variety of locations in and around the home that are close to water sources such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, garages and outdoor locations like pools.

Get advice from your builder

Your Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI), which takes place before you take possession of your home, is your chance to learn what you need to know about these systems.

 At your PDI, you can ask your builder questions and learn about how your home functions. Your builder should show you how to operate your home’s systems and provide you with operating manuals and maintenance guides.

Since there are so many things to cover, the Homeowners section of our website has a number of resources to help you prepare for your PDI, including a PDI Checklist and a guide to Getting Ready for the PDI.

The PDI Checklist includes information to assist you in talking to your builder about your home’s systems.  For example, ask where the furnace filters can be found and determine the location of the emergency shut off switch. Review the operation of your heating and cooling system and take time to understand how the programmable thermostat functions.

You should also make sure that you understand how to achieve proper ventilation in order to avoid condensation problems. You may want to purchase a hygrometer, an inexpensive device that measures the humidity levels, and ask your builder to recommend the right humidity levels to prevent problems in your home.

Your builder can also give you advice on what you should be doing inside and outside your home during the various seasons of the year. Review our checklist of seasonal maintenance tips that will help you plan your work to maintain your home year-round.

At Tarion, we’re here to answer any questions you may have. You can contact us online or give us a call.