Busted: The Truth Behind 5 HVAC Myths

Posted on: October 16, 2015

Your heating and cooling system is an essential component of your Raleigh home that helps ensure comfort throughout the year. While you should rely on a professional for more complex repairs, it’s still important to understand the basics of how it works. Relying on inaccurate myths could result in some costly mistakes and even damage your system.

Myth 1: Fans Lower the Temperature in Your Home

It’s important to understand both the truth and the myth in this statement, because both will help you save money on your utility bill. Fans do not actually lower the temperature in your home. You won’t see any difference on the thermostat when the fan is off rather than on.

However, fans are not completely ineffective for cooling off your home because they do make the room seem cooler. The fan does this by producing a wind chill effect, similar to what your meteorologist warns you about during a harsh winter. If you’re present in the room, turning on a fan will make it feel cooler so you can stay comfortable even when your home is set to a higher temperature. Do turn the fan off when you leave, though, so you don’t use the extra electricity. Fans are only effective when there’s someone in the room to enjoy them.

Myth 2: Setting the Thermostat to an Extreme Temperature Heats and Cools Faster

Your HVAC system heats and cools your home at the same speed regardless of how high or low it’s set. You won’t reach your target temperature any faster by cranking the air conditioner down to 60 when you’re desperate to get it to 70. Set the thermostat appropriately, or you may forget to readjust and risk straining on your system.

Myth 3: Closing Air Vents in Unused Rooms Increases Efficiency

This seems like a logical proposition. If you close the vents in unused parts of the house, you’ll prevent air from blowing into those areas, freeing up more heating and cooling for the rest of the house, right? Wrong! Closing the vents will actually cause an imbalance in the air pressure in your home. The room will suck in air through the door, windows, cracks, or anywhere else it can get it. This actually puts added strain on your system and reduces energy efficiency.

If you want to isolate a portion of your house from your heating and cooling system, you can have a professional install a zoned system that will do the job correctly and increase efficiency the way you hoped. You can also move to a ductless system with units located in individual rooms so you can turn them on and off as needed.

Myth 4: A Bigger Air Conditioner is Better for Powerful Cooling

Bigger isn’t always better, and this is particularly true when you’re talking about air conditioners. Up to a certain point, a larger system will increase your efficiency, but if you exceed that point, your system’s efficiency will actually decrease. A system that’s too large will cycle on and off more frequently, using excessive energy. It’s important to have a professional assess your home’s needs and help you select a system with the appropriate heating and cooling loads.

Myth 5: Changing the Air Filter is an Annual Maintenance Task

While you should certainly schedule annual tune-ups for your heating and cooling systems, this visit is not intended to serve as the only time you get your filter replaced. You should replace the filter in your HVAC system at least once every two months or as often as once a month, depending on the amount of dust, pollen, and pet dander in your home. Keep a stock of clean filters on hand and tackle this DIY task frequently.

If you have questions about the best way to operate your HVAC system, contact Air Experts at (919) 887-2132. We can help you address problem areas, schedule your regular maintenance visits, or investigate energy-efficient upgrades. Our experienced technicians will help you cut through the myths and get to the truth of the matter so you can achieve affordable and efficient home comfort.

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