Air conditioning is practically a must for those living in warm climates or summer time in your area, yet there seems to be a lot that people don't know about their HVAC systems. That's perfectly understandable since air conditioning can be complex, but there are plenty of air conditioning misconceptions that simply will not go away. These misconceptions raise utility bills, shorten the lifespan of air conditioners and drive air conditioning services insane with unnecessary service calls. If you want your air conditioner to work efficiently and last for years, you need to first throw out certain ideas that you may have about your AC.
Misconception #1: Turning Down Your Thermostat Will Cool Your Home Faster
This is perhaps the most common misconception that people have about central air. They want so badly to cool down their homes on a hot day that they try to speed up the process by turning their thermostats way down. This will obviously give you a cooler temperature in the end, but it won't cause your air conditioner to work any faster. Whether you set your thermostat to 70 degrees or 50 degrees, your air conditioner will deliver cool air at the same rate. If you want your home to be around 70 degrees, just set your thermostat at that temperature and be patient.
Misconception #2: Keeping Your Air Conditioner On a Higher Setting When You're Not Home is More Efficient
Another common misconception about air conditioning is that it's more efficient to leave the air conditioning on at all times so it doesn't have to work as hard to cool a home on a hot day. What people don't realize is that the air conditioner's compressor has to constantly cycle on and off to maintain a constant temperature. This uses a lot of electricity, especially when the thermostat is set at a very low temperature.
Instead of turning your thermostat way down so you come home to a cool house, set it to 85 degrees when you're away from home for an extended period of time in the summer. Not only is this a very energy-efficient setting, but it will be easier to lower the temperature to something more comfortable once you get home. In the winter, keep your thermostat set to 55 degrees when you're away from home.
Misconception #3: A Ceiling Fan Will Keep a Room Cool
A ceiling fan is a great thing to have in a room of you want to feel cooler, but all it does is help circulate the air throughout the space. This will keep you feeling cool, but it doesn't actually cool the room itself. This means that keeping a ceiling fan on all the time even when nobody is in the room only wastes electricity. Ceiling fans in empty rooms should be turned off.
Misconception #4: Opening All the Vents and Interior Doors in a House Will Make the Air Conditioning Work More Efficiently
It's understandable why people think opening all vents and interior doors will help circulate cold air throughout a house, but the truth is that it only forces your air conditioner to work harder. Closing off parts of a house that aren't being used means that there is less space that needs to be cooled, which will help your air conditioner work more efficiently. You shouldn't close off too many vents, however. This can cause the coils in your central unit to freeze or even damage your home's duct work.
Misconception #5: Filters Don't Need to be Changed Very Often
Some people think that changing the filters on their air conditioning system once a month is a waste of time and money. Depending on factors such as the size of your home, the number of people living there and whether or not you have pets, you may not have to change your filter that often. However, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't at least be checking it regularly. A clogged air filter restricts airflow and reduces your air conditioner's efficiency, so check it regularly and change it out as needed.
Misconception #6: An Air Conditioner Can Go Over A Year Without Maintenance
Air conditioners are fairly self-sufficient, but no machine will work perfectly without some kind of maintenance. A good HVAC contractor should be called on to perform a routine inspection at least once a year even if your air conditioner seems to be working fine. These maintenance calls can keep your air conditioner working smoothly for years, so make sure they are done in the spring before the main cooling season begins.
An air conditioner can feel like a godsend during a hot summer, and it will last for years if you take good care of it. Keep these tips in mind, and don't be afraid to ask for advice from a licensed AC contractor if you have any questions.