Top 7 Myths About HVAC Products & Services
There are many common HVAC myths floating around, providing homeowners with misinformation about buying heating and cooling systems, maintenance for heating and air conditioning units, changing air filters, and using less energy to lower energy bills. Unfortunately, following the advice of these myths can have major consequences – you spend more money on a new unit, you damage your existing furnace and air conditioner, and you make the system less energy efficient trying to lower energy consumption the wrong ways.
HVAC myths have got to go, as they cause a lot of problems for homeowners and HVAC systems alike. Williams Comfort Air shares the truths behind common misinformation – consider these HVAC myths busted! If you ever receive advice that doesn’t sound like a good idea, you can always call our professional heating and cooling team to receive the truth and tips that will actually benefit your home comfort.
1. Your filter only needs to be changed once per year
Not all air filters are created equally, and even if they were, every house is different. While there are some air filters that only need to be changed around once per year, these are usually thick, high energy efficiency filters used in specialized air cleaning equipment that is part of your HVAC system, not the air filter that keeps your furnace or air conditioner clean.
Air filters should be replaced anywhere from every month to every 9 to 12 months. Filter thickness and efficiency affect filter service life, but so does the usage of your HVAC equipment and specifics of your indoor air. Homes with allergy sufferers or those with indoor pets or smokers probably need to change the filter more frequently that homes without.
Don’t leave your filter in place for a full year – once that filter fills with particles, it will block airflow and stress your system, making it work harder which causes breakdowns and wasting energy. Instead, check the filter each month and replace it when you see that its surface is full.
2. The biggest, most expensive system is always the best choice
The best choice for heating and air conditioning equipment is really dependent on the home and household. While the most expensive unit is often the most energy efficient one with the most user-friendly features, it’s likely also a high-capacity unit which will be too big for many Central Indiana homes.
Sticking to a budget is certainly important for homeowners. Don’t waste money buying the most expensive unit available – instead, buy the best unit with a cost within your price range.
- Sizing is the most important factor for energy efficient operation.
- Energy efficiency rating impacts operating costs over the life of the unit – the higher efficiency rating you can afford, the better.
- Choosing equipment types that work with a home’s existing infrastructure like ducts can keep the cost of installation within your budget. If your duct system is in good shape, it may make more sense to choose a forced air furnace or air conditioner instead of installing ductless units throughout the house.
3. HVAC systems don’t need maintenance unless something breaks
This myth is a flat out lie that can severely damage your HVAC system if you follow it. Maintenance for HVAC systems is a service that should be performed regularly – once per year for your AC unit and once per year for heating systems. Maintenance limits wear and tear damage so your HVAC systems operate with better performance and efficiency, as well as fewer breakdowns that need repair. It keeps your unit in service longer as well, so you aren’t forking over the cost of a new system sooner than you expect.
Following this HVAC myth could also void your manufacturer’s warranty. HVAC system manufacturer’s warranties almost always stipulate that a unit must be maintained by a professional each year to uphold your warranty coverage. Skipping maintenance until something breaks could greatly increase the cost of that breakdown if you’re left with no warranty to cover repairs.
4. It’s easy to find and seal home air leaks on your own
It may not seem too hard to spot cracks in the walls or feel for air coming in around leaky door jambs and windows, but the air leaks you should be most concerned about are the ones you’ll rarely notice. The duct system is largely inaccessible in most homes, and is the source of major air leaks. If you can’t get into the ceiling or crawlspace to examine every inch of duct throughout the house, you won’t be able to find the leaks that cause the most energy loss.
Even when ducts are accessible, homeowners don’t always know the right way to seal duct leaks. Believe it or not, duct tape isn’t for your ducts – it’s one of those common HVAC myths that has been going around for decades! If you seal air leaks with duct tape, the tape degrades and falls off, opening the leak again over time. Professional duct sealing services access every inch of duct and seal leaky spots from the inside out. This service can boost energy efficiency as much as 20 to 30 percent in the average house, right after it’s complete!
5. Your home is always heated and cooled to the temperature set on your thermostat
Just because your thermostat says the indoor air is a certain temperature doesn’t mean it is accurate. A thermostat can fail to read the temperature properly due to faulty sensors, dirt and dust on contacts, of exposure to direct sunlight and heat sources. When thermostat temperature readings are not correct, the thermostat will stop your heating and cooling units before your home actually reaches your preferred temperature and you won’t feel as comfortable.
If you don’t feel like the air is at the temperature your thermostat displays, don’t worry – it doesn’t mean that you are crazy. The thermostat may be in need of calibration service so it can accurately read temperatures once more. Or, thermostat replacement could be needed.
6. Setting the thermostat temperature extremely high or low will heat or cool your home faster
It’s tempting to set the thermostat temperature several degrees higher or lower than normal to heat or cool the room faster. It’s one of the common HVAC myths that doing so will have any effect on the speed of heating or cooling. The truth is, all that will happen is you will overwork your system, waste energy and money, and probably forget you set the temperature so high or low in the first place, leading to discomfort.
Keep the thermostat temperature at its normal settings to avoid energy waste and HVAC system damage. If you’re concerned about coming home to a room that is too hot or cold, consider installing a smart or Wi-Fi thermostat that you can adjust remotely or that has geofencing capabilities. This way, you can adjust the temperature ahead of your arrival or the thermostat will do so itself so your living room is perfectly comfortable when you return to the house.
7. Closing vents in empty rooms saves energy
Closing vents to save energy is one of the HVAC myths that continues because it seems to make sense at face value. The truth is, you shouldn’t close vents to block heating or cooling from entering an unused room. If it seems wasteful to send hot or cooled air into an unused room, there’s an important reason why you should do so – because your system was designed to heat and cool every room.
When you remove access to a room by closing vents, conditioned air doesn’t travel through the ducts and home as intended. A closed vent blocks airflow, forcing this air to stay trapped in the ducts. This trapped air increases pressure which can cause duct leaks. It could also lead to system overheating, which damages your equipment. Believe it or not, it’s actually much more energy efficient to leave all vents open, even if a room stays unoccupied.
Learn the Truth to HVAC Myths
If you believe an HVAC myth, the results of using this bad advice could be very costly in your home. Instead, seek heating and cooling advice from a trusted professional. Williams Comfort Air is here to help you maximize comfort and energy saving operation with your heating and air conditioning unit throughout the spring, summer, winter, and fall. Contact us to schedule the HVAC services your unit needs to perform properly all year long!