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How to Cool Your Home Effectively | AC Myths & Facts

April 30th, 2019

Summer conjures up thoughts of pools and barbecues, but also searing memories of sweat and sunburn. Luckily, if you’re like the 87% of U.S. households with air conditioning, you can create your own artificial arctic paradise indoors.

When the temperatures start to creep up, learn how to keep your home cool and comfortable without making any of these common mistakes. For some reason, these cooling myths just continue to circulate.

Top 5 Air Conditioning Myths and Facts

Your central air conditioner uses a system of supply and return ducts to create wintry air for your home. If you listen to everybody’s advice, you’ll end up falling for tricks that lead to major inefficiencies and potential damage.

AC MYTH #1: Lowering the thermostat temperature will help cool your home faster.

This is a commonly held belief that has no grounding in reality. Believe it or not, your HVAC system delivers the same amount of hot or cold air at a constant rate, regardless of how low or high the temperature is. The temperature setting simply tells the thermostat when to turn off after it has reached the desired temperature.

Lowering your thermostat to cool your home faster means that your air conditioner is just running longer. And if you don’t remember to turn it back up again, you could wind up with some pretty high energy bills.

Keep it simple and set the thermostat to your desired temperature. It will reach the ideal temperature at the same time as if you set it to a much lower temperature.

AC MYTH #2: Leavings fans on will help cool the room.

Fans actually do not lower the temperature, they simply make you feel cooler because of the “wind chill” effect. In fact, the fan’s motor actually adds a small amount of heat to the room.

If you are not in the room with the fan, you are simply wasting energy by leaving it on. If you are in the room, however, “a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort” (energy.gov). Those are some significant savings!

Luckily fans cost very little to run, but still, don’t fall for the myth that they help cool your home. Fans cool people, not rooms. Remember to turn fans off when you leave the room. When you are enjoying the cooling effect of a fan, turn the thermostat up a few degrees without any loss of comfort.

Learn more alternative ways to cool your home.

AC MYTH #3: A bigger air conditioning unit delivers better results.

If you are thinking about replacing your air conditioning unit, you may have run into the myth that a larger unit will create a more comfortable home. This just is not true.

There are many factors that go into sizing a heat pump. It is important that you hire a trusted HVAC contractor to do the job. They will measure your home and do a thorough inspection of your existing system to determine the right-sized AC unit.

Sadly, about half of all new HVAC systems are improperly installed, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Learn how to choose the right HVAC contractor for the job and what to know before buying a new HVAC system.

AC MYTH #4: You only need to change the air filter a couple times a year and only schedule professional maintenance when you suspect a problem.

An HVAC fool might tell you that there is no need for regular air filter replacements or maintenance appointments. But the experts will tell you that changing your air filter is the best way to save energy and maintain your HVAC system.

The air filter helps capture pet dander, dust, pollen, and other airborne contaminants from entering your evaporator coils, duct system, and lungs. Set calendar reminders to check the filter every 30 days and replace it no later than every 90 days.

A clogged air filter will impede airflow and cause the system to run longer and harder. By replacing dirty filters with clean ones, you are improving the indoor air quality at the time as you are making sure the system is getting proper airflow.

Similarly, annual HVAC maintenance (heating tune-up in the fall, cooling tune-up in the spring) helps keep your system running at peak performance and maintains any manufacturer warranties that you have. If you neglect air filter replacements or regularly scheduled tune-ups, you will shorten the lifespan of your unit, increase the risk of breakdowns, compromise indoor air quality, and increase energy costs.

Sign up for a home maintenance plan with your local HVAC company to make sure you never forget this important maintenance task.

AC MYTH #5: Closing vents in unused rooms will help save money and energy.

This common AC myth makes some logical sense, but it actually causes more problems than it solves. In fact, it will probably cause your home’s entire cooling system to become unbalanced. Several complications can arise, including duct leakage from excess pressure, mold and mildew from a lack of airflow, and increased energy use.

We recommend leaving all vents open to allow for the cool air to circulate properly. If your central air conditioning was properly installed, it was specifically sized for the amount of rooms in your home. If you close vents and registers, your HVAC system doesn’t know that and pushes the same amount of air regardless.

Learn more about why closing HVAC vents is a bad idea.

More air conditioning mistakes:

Don’t make these common cooling mistakes! Instead, follow your professional HVAC technician and manufacturer’s recommendations for maintaining a safe, efficient air conditioning system.

If your air conditioner is on its way out, you can save about 20-50% on energy costs by switching to a high-efficiency AC unit. Learn more tips for keeping air conditioning costs down and preparing your home for cooling season.

If you ever suspect an HVAC trick is being played on you, contact Service Champions for a second opinion.

Service Champions is known for trustworthy, on-time heating and air conditioning service throughout the East Bay, South Bay, and Sacramento areas.

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