5 AC Myths That Can Cost You

Certain home air conditioning myths can cost big money in terms of reduced efficiency, poor cooling, and maintenance issues. Knowing the myths can help you avoid a costly mistake.

1. Cranking Down the Thermostat Cools More Quickly

Walking into a hot house can be miserable, but turning the thermostat down all the way won't cool the house more quickly. All it does is increase the chances that it will be forgotten and left at the lower temperature for a long time, thus leading to an over-cooled house and increased energy usage bill. A better idea is to install a programmable thermostat so you can simply set it at the optimum temperature once you walk through the door and not have to worry about it.

2. Bigger AC Units Cool Houses Better Than Small Units

If you are installing a new unit, it may be tempting to put in the biggest AC unit that you can find. This may end up backfiring, though. AC systems are sized to the square footage and layout of a home. An overly large unit will only use too much electricity and it won't cool the home efficiently. It's a better idea to work with your HVAC service technician to choose a unit properly sized to your home. 

3. There's No Need to Schedule Annual Maintenance

It's easy to forget about annual maintenance if your unit seems to be working well. Unfortunately, it won't keep working properly if it isn't serviced regularly. Dirty filters, poorly lubricated blower motors, and debris in the system can lead to breakdowns, which can leave you hot and sweaty in the middle of the cooling season. Your unit should typically be inspected and serviced at least once a year. 

4. Vents In Unused Rooms Should Be Closed

A common myth is that air vents should be closed in rooms that aren't in use, like guest bedrooms. However, AC units are a balanced appliance, which depends upon certain air flow patterns and pressurization throughout the system. Closing vents and returns can reduce cooling in the home while also leading to increased energy costs. Vents should be left open to make sure that the AC unit is working as efficiently as possible. 

5. Everyone Should Use HEPA Filters 

HEPA filters are touted as a good option because they filter out more pollutants and allergens from the air compared to standard AC filters. Before putting them into your AC unit, though, check the owner's manual. It will list the maximum rated filter that the air conditioner can handle. Using an overly strong filter may restrict air flow into a unit if it isn't the recommended filter type. 

Reach out to an HVAC contractor if you have further questions.