Common Air Conditioning Myths

So I’ve been slowly putting together a list of topics to write about in our blog, and I’ve noticed there are quite a few misconceptions or “myths” about central air conditioning. Myths of course are like rumors, they tend to spread like wildfire and many people seem to always believe what they hear without actually doing the research. So based on some recent conversations and experiences I would like to confront some of these misconceptions and shine a little truth on the situations.

Myth: Leaving your air conditioner on all day is more energy efficient than raising the temperature up and down.

Truth: Anytime your A/C system is running it is consuming electricity, and of course if something is consuming electricity, you are paying for it. Programmable and Learning thermostats are becoming widely popular today because they help automate the process of SAVING you energy and money. To go into this subject a little deeper, “what should I program your thermostat to?” is a very common question. Based on research, I always recommend a 4 degree difference in temperature. So for example, say your like me and your comfortable temperature in your home is 73 degrees. I have my thermostat programmed to set the temperature at 77 degrees while I’m away. Then about an hour before my scheduled time to be home it will automatically adjust the temperature back to my comfort level. The reason I say 4 degrees is because any higher than that and the energy consumption to meet the cooling demand to reach back to your comfort level may be greater than the cost to just leave the system at the same 73 degrees for the day. Also, on a side note, you do not want to turn your system completely off, doing so can create a humidity buildup inside your home which can lead to mold or mildew growth.

Myth: The lower you set your temperature on your thermostat, the faster your home will cool down.

Truth: Sounds logical, right? This statement actually couldn’t be any further from the truth, Air conditioner systems are designed to put out the same amount of conditioned air regardless of the setting on the thermostat. A healthy a/c system will achieve a temperature difference of between 15-20 degrees. That temperature difference is based on the airflow entering into your air handler (close to where your change your filter) and the air once it has passed the evaporator coil (where it exits your ductwork).

Myth: Installing a larger air conditioner will cool my home better.

Truth: This is a VERY POPULAR myth, and probably the worst! There are SO many reason to make sure your air conditioner is properly sized for your home. An oversized air conditioner greatly reduces comfort inside your home, is a lot more wear and tear on your equipment leading to more breakdowns and costly repairs and finally can lead to damage to other parts of your home. Because your air conditioner is not only cooling the air in your home but is also removing humidity from the air, your system needs to run longer for this entire process to complete properly. A properly sized system is designed to run to ensure comfort inside your home. An oversized system will cycle on and off many more times over the life of the system, which can lead to temperature spikes inside your home (ever feel hot, then cold, then hot?). And because of the constant or more frequent start ups and shut downs, this puts a lot more strain on the system components.

Myth: Ceiling fans help your air conditioner cool your home.

Truth: FALSE! Fans cool people, not rooms. Fans are designed to circulate air inside that particular area, as the air is blowing past your skin, it feels cooler, but is not actually cooling anything down, the air temperature remains the same. Leaving a fan on in a room when unoccupied is wasted electricity and wasted money.

Myth: Air filters should be changed every 90 days (because that’s what it says on the package, right?)

Truth: That 90 days on the package is based on the home environment being unrealistically clean. Do you have pets, children or any occupants inside the home. What quality filter are you using? Are there other environmental factors, such as construction in or near the home, does anyone smoke inside the home, do you do a lot of cooking in your home? Because every home is different, the filter change frequency can vary widely. I always recommend you at least CHECK your filter every 30 days and change as needed.

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