HVAC Myths Debunked

When it comes to HVAC products and systems there can be a mass of competing information out there, especially within a common internet search. Our technicians enter homes daily and answer questions on cost, or the correct use of various products, or even the expected life expectancy of various HVAC products. These are all very legitimate questions, and answers a homeowner should have on their various household HVAC products and appliances. However, the ease of a common internet search can also bring confusion, as the wealth of information on the internet can bring so many varying opinions and sources, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. As a result of this our technicians also have to debunk several common HVAC myths on a daily basis. In this blog we debunk several of the most common HVAC myths, and we hope that by answering these questions we provide a bit more clarity and explanation on the HVAC systems in your home, while also saving you time, stress and money in the process.

Myth#1: Air filters don’t need to be changed on a regular basis.

This is not true. Over time dirt, dust, and moisture will accumulate on your filters and block the passage of air. This will happen no matter how religiously clean you keep your house – you just can’t keep all of the dirt out. You filter is doing its job if it’s collecting more and more particles. However, the collecting of these particles (dirt, dust, and moisture) will limit its efficiency, meaning it’s time to change your filter out. The next question is how often you should change your filter. Nathan McGuire, quality control analyst for Airtron Heating & Air Conditioning in Indianapolis, says that homeowners should remember the saying “pay your mortgage, check your filter.” Meaning, every 30 days you should check your filter, and change it when it’s getting full.

Myth #2: The higher you set your thermostat, the quicker the furnace will heat up your house (Or, the lower you set you’re A/C, the quicker it will cool your home).

False. Furnaces and A/C’s deliver air at the same rate no matter how high or low the thermostat is set. Consider this analogy: when you’re on an elevator, and push the button for a floor, you’re going to get there at the same speed no matter how many times you push the button, right? Consider your thermostat the same way. Most home units have just one single fan speed – on. Because of this the temperature will typically adjust at the same constant rate, no matter how high or low you set it. So turning the system way up and down won’t make your home reach the desired level of comfort any quicker, as it will actually just make your system work longer and harder than it should, causing wear and tear and wasting energy and money in the process.

Myth #3: Closing air vents saves money.

It is common practice for some families to close the air vents in the rooms they’re not in, thinking it’s saving them money in the process. This is not true, as closing the air vents is just throwing the balance of your system off, which causes it to have to work harder. Even if you close your vents your air system will still push air to that closed vent, and that is air you’re paying for whether or not the air vent is open. Closing air vents to unused rooms can also potentially lead to more serious issues, such as leaks caused by the pressure of the built-up air in the ductwork.

Myth #4: Leaving a ceiling fan on will cool a room, even if you’re not there.

False. Easy way to answer this common myth is by remembering this: A/C’s cool rooms, ceiling fans cool people. So if there are no people in the room, then the fan is accomplishing nothing, except that it’s wasting money and energy. Ceiling fans work by generating a wind chill effect, circulating air around a room to cool you off, but they don’t actually lower the temperature in a room. However, they can save you in conjunction with your A/C, as running your ceiling fan with your A/C will allow you to turn the unit up a few degrees, saving you money in the process. When you leave a room though you should treat your ceiling fan as you would a light fixture and turn it off, as it will not be cooling the room and will just be costing you money if no one is in the room.

Myth #5: Routine maintenance is not necessary.

This is the most ridiculous myth of all. Your HVAC units ABSOLUTELY need regular maintenance. The old phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” should never apply to your HVAC units. You should treat your HVAC units as you would a car – you probably take your car into the shop multiple times a year to get a regular tune-up (oil changed, tires checked, etc.). This keeps your car running smoothly, and allows your car to run efficiently for longer, extending the lifespan. You HVAC units need the same type of care. Providing regular maintenance for your units will help you potentially avoid some very costly repairs down the road. In addition to this myth, it is also a myth that regular maintenance contracts are just a scam for service companies to make money. A good preventative maintenance contract will provide for scheduled inspections to ensure peak performance and potentially allow your unit to last past its expected life span. Seasoned professionals will thoroughly inspect your unit yearly, ensuring all facets of the unit are running properly. This will allow them to identify all issues early, potentially saving you on a costlier repair or even a total replacement.