If you happened to catch our first article on 5 Common HVAC Myths, we hope you were able to learn a thing or two about how to better handle your home’s system. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of other HVAC myths in circulation that continue to mislead homeowners into hurting their system by trying to help it. So, to keep you informed and save you loads of trouble and money, we’ve put together a second list. Here are 5 More Common HVAC Myths that you should be wary of:
Myth 1: “Air filters only need changed once a year.”
The cleanliness of your air filters has a substantial impact on the function and efficiency of your home’s HVAC system. That said, it is all too common for homeowners to neglect their air filters to the point that this impact becomes negative and in some cases permanently damaging. Since we aren’t able to physically see the vast majority of pollutants in our air (or air at all for that matter), it’s easy to see how we may not fully register the sheer amount of work our filters have to do.
Luckily for anyone who has fallen for this myth, changing your air filters is an easy fix that could make a big difference in your system’s performance. A lot of variables factor into how quickly air filters get dirty and how often they need changed, including seasons, temperature and the amount of man-made air pollutants we add to the mix. Checking your filters on a weekly basis can help you to determine how long yours typically last. No matter what, you should be changing out your air filters at least once every 1-3 months.
Myth 2: “You should keep your outdoor AC unit covered during the winter months.”
The logic behind this next myth is easy to track. Winter weather, especially in the northeast, is fraught with extremes that include blistering cold temperatures, snow and ice – all of which you would think might impede the performance of your outdoor HVAC unit and make it harder to heat your home. This assumption leads many to think that covering their unit to shield it from such weather will be beneficial. In reality, the opposite is true.
Outdoor HVAC units are so named because they are built to operate outside and designed to withstand the elements. They are not, however, designed to operate while covered. So what you thought was protecting your unit may actually be hurting it and preventing it from working the way it’s supposed to. Instead of covering your unit, just clear out any debris that accumulates on or around it every so often.
Myth 3: “It doesn’t matter where your thermostat is located.”
A lot of people tend to think of thermostats as simply being remote controls for their home’s temperature and air flow. As a result of this assumption, many also believe the location of a thermostat is arbitrary and thus should be based solely on convenience and ease of access. On the contrary, the location of a thermostat is critical to its function, as thermostats are not simply remote controls but more importantly sensors. These sensors read the temperature, humidity and the overall air quality of the space in which they’re located and use this information to tell the rest of your system what to do. In other words, if your system as a whole is a body, your thermostat is the brain.
In order for your thermostat to get an accurate reading so the rest of the system will know what to do, it needs to be in a good location. Anything near entrances will experience fluctuations due to the excess of air being let out and in whenever doors are opened. Stay away from windows as well, as they are common leak spots and thus may be colder or warmer than most areas of the home. You also want to keep the thermostat out of direct sunlight as this could increase the temperature and cause it to get a high reading. If your thermostat is in any of these locations, you may want to consider having it moved. Since you’ll likely need to hire an HVAC tech to move your thermostat or install a new one, it’s best to ask for their professional opinion on where you should put it.
Myth 4: “You will save energy by closing vents and doors in unoccupied rooms.”
Besides the standard use of a thermostat, closing vents and doors in unused rooms is one of the most common ways homeowners try to manipulate the function of their home’s HVAC system. The idea is that blocking hot air from getting into unoccupied spaces will divert the air to open vents in occupied spaces and heat them faster with less energy, or so you’d think. In reality, however, this practice is futile, contradictory and wasteful.
Modern HVAC systems are designed to heat your whole home evenly based on its square footage. Closing certain vents but not others creates blockages in the system’s air flow, causing the system to work harder and use more energy in order to achieve even heating. Even if you’re convinced that this gets you warmer faster, the bottom line is that it is bad for your system and it will waste far more energy than it saves.
Myth 5: “Installing a new HVAC system will cost more than maintaining your current system.”
The last myth on this list is one of the most prevalent and expensive myths in all of HVAC, as it costs homeowners thousands upon thousands of dollars, year after year. Like all of these myths so far, the logic behind it is easy to understand but nevertheless ultimately flawed in its simplicity. When you think in short term costs, it is undeniably more expensive to have a whole new HVAC system installed than it is to pay another month of energy bills, even if they’re sky high thanks to your shoddy current system. However, these monthly bills add up, as do the increasingly frequent maintenance costs you’ll have to pay for the parts and labor needed to keep your old system running. On top of all these costs, you will eventually have to pay the same or more than you would have in the first place to install a new system after all once the current one inevitably crashes for good.
When you think in the long term, you will save infinitely more money by having a new system installed as opposed to the short term costs you can only avoid for so long. New systems are designed to last longer, run more efficiently and use less energy than older models. Thus, the money you save on monthly bills and repair costs alone will quickly start to add up with a newer system. Additionally, most HVAC companies (including ours) offer financing options to help fit your budget and ease the short term costs of having a new system installed.
That’s all the myths we’ve got for now, folks. Remember to avoid these common flubs at all costs – you, your home’s HVAC system and your wallet will all be better off for it. Additionally, if you happen to catch others falling for these myths, feel free to fill them in and share this article with anyone who remains skeptical. We hope you learned a thing or five, and if you haven’t already be sure to check out our previous article for more HVAC myths busted. As always, thanks for reading!