Four Air Conditioning Myths and Facts

The air conditioner as we know is not new technology. It was first patented in the 1900s and has been growing and evolving since then. Despite this, there are far too many myths floating around about your home’s HVAC. Here are four common air conditioning myths and facts. Myth #1: My Air Conditioner Can Take Any Heat Load There are some Santa Rosa homeowners who just shut their house during the summer. Especially during peak summer temperatures. There are a few things wrong with this. First, humans need fresh air. And so does your HVAC machine. The second issue is radiant heat. You can compare this to your car on a hot day. Even with the doors shut, the interior of the car gets significantly hotter than the outside temperature. Some days it can be 95° outside, meaning your home, even with walls and sun protection, can reach up to 88°. No one wants to come home to a house that’s 88°. For most, the first logical step would be to turn on the air conditioner and turn the temperature way down. This is actually a bad idea. Fact: Instantly setting your AC to the lowest it can go to combat hot home does more damage than good. It forces your AC to work overtime, and it actually doesn’t cool the house any faster. You can get around this by setting your thermostat to a higher temperature when you leave the house and lowering it a bit when you get back. We recommend setting it to 80° when you leave and then dropping that to 75° when you get back. A smart thermostat takes the guesswork out of this game. Simply set the thermostat at 80° when you leave the house. Then on the drive back change the setting to 75°, you’ll come home to a nice, cool house. Myth #2: A Lower Number on the Thermostat Means Cooler Air We touched on this above, but we’ll get into it more here. No matter what you’re told, setting a lower temperature on the thermostat will not cool you home quicker.
Fact: Your central AC only cools air 15° to 20° at a time. This can sound fast but think about that treated air mixing with your ambient air, and the whole thing takes a little time. For example, let’s say the air inside your home is 80°. You come home, turn on the AC, and it begins to cycle. The HVAC system pulls in some air, treats to be 15°-20° cooler, then disperses that air back into your home. Though that cool air is in your home, it’s still mixing with the 80° ambient air. Meaning, it’s going to take a bit to cool your home. No matter the setting on your thermostat. Myth: I Don’t Need to Change the Air Filter The number of times we’ve gone into a home only to find an overfull air filter is way too many. Hands down, one of the best things you can do for your HVAC system, and your health, is to regularly check and change the air filter. The air filter is a small piece of equipment with two very big jobs. First, it removes dust and dander from the inside of your furnace. When too much dust settles in places like the burners or the condensate drain pan, it can lead to backups and part failures. The air filter’s second job is keeping your home free of indoor air contaminates. Most filters can catch, dust, dander, and larger allergens, like pollen. Stronger air filters can even catch microbial spores and virus particles. Fact: Homeowners who let their air filter get too full face a litany of HVAC problems. A few of them are decreased indoor air quality, reduced energy efficiency, reduced air flower, larger utility bills, and even premature system failure. Yikes. You can save yourself a monumental headache by regularly checking your air filter and changing it at least twice per year. Once in the spring before AC season and once in fall the before furnace season. Can’t access your furnace? Just ask an HVAC tech to do it for your during a routine tune-up. Myth #4: The AC System is an Open System We’ve had more than a few people ask us to top off their refrigerant. What they don’ know is that their AC unit runs on a closed system. Meaning no freon should be getting in or out.
Fact: Unfortunately, the fact is that we live in an imperfect world. Even with a perfect installation and the best homeowner care, a refrigerant line can still be damaged. Refrigerant only needs to be topped off or replaced when there is a break in the line. Simply ask an HVAC tech if everything looks ok during your next routine checkup.