There are plenty of commonly-held beliefs about air conditioning and heating systems that simply aren’t true – and can even be harmful to your system over time. Here are a few of the most common ones:
The Larger the HVAC System, the Better
When purchasing an upgraded heating and cooling system, lots of homeowners gravitate toward the largest option under the impression that bigger is better. Additionally, many homes are set up with HVAC systems that are bigger than necessary, leading people to think a larger system is necessary. But that’s simply not true.
In fact, oversized systems cost more money to operate. And they tend to have a shorter lifespan overall because they have to work harder than is necessary to heat or cool a home. This puts stress on the system and leads to more frequent and more expensive repairs over time.
Your HVAC Only Heats and Cools Your Home
HVAC systems do more than just heat and cool your home. They also control humidity levels. This is part of the reason why a bigger HVAC system isn’t necessarily better. Oversized systems tend to run in short heating and cooling cycles, which doesn’t allow enough time to dehumidify the air. This can result in a muggy, humid home – especially in wetter geographic locations or during the cool seasons.
Routine Maintenance is Optional
Just like with any major piece of machinery in your life, your HVAC needs an annual check-up. It’s tempting to skip routine maintenance to save some cash, but by foregoing ongoing maintenance, you’re missing out on the chance for a technician to find small problems before they escalate. That means you might have to pay for more expensive repairs down the road. That’s a lot harder to plan and budget for than annual check-ups and minor repairs along the way.
Also, some HVAC warranties require annual maintenance as part of their terms of coverage. If you skip annual maintenance, you’re missing out on the valuable warranty.
Thermostat Location Doesn’t Matter
Your thermostat is more than just your HVAC’s control panel. It’s also the system’s brain. The thermostat is responsible for telling the cooling and heating when to turn on and shut off. So if the thermostat is in an unseasonably warm or cool part of the house, that can lead to misread temperatures and finicky behavior.
If you can, position your thermostat away from direct sunlight, air vents, the kitchen, and any other locations that can give a false temperature reading.
Changing Your Air Filters Annually is Adequate
Your air filters are the single biggest factor in terms of your home’s air quality. They filter out dirt, dust, contaminants, debris, and anything else that can linger in the air. Over time, that accumulated debris clogs the system, which can restrict airflow and lead to dirty air.
In general, people should clean and replace their air filters at least every 6 months. But you may want to do it more often, depending on your specific system – just ask your air conditioning and heating provider if you’re not sure. Some systems and situations call for as often as 6 weeks.
You might need to upgrade your filters or change them more often if you:
- Burn candles often
- Notice musty smells in your home
- Have pets
- Have allergies or asthma
Knowing how to take care of your home’s HVAC system will lead to a healthier, more functional home.