The Top 7 HVAC Myths You Should Stop Following

Believe it or not, there’s probably some bad HVAC advice you’re following at home right now. There are tons of common HVAC myths that homeowners believe and use to save money and keep their homes comfortable, but all these myths are doing is causing problems. From advice about air filters to buying a new furnace or air conditioner, not everything you hear or read is the truth.

Find out what advice is HVAC myth and what you should actually do instead. Jarboe’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing puts an end to misinformation with these HVAC myths busted! Before you try something that sounds like a good idea, it is best to check with a professional to learn if that “tip” will actually harm your heating and cooling system.

1. Only Change Your Filter Once a Year

How often air filters need to be changed depends on the type of filter you have and how quickly it becomes filled. Most filters need to be changed far more often than once per year! Typically, the only filters that last a year are high-efficiency filters that are several inches thick and are used in media air cleaning equipment. This is not the standard filter used in your furnace or air handler.

Check the air filter manufacturer’s instructions for how often to replace your filter and use them as a guideline. Check the air filter once per month to assess its condition. It’s often necessary to change the filter more frequently during periods where your heating and cooling system runs more often or if family members are sensitive to certain allergens in the home.

2. Buy the Biggest, Most Expensive HVAC System, Because It’s the Best

The biggest, most expensive furnaces, air conditioners, and HVAC equipment are often the most energy efficient and come with many user-friendly bells and whistles. However, this doesn’t make them the best choice for everyone. Buying the biggest air conditioner will usually be problematic because it’s probably too big for your home – a big air conditioner won’t cool the home better, and a big furnace won’t save you money on heating. It will waste money and suffer a lot of stress and wear and tear.

When shopping for a new air conditioner or furnace, look for the following qualities. Budget is important for many Louisville area homeowners, so look for the best system that fits your price range.

  • Make sure the system is sized right for your house. Have load calculations performed by a contractor, which will tell you what size heating or cooling unit you need.

  • The higher energy efficiency rating you can get, the less you’ll be paying on energy bills. This savings can make up for the extra cost of a higher efficiency unit.

  • Consider costs of installation. You’ll probably want a new furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump if your existing ducts are in good shape. If you have duct problems, installing a ductless system may be more affordable.

3. There’s No Need for Maintenance Unless Something Breaks

HVAC myths about maintenance are really unfortunate, as they often cause homeowners to miss out on this important service. For one, maintenance won’t be too helpful for you if your heating and cooling system breaks down – at that point, it needs to be repaired.

Maintenance actually helps protect the system against breakdowns, it doesn’t fix them! Regular tune-ups for furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps mitigate wear and tear to protect parts from damage, improve energy efficiency and deliver better comfort control. Don’t wait for a breakdown – schedule one tune-up for heating and one tune-up for cooling each year.

4. Air Sealing Is Easy to Do on Your Own

Sealing air leaks around your house saves energy and prevents the loss of heating and cooling which can make your rooms uncomfortable. Unfortunately, it’s not very easy to find and seal leaks in your ducts, which are a major source of energy loss and energy waste in most homes. Ducts sit in areas where you cannot easily access them, like attics and crawlspaces.

Don’t leave this important job to the advice of an HVAC myth. Instead of attempting to fix duct leaks yourself, call a professional for duct sealing services. Your HVAC technician will pressure test your duct system to find leaks and seal them with methods that reach even hard-to-access spots! The use of duct tape to seal duct leaks is another HVAC myth. Duct tape should never be used to close up your ducts!

5. The Temperature on Your Thermostat Is Always Right

It’s common to see one temperature on your thermostat but to feel as if your room is hotter or cooler. This is because thermostat temperature readings are not always accurate. Thermostats rely on sensors to read ambient room temperatures, but readings can be disrupted when the sensors are dirty, out of calibration, or exposed to heat from direct sunlight. When thermostat temperature readings are wrong, it may shut down the heating and cooling system prematurely so you don’t receive enough warmth or cooling indoors.

If it doesn’t feel like the temperature on your thermostat is correct, it’s time for service. A technician is able to recalibrate the thermostat or replace it so you have better control over your furnace or air conditioner.

6. Just Turn the Temperature up Really High or Low to Heat or Cool Your Home Fast

It’s one of the most common HVAC myths that setting your thermostat to an extremely high or low temperature will cause your furnace or air conditioner to work faster. Many people do this, thinking their homes will rapidly heat or cool – but all this does is waste energy and hurt your HVAC system.

Turning up or down the temperature like this won’t do anything to heat or cool your home in a hurry. Your furnace or air conditioner will work at the same speed it always does. In the meantime, it’s likely that you will forget you adjusted the settings this way and once your home reaches a comfortable temperature, the system will keep on working to hit that extreme temperature you set. Doing so, it wastes energy and causes the system to do more work than it should which increases wear to system components that can cause damage.

If you don’t want to come home to a room that is too hot or cold, try these solutions:

  • Adjust your programmable thermostat schedules to start heating or cooling your home from the setback point about 15 minutes before you get home, if you turn back settings during long periods of absence to save energy.

  • Install a Wi-Fi or smart thermostat that uses geofencing technology to detect your location and when you’re coming home to make automatic temperature adjustments.

7. Closing Vents Will Save You Money

Closing vents as a way to save energy and money is perhaps one of the most prolific HVAC myths – if you do an Internet search for it, you’ll still see this advice being offered. While it seems plausible that you should close vents in unused rooms to avoid heating or cooling them, it’s actually better to leave those vents open!

Your home’s heating and cooling system was designed to fulfill the needs of all the rooms connected to your duct system. When you close vents, this doesn’t cause your furnace or air conditioner to produce less conditioned air – your systems are still going to consume the same amount of energy. Closing vents forces air to back up in the ducts, increasing pressure that can cause air leaks to develop. Your HVAC equipment can also overheat, causing damage.

Instead of closing vents, a zoning system is a better solution. Zoning can be installed to HVAC systems to provide homeowners with individualized comfort control in each area of the home. Dampers in the duct system open and close to prevent heating and cooling from going to unnecessary areas, not vents.

HVAC Advice and Service for Your Home

Jarboe’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing sets the record straight on HVAC myths so Louisville homeowners can protect their systems and save money. When you need HVAC services or want to know the truth about a possible HVAC myth, give us a call!

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