Common AC Myths that Just Don’t Work

Air Conditioning Myths

Old Man Winter image by Etamme

We always feel better when make the most of our home investments and take action that might benefit us. That is human nature. But there is some mistaken information out there about how best to keep your home cool and maximize the efficiency of your air conditioning system. Here are a few that Custom Climate Concepts wants you to know about:

MYTH 1 – Changing the temperature of your thermostat to match your household’s comings and goings will help customize cooling and even save money.

Let’ say you turn up or turn off the AC when no one is home, thinking it will result in saving money and power. It won’t. Your air handler has to work much harder to cool down the house when temperatures have risen during the day. Plus, when you come home and crank the air to cool, you are putting unnecessary stress on your system.

RISK FACTOR: By setting the thermostat too cold its components may "ice up" or freeze. In this case, the external evaporator coil can accumulate ice and the internal system can malfunction if dealing with too much moisture inside.

WHAT WILL WORK: Consider using a programmable thermostat. When set up correctly, it can let the house warm up while you’re gone, then start cooling things down – over time and more efficiently before you get home. This allows the unit to take a break when you are at work or out of town.

MYTH 2 – Just running a ceiling fan, or any fan, will help keep your house cooler.

Yes, it is true that when the blowing air of a fan hits your body, especially if you are perspiring, it feels cooling – but that doesn’t change the temperature of the room you are in. Fans don't cool air; they just move it around.

RISK FACTOR: In fact, running a ceiling fan, especially when no one is home, is a waste of energy. Plus, the fan’s motor actually creates heat.

WHAT WILL WORK: There is one exception to this ‘myth. ’ That is, if the air temperature outside the house is cooler than the air inside, placing a fan near the window can help draw cool air into the home. Likewise, it can generate a cross current to blow out the hotter air from inside.

MYTH 3 – Closing the air vents in rooms you don’t use will push more cool air to other rooms boosting your HVAC system’s efficiency.

This is a false assumption because energy has already been expended to cool the air flowing through the air ducts.

RISK FACTOR: At one time this may have worked, but today’s modern, high performance A/C systems are calibrated to keep your house sufficiently cool regardless of ductwork vents. Closing off parts of the house can upset this balance resulting in your system having to work harder in compensation. Plus, A/C systems have an important de-humidifying effect. Closing off parts of the house could eventually lead to moisture and mold problems.

WHAT WILL WORK: If you want to be able to close off areas where you don’t need as much cooling to occur, then consider a zoned cooling system. A zoned system uses multiple thermostats that control dampers within the ductwork to control room temperatures according to your needs. ALSO: If you have one room that is harder to cool: perhaps because it runs a lot of computers, or the sun beats down on it all day, or it is an addition to the house, you may want to consider a ductless AC system. These machines are great for anywhere a small space conditioning system is needed.

MYTH 4 – Running your Fan continuously will keep your house cooler and keep the air “fresh”

Running your fan continuously is a waste of money unless you are intentionally trying to move air through your AC system like if you had smoke from cooking the best setting is to leave the fan on “AUTO.”

RISK FACTOR: When the fan is left on continuously your unit will “short cycle” and therefore run less efficiently. This also leads to increased humidity which is bad for your indoor air quality.

WHAT WILL WORK: Again a programmable thermostat is a great way to keep your HVAC system efficiently heating and cooling. Another good way to to keep your house as comfortable as possible is to have your insulation checked. Many homes don’t have insulation above the garage but if your garage is attached to the house insulation is a smart way to save money and increase comfort.