We know that people like to have the inside scoop about home air conditioning systems, but don’t believe everything you hear. There’s a lot of misinformation out there. We have compiled this list of some of our favorite Not-Quite-True Air Conditioning stories, in hopes to spread the word about what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to air conditioning.
Myth #1: Air conditioner filters should be replaced once per year.
Actually, the EPA’s Energy Star program recommends that you change your air filters monthly, or at minimum, every 3 months. Households with pets and people with allergies should be especially careful to replace the filter on a regular basis. Dirty air filters can inhibit air flow and force your A/C to work harder. This wastes energy and may cause the premature death of your air conditioner.
Myth #2: Cranking the thermostat cools the house faster.
Wrong again! Going back to the info found on that handy Energy Star website, your A/C doesn’t work harder just because you lowered the temperature on the thermostat. The thermostat cools and heats the house at a set rate, regardless of the temperature setting.
Myth #3: Ceiling fans keep the house cool.
When moving air touches your body’s perspiration, you experience a pleasant cooling effect. It’s nice for you, but it doesn’t change the temperature of the room. Running the ceiling fan without anyone around is a waste of energy. Actually, the motor in your ceiling fan creates heat, so if you’re run a ceiling fan in an empty room, you may be losing ground.
Myth #4: Turning off your AC while you’re at work saves money and energy.
This myth is actually half true, because turning off the air conditioner while you’re at work does save energy. It also forces your air conditioner to work much harder when it’s finally turned back on. The benefits of turning off the A/C every morning are negated by turning the air back on every evening.
Want to save money while you’re away? Adjust the setting less dramatically in the mornings before you leave. An adjustment to your thermostat of only 5 or 6 degrees allows your your air conditioner to work less hard during the day, while making it easier for the A/C to cool off your house at night.
Myth #5: Closing vents in unused parts of the house will push air where I want it.
Although this may have been true at one time, it’s not anymore. Modern, high performance A/C systems rely on a delicate balance to keep your house sufficiently cool. By closing off parts of the house, you upset the balance and cause your system to work harder in compensation. And don’t forget: A/C systems have a convenient de-humidifying effect. Closing off parts of the house could lead to moisture problems down the road.