As the weather warms up here in the Shenandoah Valley, homeowners will be turning to their ACs for comfort and relief from the summer heat. But cool indoor temperatures during the hot months of the year aren’t free, and there’s no shortage of “AC hacks” we’ve seen circulate about the ways you can and can’t save money while cooling your home.
While there are ways to make your home’s HVAC system more energy efficient, a lot of the suggestions we see floating around aren’t true. Here are 5 AC myths the expert air conditioning contractors at Excel can definitely debunk.
1. The bigger your AC is, the better it will cool your home
Many homeowners assume that the more powerful your central air conditioning unit is, the less it will have to run and the more money you’ll save. But actually, an oversized AC is a bad thing that can lead to many different HVAC problems.
Oversized HVAC systems short cycle—turning on, running, then turning back off again—much more frequently than a correctly sized system. This leads to more wear and tear on your AC, which will shorten its lifespan. But short cycling also means that your AC won’t run long enough to effectively dehumidify the air in your home, which will lower your comfort levels and create hot and cold spots in your house because the cooler conditioned air won’t be evenly distributed.
2. Air conditioning can make you sick
If there’s one persistent urban myth, it’s that running the AC in your home, particularly overnight, can give you a cold. But cold air has nothing to do with making you sick—it’s viruses, germs, and bacteria that make you sick. If your AC is contributing to poor health, it’s likely because your HVAC system is simply circulating the air in your house that already has germs in it from other sources. This is where indoor air quality solutions can really come in handy to keep you both comfortable and healthy in your home.
3. Closing the vents in rooms you don’t use often will lower AC costs
It’s understandable why homeowners fall for this “common sense” cooling system hack—if you close the duct vents in rooms that you rarely use, then your AC system will have less total area to cool and you’ll save money, right?
Actually, HVAC systems are designed and built to maintain a particular air pressure balance in your home. When you close vents, you throw that balance off, which will force your AC to work harder than it needs to, increasing your energy costs as well as the likelihood of an expensive breakdown.
4. It’s more efficient to keep your AC at a steady temperature
Even though programmable thermostats have been around for a long time, many people believe that the best way to keep cooling costs low is by running your AC at a steady temperature. But this just isn’t true—you can save 10% every year on heating and cooling costs by turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day!
5. You shouldn’t bother with HVAC service unless your AC doesn’t work
Just because your AC is running doesn’t mean that it’s running efficiently. Parts can break or become loose without immediately leading to a complete shutdown of your air conditioning, but the longer you go without addressing the problem, the more costly it could be to eventually fix it. That’s why regular central AC maintenance is so important for your home—it helps you avoid inconvenient breakdowns, and it also saves you money by catching small problems before they develop into major and expensive air conditioner repairs.