Myths That Every Homeowner Should Know
1. “ My air conditioning system is new, it doesn’t need to be serviced”
Fact: After only operating for a year, the system components can become dirty.
2. “Refrigerant (freon) always needs to be added to the system”
Fact: After the system is properly charged, the system is sealed. If the refrigerant level goes down, it leaked out. Repairs or replacement may be necessary.
3. “ My filter looks clean, it’s OK to keep using it”
Fact: Most filters don’t have to look dirty to be dirty. The best practice is to replace it on a scheduled basis.
4. “ Setting the thermostat lower will make it cool faster”
Fact: The thermostat is simply a switch. It turns the system on. The only exception is a two-stage system, by lowering the set-point 3-4 degrees below the room temperature will activate the “high” or “second” stage.
5. “Shutting supply registers in rooms I’m not using will save me cooling costs”.
Fact: Closing supply grilles or diffusers will restrict airflow throughout the air conditioning/heating system. Restricted airflow can cause multiple problems including but not limited to compressor failures and cracked heat exchangers. Low airflow will also cause the system to work harder and ultimately wear system components out prematurely.
6. “A high-efficiency filter in my air conditioning system will clean all of the air in my house”
Fact: The filtration system only helps clean the air that is passing through it; air that enters the return air grille(s). And that air is only being filtered when the blower/system is on.
7. “A zoning system will allow me to keep two (or more) different temperatures in different areas at the same time” (Example: 75 degrees in the living room and 70 degrees in the bedroom)
Fact: The purpose of a zoning system is to shift the capacity of the system to the zone(s) that require cooling/heating without overcooling/heating the other zone(s). They are not meant to be able to keep two (or more) different areas at different temperatures. All thermostats should be set/programmed at/near the same set points to operate properly
8. “My air conditioning system controls the humidity levels in my house”
Fact: The air conditioning system, by itself, has one purpose: to remove sensible heat (heat you can feel). After the cooling system starts up it takes approx. 5 minutes before it begins to operate at its top efficiency. Once it gets to that point moisture that is in the air is condensed on the surface of the cooling coils (latent heat). A few minutes later, the now water droplets, fall into the drain pan and they are piped outside or into wastewater plumbing. This process does indeed de-humidify some of the moisture out of the air/house but the system and its temperature controls do not measure or control how much humidity is being removed. Beware of thermostats that have de-humidification features! They will measure humidity and when/if the levels are high enough they will actually make the system over-cool to try to achieve desired humidity levels. This is dangerous as system components, and in some cases parts of the home structure itself, begin to get too cold and biological growths can then occur.
9. “ A high-efficiency filter system will cut down on the amount of dust I have in my home”
Fact: The filter, no matter what kind it is, in your cooling/heating system, has one specific purpose; to keep the equipment clean. Its purpose is to make sure (as best possible) that the system components (mostly the heat exchanger, blower wheel and evaporator coils) don’t get dirty. Because, if they did get dirty, the system could stop performing efficiently and/or it could cause one or more of the components to fail. The better the filter is, the better protection you have against the system failing or becoming inefficient.
That being said, you must understand some more about high-efficiency filters:
- Some of these filters have a ‘high resistance’ to airflow; that is what makes them to be able to remove more ‘stuff’ out of the air. Filtration systems which have too high of a resistance can actually harm your system.
- Some high-efficiency filtration systems require intensive maintenance. Electronic ones require that the ‘collection cells’ be removed, washed and dried at least once a month.
- High-efficiency filters that are placed in filter grilles allow more dust/dirt etc… to be pulled around the filter itself. Plus, since they are remote from the actual equipment, any leaks in the ducting or return air path between the filter and the equipment are magnified. The amount of dust can actually be increased if there are leaks in the returning duct system.
- If there are leaks in the supply ducting system, like in an attic, and then a high-efficiency filtration system was installed, the amount of dust may not change at all because the main reason was not repaired.
- Yes, there are some cases where a high-efficiency filtration system was installed, and the amount of dust went down. In most of these cases though, the system’s equipment was replaced, the return ducting and supply ducting was either replaced and/or sealed and envelope conditions were improved. (Building envelope; like windows, doors, can light seal-off’s etc..)
- Lastly, no matter what kind of filter you have, and no matter what you do, you will always have dust.