The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is the very heart of your home. Not only does it circulate hot or cool air throughout the house, but it can also regulate the humidity, remove allergens and particulate matter from the air, and help ensure your home is clean and comfortable. It’s incredibly important, therefore, to keep your HVAC system performing in tip-top shape.
Keeping your HVAC well-maintained is crucial, but it’s not always easy to find quality information about how to do that. Perhaps a friend gave you a tip that you weren’t sure about? Or perhaps you’ve read a lot of different things online?
Below are five common myths about HVAC systems that might be keeping yours from working its best (and, as a consequence, your home from achieving its maximum level of comfort).
1. Updating your filters once a year is enough.
For some homeowners once a year might be enough, but it very likely isn’t. Every home is different, every lifestyle is different and every area of the country is different. Having a pet, living somewhere with significant seasonal changes, having a busy home, living deep in the woods or next to a road are all factors that can affect how frequently you will want to change your filters. Mechanics recommend changing your vehicle’s oil by the mileage, not at set time intervals, and your home’s HVAC filters might well be the same.
The very best way to ensure your filters are clean and working is to ensure that you have regular maintenance checks of your HVAC system. Clogged or dirty filters are not only unhealthy, they can keep your system from operating efficiently, resulting in more energy use (and the bill that comes with it) or temperature dysregulation.
2. The bigger the HVAC system the better.
It may seem intuitive that a larger or more powerful system will get the job done faster, cooling your home in minutes or heating it up in a snap. But HVAC systems are actually designed specifically for the volume of your home. A system that is too big (or, conversely, too small) can result in uneven or inefficient heating, cooling, and humidity regulation.
Perhaps another car analogy helps to make it clear: you wouldn’t put a monster truck engine in a tiny two-door hatchback; the wheels would just spin when you pressed on the gas and you wouldn’t get anywhere. Similarly, a perfectly-sized HVAC unit selected and installed by a professional will ensure that you’re not spinning your wheels when it comes to your home’s heating and cooling.
3. You can easily find air leaks yourself.
You may think that it’s easy to find an air leak, that you’ll feel it, hear it or notice it right away. In fact, leaks can be subtle and go unnoticed until you get your energy bill and realize that you’ve been heating or cooling mother nature as much as your home. A trained HVAC technician knows from experience the best way to find and fill any leaks that are creating inefficiencies for your home’s operation.
4. It doesn’t matter where your thermostat is located.
If your home is supposed to be the same temperature in each room you should be able to put it anywhere, right? Not exactly. A thermostat that is too near a register or cold-air exchange, in direct sunlight or another area of the home that sees changing light and breezes can wreak havoc, turning your heat or AC on or off too frequently or not at all. Have you ever been to someone’s home that seemed freezing or too hot and checked the thermostat (just to make sure it wasn’t you) only to see a reading of 72 degrees? Don’t let a misplaced thermostat play games with your head: ensure your HVAC system is professionally set up and installed.
5. You should only carry out maintenance when your system is broken.
Let’s look at this final notion. Saving a few dollars in the short term by deferring regular maintenance can result in a massive repair bill down the line. Don’t let any unnoticed problems fester by waiting for the system to break down before calling an HVAC technician. Nobody wants to be caught without heat during a blizzard or without AC during a heatwave.
Regular maintenance checks done by a professional will ensure your whole house, and especially your HVAC system is in perfect working order, saving you money and stress.
Now you know the importance of being careful not to fall for some of the common HVAC myths. Have you heard of any other misconception you’d like us to debunk?