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8 Air Conditioning Myths That Are Costing You Money

Learn about 8 air conditioning myths that may be costing you money. Trane experts provide the facts you need to know to stay cool.

August 30, 2018

Want to save money on your air conditioning expenses and energy bills? Then don't buy into these common A/C myths.

MYTH #1: The Size of Your A/C Unit Isn’t Important

FACT: The size of your HVAC unit depends on the size of your space. A too-small air conditioning system will have to work harder to cool your home and wear down sooner. A too-large system will keep turning off and on until it breaks down. Check with a specialist who can help you choose the right size HVAC unit for your home.

MYTH #2: Turn the Temperature Down for Quicker Cooling

FACT: Your air conditioning unit works just as hard whether you lower it 3 degrees or 30 degrees — getting to the temperature you want is just a matter of time. If you set it lower than you need to and forget about it, you’ll end up paying a higher bill. Try using a programmable thermostat or smart thermostat to save money and get the temperature you actually want.

MYTH #3: You Should Turn Off the AC When You’re Not Home

FACT: Will turning off the AC save money? Turning the air conditioner off when you leave home is not a money-saving move. Turning your air conditioning off and on again repeatedly can cost you more money, not less. By turning the air conditioner off, on warm to hot days, the temperature in your home rises, unchecked. This makes your AC work longer and harder to lower the temperature to a comfortable level when you come home and turn the system back on. 

But that doesn’t mean you need to blast cold air while you’re gone. Use a programmable thermostat to raise the temperature to 78-80 degrees while you’re away from home, and set a lower temperature for when you’re home. This will save you money on your energy bills.

MYTH #4: Ceiling Fan Direction Doesn’t Matter

FACT: The ceiling fan direction myth is that the direction your ceiling fan is turning doesn’t matter. It most certainly does! In the summer, set your ceiling fan to turn counterclockwise to create a cool breeze or wind chill effect. Most ceiling fans have a little switch on the motor casing. Running the ceiling fan in the summer can make a room feel up to 5 degrees cooler than the thermostat setting. But ceiling fans don’t actually cool a room, so don’t bother to leave fans on in unoccupied rooms.

MYTH #5: You Should Close Vents in Unused Rooms

FACT: People often ask “Should you close vents in unused rooms in the summer?” The short answer is no. You may have heard that closing vents in unused rooms can help lower your energy bills. In reality, it could raise your HVAC repair bills. Your HVAC system needs at least 75% of the vents in your home to be open to ensure proper airflow. Closing any vents can disrupt the delicate balance in your HVAC system. So keep them open.

MYTH #6: You Don’t Need to Change the Air Filters

FACT: Believe this myth and you’ll pay for it. It’s important to check your air filter and change it regularly. A dirty or clogged filter can create the need for costly AC repair. Air filters are typically inexpensive and can save you money on repair costs and increase the efficiency of your unit in the long run. Depending on the efficiency of your filter and whether you have an air purification system, you need to change the filter every 30-180 days.

MYTH #7: Run Your HVAC System Until It Quits

FACT: You’ll often hear this myth regarding cars, but it applies to HVAC units, too. Replacing an air conditioner might be more expensive up front, but running your unit past its life expectancy (+/-15 years) will be less efficient and cost you money in the long run on repairs. Start saving money on your energy bills sooner by replacing your old unit before it quits on you. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), investing in a new energy-efficient air conditioner can save you 20-40% on your cooling costs.

MYTH #8: Maintenance Doesn’t Matter

FACT: Struggling air conditioning units are inefficient units, so keep your HVAC system at peak performance. What might seem like a minor issue now could become an expensive one later if you don’t repair it.

Your local Trane Comfort Specialist can help you with any issues you might be having with your air conditioning system. Consider purchasing a seasonal HVAC maintenance plan to keep your system in top shape year-round.

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