As Halloween approaches, we see more and more of the same horrors: ghosts and ghouls roaming the earth, zombies craving brains, and people who don’t know they can leave their AC on when they leave the house! Oh the horror! If the most terrifying thing you can imagine is a ridiculously high energy bill, this post is for you. We’re going to address some of the most common HVAC myths we see.
Myth #1 You should always turn off your HVAC system when you leave the house.
While you may want to turn off your HVAC system when you’re leaving the house for more than 24 hours, it’s not necessary when you’ll be gone for a shorter period of time. In fact, turning your HVAC off and on could be costing you more! HVAC systems work to cool or heat your home to a pre-selected temperature. Your home’s insulation helps to keep the heated or cooled air in your home, and keep outdoor temperatures out. Turning off your HVAC system every time you leave the house, especially in extreme temperatures, makes your system work harder and against your insulation to get your house to the appropriate temperature. A better idea is to adjust your thermostat by 5 to 10 degrees when you leave. If you have a programmable thermostat, this is even easier, because your thermostat will automatically adjust to those temperatures. If you have it set to 88 degrees during the day, for example, you can set it to start lowering as you’re leaving work. Your home will be the perfect temperature when you get home!
Myth #2 Setting your fan to “On” is better than “Auto”.
Your HVAC system comes with those two settings, ‘on’ and ‘auto’, but many aren’t sure of the difference since both keep your house cool. “On” is exactly what it sounds like; even after your home has reached your ideal temperature, the fan stays on, circulating that air around your home. It sounds good, but keeping your system switched “on” is a great way to run up your energy bill and wear out your system faster. We recommend keeping your unit set to “auto” in many cases, which will run the fan to circulate air until it reaches the designated temperature. The fan will then run periodically to maintain that temperature.
If you’re wondering what the “on” setting is good for now, don’t worry! It does have some specific case uses. If you need to drastically change the temperature of your home, “on” can help move the air faster, to make you more comfortable. It can also be good for allergy sufferers, since it will circulate the air more regularly, moving allergens into your HEPA filters. Finally, it’s also great when vacuuming. Since vacuuming kicks up a lot of dust, using this setting while cleaning will help that dust move into the filter- instead of settling back onto your floor!
Myth #3 Closing air vents will save you money.
This is something we see a lot of. If you close off vents to a room in your home, you won’t be heating or cooling that room, so you’ll save money, right? Actually closing off air vents can cost you more money. When you close off vents, you’re preventing air from escaping the vents, which build up pressure on those closed vents. The air pressure and subsequent attempts to recirculate that air actually make your system work harder to cool your home. Keep your vents open!
Myth #4 Having a service subscription is a waste of money.
This is absolutely not true! Just imagining the inconvenience, frustration, and repair costs when your system goes out unexpectedly (and it always goes out when you need it most!) should be enough to convince you otherwise. The cost of most service agreements are marginal when compared to the costs of having to replace your unit when it goes out. Most issues that call for the entire unit to be replaced can be avoided with regularly scheduled maintenance to your HVAC unit.