Ever heard of the “5-second rule” (i.e. food dropped on the floor isn’t really dirty if you pick it up within 5 seconds)? Or what about “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”?
Chances are, you’ve come across plenty of myths like these in your lifetime. And, most of the time, these myths are relatively harmless, right?
But there are also some air conditioning myths out there and the bad news is that most AC myths are actually quite harmful when followed.
In fact, some of these AC myths can actually make you more uncomfortable and cause your energy bills to skyrocket.
To help you avoid unnecessarily high energy bills this summer, we’ll explore these 4 popular AC myths:
- “Running a ceiling fan helps cool down your home.”
- “Having a dirty air filter isn’t a big deal, it won’t hurt my AC system.”
- “Turning down the thermostat super low will make the AC cool my home faster.”
- “My AC doesn’t need maintenance.”
Let’s go into more detail about each of these myths and how you can avoid them...
Myth #1: “Running a ceiling fan helps cool down your home.”
Fans cool people, not rooms.
So if you leave your fans running in unoccupied rooms, you’re wasting money.
Well, you may be wasting $40+ during the summer months if you leave ceiling fans running for 24/7.
Note: We used the Energy.gov appliance cost calculator, comparing 24/7 ceiling fan use vs 8 hours of use per day for 150 days.
So, why do fans cool people, but not rooms?
Well, fans cool humans through what’s called the wind chill effect.
The wind chill effect works like this: As a fan circulates air around you, it makes it easier for sweat to evaporate from your skin. Then, when sweat evaporates off of your body, it helps lower our body temperature.
So the temperature of the room itself doesn’t actually change, but our body feels cooler. That’s why leaving a fan on with no one inside the room doesn’t help, but instead just wastes electricity.
Do this instead: Turn off fans in unused rooms.
Myth #2: “Having a dirty air filter isn’t a big deal, it won’t hurt my AC system.”
Unfortunately, some homeowners completely ignore their air filters, which just leads to higher energy bills and other expenses down the road.
In fact, the Department of Energy estimates a clogged filter can cause a 15% increase in energy usage.
You see, an AC is like us—it “breathes” in air then “exhales” it out. And your filter’s job is to trap any debris that gets sucked up on your AC’s “inhale”—this prevents clogs and mold growth inside the air conditioner.
But because it traps dirt and dust, your filter will eventually get clogged. And if you have a dirty filter, your AC can’t breathe air in as easily as it should, which makes it work twice as hard to cool your home.
And remember: the harder your AC has to work, more electricity it will consume.
So, to avoid wasting electricity, do this instead: Change your air filter once a month during the summer.
Myth #3: “Turning down the thermostat super low will make the AC cool my home faster.”
Unless you recently purchased a new, super-efficient AC, you most likely have a single-stage air conditioner. Single-stage ACs only run at one speed—they don’t “cool faster” just because you drop the temperature much lower than you normally would.
That said, if you drop the thermostat to a super low temperature it will just run longer to reach that desired temperature.
And the longer your AC runs, the more energy it consumes.
So do this instead: Just set the thermostat to your desired temperature, that way you don’t waste electricity.
Myth #4: “My AC doesn’t need maintenance.”
One surefire way to increase energy bills is to skip annual AC maintenance.
That’s why the Department of Energy says that neglecting maintenance “ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases.”
During an annual maintenance visit, a professional cleans and inspects components to make sure they’re working 100% correctly. When all of the components in your AC system are working correctly, your AC actually gains energy efficiency.
So, want to avoid higher energy bills? Do this instead: Schedule an AC tune-up before summer hits.
Want priority tune-up service? Learn more about our Total Comfort Club maintenance plan.