Summer MythBusters: The AC Edition
If you’re a homeowner, you’ve likely heard many tips for home cooling – some even conflicting. So how to you separate the facts from the myths? Go to the experts! We talked to our resident expert, Keith Hill, the manager, technical support, for Minnesota Air to help us separate fact from fiction on some home cooling and air conditioner myths.
Myth 1: Refrigerant Replacement
If you’ve ever heard anyone say its normal for refrigerant to leak out – that’s untrue.
“You should have to add refrigerant to your system about as often as you do in your refrigerator… never!” says Keith. “Central AC is not like an automobile AC. An auto AC uses your car engine to run the compressor, driven by a belt to a pulley to a shaft. It’s the shaft seal that can leak over time. A central AC has no shaft seal, the motor is built inside the compressor casing making it hermetically sealed.”
Keith says if there is a leak, it should be found and fixed. He also reminds us that refrigerant never wears out – so don’t buy in to a salesperson trying to sell you new refrigerant for your AC unit.
“If properly installed, the refrigerant and lubricating oil within a system will outlive the unit. If it’s been contaminated, that’s another story. That’s why it’s important to hire a competent, trustworthy dealer that’s been properly trained,” says Keith.
Myth 2: Bigger is Better
It seems logical right, the bigger the AC unit the better your cooling will be – but actually, the opposite can be true. You need to pick an AC that is the proper size for your room if you want it to perform efficiently and effectively. The reason, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, is because “an oversized unit will cool the room(s) to the thermostat set-point before proper dehumidification occurs, making the area feel ‘clammy’ and uncomfortable.”
Myth 3: Cool Air Is The Best For Allergies
Cool air can be good for allergies and other respiratory conditions, but only if the air is also conditioned. It’s the dry air that helps us breathe easy.
Opening the windows to get cool air may add harmful moisture that contains dust and debris and can affect indoor air quality. Keith says if your AC is not doing a good job of dehumidifying the cold, clammy air will actually be a detriment to respiratory conditions.
Myth 4: Closing Registers/Grilles In Unused Rooms Saves Money
Unfortunately, this isn’t likely to work. Keith says most home HVAC systems have ductwork that is just large enough to get the job done, and it’s balanced to evenly distribute the air.
“If you upset the balance and restrict air outlets and inlets, you may make the system work harder,” he says. “If your duct system is marginal, you may do damage to your equipment.”
Still not convinced? If you really want to try this, ask a pro to evaluate your system before you close anything off, Keith says.
Myth 5: When You Turn On Your AC, Set It Colder To Cool Your Home Faster
When you decide to turn on your air conditioner, avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal. The Department of Energy says it will not cool your home any faster, and “could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.”
If you really want to feel the cool air faster, consider using fans to help spread the air through your home. But remember: fans alone don’t cool a room’s temperature – they cool people by generating a wind chill effect.
For more energy saving and home comfort tips, visit StayComfyMinnesota.com! Stay Comfy, Minnesota is your Minnesota resource for air conditioning repair, furnace repair and HVAC tips and advice.