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Debunking Common SLC Heating and Cooling Myths

Spring season is here for homeowners in Salt Lake City and other parts of Utah, and this means HVAC inspections for air conditioners and other parts of the system. These checks are important for several reasons, including picking up concerns early and identifying them before they become larger issues – and when our HVAC technicians are in homes speaking to clients, this is a time of year where we’re also debunking a number of heating or cooling myths you may have been operating under falsely.

At My Buddy the Plumber, we handle a variety of both plumbing and HVAC needs for our clients, from furnace and air conditioner repair to numerous inspections, upgrades and even system installations as-needed. While some HVAC and HVAC service myths are relatively minor and won’t cause many issues, others lead to practices that are not healthy for your system or your home at all, and will lead to increased costs and higher risk of system failure. Let’s go over these myths and provide you with proper information.

Myth #1: Filter Change Frequency

While most homeowners are aware their HVAC filter needs to be changed regularly, there are several myths out there about the frequency with which this needs to happen. In particular, there are too many homeowners who think their filter only needs to be changed once every six months or even once a year.

Simply put, this is not the case. Not only does a dirty filter stop doing its job and lead to poor air quality, it also clogs up the system, making it tougher for air to pass through and forcing the furnace or AC to pump even more air in to achieve the same temperature level. Most change-out filters need to be changed every month, while there are some other options meant to last for 2-4 months.

Myth #2: Bigger System = Better System

For those considering an upgrade to any part of their HVAC system, especially a furnace or AC installation, size is not the only important consideration here. Systems that are too large will cycle on and off too often as their capacity is too high for the space, leading to higher costs and a shorter lifespan. Speak to our pros about finding the ideal system size for your home.

Myth #3: System Shutoff Hesitance

For some reason, certain folks believe that turning off the AC or furnace for a few hours while no one is home is actually a bad move – there’s a myth out there that this wastes more energy than simply leaving the system on. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. Saving several hours of use of one of these components is a great theme, one you should try to hit on whenever possible – this is an area where a programmable or smart thermostat makes things far easier, as well, and our pros will be happy to recommend one.

Myth #4: Vent Closing

Unlike some other myths, we can at least understand where this one originates from. There’s a mistaken assumption among some homeowners, especially first-timers who don’t quite understand how the HVAC system works, that if they close the HVAC vents into certain rooms that aren’t used very often, this will save energy and money.

Unfortunately, this isn’t how HVAC duct systems work. These systems are set up to distribute air evenly throughout the home, and the AC or furnace that’s working in a given season will be providing enough air for this to happen. But when vents are closed, this simply causes the pressure in certain areas to build up – this often leads to vents or ducts leaking or cracking, and causes temperature loss which eventually costs you money. Even if there are certain rooms you don’t spend much time in, their vents should be left open at all times for the health of the system.

Myth #5: Thermostat Has Sole Control

The real myth here is a bit more distinct, so read carefully. It’s true, to some extent, that the thermostat is the “controller” of your HVAC system, the one you adjust to change your heating or cooling settings. However, there are several other factors within your system that also play a major role, and without them operating properly, the thermostat can’t either.

Think of insulation for your home, for instance – if it’s not sufficient, you’ll deal with air leaks and inefficiency problems. If you’re using a 25-year-old AC, on the other hand, this unit almost certainly won’t be efficient, and will limit the thermostat’s ability to maintain true control. The thermostat is vital, but so are several other components.

Myth #6: Thermostat Location Doesn’t Matter

Speaking of the thermostat, another harmful myth – especially among those building a new house or installing a new thermostat – is that this item can simply be placed anywhere. But this is not true: Rather, there are many locations where the thermostat should not be, such as too close to a vent, too near a window or directly in the path of heavy sunlight. All these settings risk the thermostat getting an artificial idea of what the temperature in your home actually is, which will cause it to heat or cool unevenly and lead to both uncomfortable temperatures and undue strain on the system – both of which cost you money in the long run.

For more proper information on HVAC myths you might hear, or to learn about any of our heating and cooling or plumbing services, speak to the staff at My Buddy the Plumber today.

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