The HVAC trade has been going for centuries, but that doesn’t mean people have perfected the craft. Even professional technicians and contractors who have been in the business for years might be doing things the “wrong” way.
For bigger projects, like general contracting ones, contractors can use project management tools, like construction scheduling software or subcontractor scheduling software, to create a builder schedule and supervise their team of technicians who help each other. On the other hand, for smaller projects, there’s usually only one man on the job and one mistake can cost him a lot.
Why busting these myths is important.
From a technician’s perspective, debunking these HVAC myths guides them in delivering better quality jobs. They can end the cycle of doing common but erroneous practices by informing other technicians, as well.
But a technician’s services are only a fraction of a part of an HVAC system’s life– the bulk of it lies with its owners. So, as an HVAC professional, you must inform the clients of the dos and don’ts of HVAC maintenance to avoid any future problems.
The Truth Behind These HVAC Myths
Myth #1: The thermostat’s location doesn’t really matter
The location of the thermostat doesn’t only depend on the occupants’ convenience. Its placement should also be effective to give the most accurate readings of the climate. Placing it in the wrong place could bump up costs, make homeowners even more uncomfortable, and even damage the system because it turns on the system at the wrong times.
For example, placing a thermostat directly in front of a window or near a supply air register could make it give off false readings. Also, if the sun directly shines on it, it can turn on the AC because it thinks the house is warm.
Myth #2: Filters should be changed once a year
To keep furnaces and AC units healthy, their filters need to be absolutely clean– and replacing them just once a year isn’t doing the job.
Filters should be checked and changed at least once a month. But other air polluting factors, such as pets shedding and the number of people in the house, might make filter replacement more frequent.
If filters are left dirty, there’s a high risk of filthier, indoor air, efficiency loss, mechanical breakdown, and even total system failure in the long run.
Myth #3: Closing vents in unused rooms saves energy
On the contrary, closing vents can drastically increase air pressure in the system. Subsequently, duct joints and seams will have air leaks that send air into the floors and walls rather than through the intended vents.
Moreover, the temperature in the room will be significantly different from the rest of the house. Because it still has an open return air supply grill, the air from the room and the rest of the place will mix, needing more energy to cool or heat when it eventually returns to the furnace.
Myth #4: Bigger HVAC systems are better
It’s easy to think larger systems are better, but that isn’t always the case.
If clients want to go big or go home, tell them that having a system with too much capacity will make it short cycle, constantly turning on and off. If that goes on, it could lead to premature equipment failure and high energy costs.
Myth #5: The square footage of the area is the only thing you need to size a new HVAC system properly
Size is vital in choosing HVAC systems; installing the wrong sized one will be more trouble than it’s worth. An oversized system can have frequent on and off cyclings that create high humidity conditions; undersized ones, on the other hand, can bump up energy costs because it will run longer than necessary.
With that said, there is a lot to consider when sizing HVAC units, not just the area’s square footage. HVAC installers or technicians should take into account existing ductwork and air leakage. They should also inspect the windows, their size, orientation, and condition. Lastly, technicians must look into insulation and ventilation levels.
Myth #6: Setting the thermostat to extreme temperatures will make the system work faster
The amount of heating or cooling a system provides is set, meaning it doesn’t change depending on how low or high the thermostat is set. So, the notion that turning it up or down to make the system work faster is completely false and will only make the system run longer.
Myth #7: Turning on a fan will lower the room’s temperature
Keeping a fan on in a closed room doesn’t really lower the temperature; the breeze just gives the feeling of cool air when it hits the skin. Essentially, fans cool people, not the room.
With or without the fan running, the air in the room will remain the same. So if a fan is left on to “cool down the room,” it will just increase energy consumption.
Myth #8: Ceiling fans are only good for cooling
We now know that fans give off a cooling effect, but they can also be used to warm up the place, reducing the need for air conditioning and heating.
To use a fan for heating, flip a switch to reverse its direction. When the fan runs, the airflow will be directed upwards, forcing the warmer air near the ceiling to spread to the walls and into space. Because hot air rises, this aid in balancing the indoor temperature.
Myth #9: Clients can forgo routine maintenance
The length of any HVAC system’s lifespan heavily depends on maintenance. Now, while homeowners do their part in taking care of the system, it’s usually not enough. Being inexperienced, they’ll tend not to do things properly, miss some crucial problems, or just do the most minimal work. Of course, improper care will lead to mechanical issues and, eventually, total system failure.
So, as an HVAC practitioner, urge them to have their systems regularly checked by professionals. Tell them that proper maintenance and inspection is vital in keeping them safe and the system in good working condition. Not only will it mean more business for you, but you’ll be able to help your clients in keeping their homes safe and comfortable.
Myth #10: Shutting an AC unit on and off will save money
Typically, air conditioners use more energy during the first five minutes of running than it does in the next thirty. This means that habitually turning it on and off every hour actually consumes more energy than having it run non-stop. Although, air conditioners should not be running 24/7.
Furthermore, this frequent and rapid start-stop operation has a harmful effect on the compressor. There is a lot of stress put on it when the switch is continually being flipped. Plus, interior humidity and overall air comfort will be compromised, leaving the building’s occupant’s uneasy.
Myth #11: Duct tape is an excellent material to seal air ducts
Despite its name, duct tape is not ideal for sealing air ducts, which is ironic. This because it does not stick very well and tends to peel. And since you are a professional, you will need to be prepared with more than just duct tape.
Alternatively, several other great products can do the job. For quick fixes, an aluminum foil tape is a good option. But when looking for a long term-solution, mastic sealant is the recommended choice.
Myth #12: Windows are the greatest source of cooling and heating loss
Even though windows contribute to heat and cooling loss, more energy is leaving through the roof or ceilings. About one-half of all heating and cooling loss comes from air leaks and poor insulation in the ceiling and walls.
Be that as it may, any air leak around the windows should be fixed with proper caulking. Proper insulation will also significantly reduce energy consumption. Most importantly, diligent maintenance must be done to avoid a repeat of this problem or future ones.
Myth #13: Installing an AC unit in the window is the best solution for a hot and clammy room
To answer the problem of a hot and stuffy room, the easiest and most common solution to cool down a room is to install a window air conditioner. However, there may be more serious problems with the airflow and central HVAC system.
Sticking a window AC without looking into the issue will often make matters worse. Before putting in anything, advise the owners on looking for the source of the problem and looking at alternatives that won’t drain any more energy, unlike adding a new AC unit.
You can suggest investing some time, energy, and capital into a few weather improvements, like duct sealing, caulking around doors and windows, and also attic insulation.
Tips to share with clients
Aside from informing your fellow technicians and your customers of these myths, you can further guide your clients with some helpful tips, like:
● Setting the temperature a few degrees back when no one is home or asleep can reduce costs;
● Suggest buying a programmable thermostat and teach them how to use it;
● Taking advantage of natural light by opening up blinds or curtains to let the sun rays warm the home; and
● Closing blinds or drapes when its night or cold as it helps insulate the place.