Air Conditioner Myths You Really Need to Stop Believing

Air Conditioner Myths You Really Need to Stop Believing

No, your air conditioner is not going to give you a cold. Learn what other AC myths you can stop believing.

1. You Don’t Need to Clean Fins and Coils

Air conditioning evaporator coils and fins allow heat to pass from the refrigerant in the system into the air, just as condenser coils absorb heat from inside the house. This important process of moving heat can be impeded by layers of dust and grime.

If you never check on your coils, that grime is costing you money and decreasing efficiency. Clean your air conditioner at the beginning of the warm season and check it from time to time, especially after storms or high winds, to make sure your coils and fins stay clear.

Adjusting thermostatLOPOLO/SHUTTERSTOCK

2. Turn Your Temperature Lower For Quicker Cooling

This common mistake comes from the old days when many homeowners didn’t know how their AC systems worked. People frequently turned their thermostats really low, thinking the AC would cool the room or the house faster. It doesn’t.

The AC works just as hard to lower the temperature one degree as it does to lower it by 20. It’s just a matter of time and the settings you have chosen. So program your thermostat to exactly where you want it, not lower than you need.

3. The Bigger the Unit, the Better

AC units are carefully sized to the amount of cubic feet they need to cool. That’s particularly important when purchasing a new AC unit or renovating your house. If an AC unit is rated for a smaller space than you have, it will work too hard to cool the air, wear out more quickly and struggle to meet the demands of the thermostat.

If the AC unit is rated for a larger space than you have, it will constantly turn on and off, wearing itself out and growing undependable over time. Pay attention to capacity and pick the right unit for the space you have.

Avoiding an Expensive ReplacementPAVEL L PHOTO AND VIDEO/SHUTTERSTOCK

4. Better to Let an Air Conditioner Run Until It Quits

The initial cost of replacing your AC unit is high, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid a new purchase. Don’t make the mistake of keeping your old air conditioner long than you should. An old air conditioner will perform poorly, cost you more money in repairs and eventually become more trouble than it’s worth.

If your AC unit is 10 to 12 years old or older, investing in a newer, more efficient version will save you money and aggravation over time.


5. Close the Vents in Rooms You Don’t Use

Usually this does not save energy. The way a residential heating and cooling system is designed, the air handler (or blower) moves a certain amount of air no matter which vents are opened or closed. Closing registers may reduce the total air moved by the blower, which reduces its efficiency.

Wondering if it’s time for a new furnace? Our experts offer advice to help you decide.

clean air conditionerFAMILY HANDYMAN

6. Your AC Unit is Ready for Summer Without Prep

Seriously? Before the really oppressive heat arrives, make sure your air conditioner is ready to get to work. You may need to clear out dirt and debris, check the coolant level and replace the fan filter.


7. Your AC Will Give You a Cold

Viruses cause colds, not cool temperatures

Install a Programmable ThermostatFAMILY HANDYMAN

8. Leaving the Temperature at the Same Setting All Day Will Save Money

You can cut five to 20 percent off your energy bill by setting your cooling system four to six degrees warmer when you’re at work or on vacation, and automatically lowering it to 78 degrees when you’re home. 

Use Fans and Raise Your Thermostat


9. Fans Will Cool You Down

Ceiling fans save you money by keeping you comfortable at higher thermostat settings. Each degree higher than 78 degrees will save you five to 10 percent on air conditioning costs. The moving air from a ceiling fan increases the amount of evaporation from your skin and helps cool you off.