Common HVAC Myths vs. Facts
Where HVAC systems are concerned, you do not want to be played for a fool. They account for nearly half of your home’s total energy bill. These are few of the most common myths and facts regarding HVAC systems in the Bay Area and beyond.
MYTH: Keeping the thermostat on one setting during the day and night because it takes less energy to maintain room temperature than it takes to heat up a cold room.
FACT: Programmable thermostats would be redundant if this misconception was right. In fact, it takes more energy to maintain the same temperature throughout the day than it takes to heat up a cool room. Programmable thermostats help in achieving this temperature variation in a smart way. You can significantly reduce your energy bill by reducing the temperature by a few degrees each night.
MYTH: Duct tape is great as a sealant for air leaks.
FACT: Duct tape is not very good at sealing air ducts. It can peel away since it does not stick all that well. You should hire a professional for sealing air ducts. Or, use aluminum foil tape if you are winging it. Mastic sealant is a notable way for sealing air ducts. Don’t forget to clean the area before sealing it so the sealant does not run or fall off much sooner than it ever should.
MYTH: You can save energy and money by switching to portable electric heaters.
FACT: Turning off the central heating can help you save a lot of energy and money if you are in one spot with a space heater near you. Unfortunately, you would end up increasing your energy bill if you don’t turn off the central heating and use portable heaters. Gas heating, in general, is more efficient as compared to electrical heating. But this does not mean you cannot use portable heaters in some capacity – depending on the situation but for most people – portable heaters may not make sense.
MYTH: The greatest loss of cooling and heating occurs through the windows.
FACT: This may be true to a great extent. However, maximum energy loss happens through the roof or ceiling. Half of your cooling and heating loss comes from poor insulation and air leaks in the roof. You should still use proper caulking to seal up all windows.
MYTH: Bigger air conditioners are always better.
FACT: Bigger HVAC systems don’t mean added comfort or better savings. You need to make sure the heating or cooling system is properly sized. Oversized units tend to short cycle and create humid conditions. Poor air distribution and dust may also occur.
Undersized units should be avoided as well since they can drive up your energy bills. Your HVAC technician will measure your house and recommend units based on their analysis. They will also take a look at the insulation levels, ductwork and other factors. Properly sized systems tend to maintain energy bills and also run for longer.
MYTH: Fans can help keep your space cool even when you are away.
FACT: Ceiling fans don’t necessarily cool or heat a room. They make you feel cooler because of wind-chill. They don’t lower the temperature in the room. However, they do allow you to increase the thermostat by a few degrees without feeling a dip in comfort levels.
Alternatively, ceiling fans can go a long way in keeping you warm during the winter. You should reverse the fan’s direction by switching the little black switch at the fan’s base.