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How much do you know about proper maintenance for air conditioning and heating units? It might surprise you to learn that some of the most commonly held beliefs about heating and cooling are HVAC myths. Particularly when it comes to maintenance — everyone seems to have an opinion that’s supposed to save you money. What’s true and what’s not?


Myth: You Only Need HVAC Service When Something Breaks


“Don’t fix what isn’t broken,” right? While that might be a favorite adage of penny-pinchers everywhere, the reality is simple: that statement doesn’t hold up when we consider heating and cooling units. If you only wait until your AC unit stops working before you call for help, you’ll find yourself facing more expensive repair bills and a unit in bad shape. Regular, routine maintenance once or twice per year can spot problems before they develop into major issues while keeping your unit running at peak performance.


Myth: You Need to Winterize Your Outdoor Unit


When you live in areas where it gets very cold during the winter — and there may even be potential for snow, however rare — you may hear others suggest “winterizing” the outdoor unit for your air conditioner. In reality, you should avoid doing this. Covering up your outside unit turns it into a warm and inviting place for animals such as rats, which could subsequently cause damage to interior components. If you’re worried about protecting your unit during prolonged periods when it isn’t in use, cover the top with a plywood board — but don’t run your unit again without first clearing any obstructions.


Myth: You Can Do DIY Repairs on Most Issues


Fixing an air conditioner isn’t like changing the oil on your car or changing that tricky recessed lightbulb high up on the bathroom ceiling. With harsh chemicals and high levels of electrical power at play, trying to perform your own maintenance at home is a recipe for a potential disaster. There is a good reason why HVAC technicians require licenses and extensive training. Instead of handling a problem yourself, leave dangerous HVAC myths like this behind and instead opt for help from a professional that can quickly diagnose and solve your issue.


Myth: Newer Systems Aren’t That Much Better Than Older Units


When you hear an HVAC technician suggests that it might be time to consider upgrading your AC unit, you might immediately think it’s a ploy to get you to spend more money. While it is true that you might not see many advantages from upgrading frequently, AC technology continues to advance. If your unit is 10 or 15 years older — or even older — then it’s very likely it isn’t making the best use of current energy-efficient technology. Replacing an old unit before it fails can help you avoid frustrating outages later and could even pave the way towards lower utility costs every month.


Myth: Units Last Longer the Less You Use Them


Some people prefer to let the temperature climb in the house, hoping to extend the lifespan of their unit. Others think they should let their unit run all the time, so it does not have to struggle through turning on and off frequently. However, neither of these myths is accurate. Less use could allow certain components to wear out faster, while continuous use will absolutely create unsustainable wear and tear. Instead, find sensible thermostat settings for different times of year and day, and invest in smart maintenance habits.


Myth: Filters Only Need Replacement 1 to 4 Times Per Year


If you put in a new AC filter and then forget about it for many months, you’re not only taxing your AC equipment, but you’re also not breathing the cleanest indoor air possible. Some people believe that filters need to be replaced only rarely, such as on a seasonal basis. However, the dirtier your filter gets, the less air flows through it, and the harder your system must work. That creates unnecessary wear while also driving up your energy bills. As always, you should change your filter at least every month to keep your system as dust and allergen-free as possible.


Get the Facts About HVAC Myths From a Trusted Contractor


The average homeowner doesn’t need to know much about the refrigeration cycle or understand concepts such as latent heat, but they should understand what’s fact and fiction about maintenance. When you know how to bust HVAC myths and stick to best practices, you can enjoy a more efficient and reliable operation with fewer stressful breakdowns. When you need help with your air conditioning unit or furnace, or if you aren’t sure about how it’s operating in some regard, contact a trusted HVAC contractor in your area today.