The Inside Scoop on HVAC: Common Myths Debunked

Myth I: I Only Need to Replace My Filter Every 90 days

Reality: Filter maintenance is one of the easiest and most cost effective things you can do to help your system run efficiently and last for years to come. Often, customers will purchase a 90 day filter and leave it in their system assuming they are good to go. One of our expert staff, Ben Bocox, recommends checking your filter every 30 days, regardless of how long it is rated to last. We all live in active homes that can have pets, children, and spouses or people who smoke and all of these impact the length of the life on your filter. Fluctuations in temperature or extreme temperatures can also shorten the effective life of your filter and result in a less efficient system. “If it looks dirty, change it.”


Myth II: Shutting Air Vents Will Reduce My Energy Bill

Reality: This is a common tactic used by homeowners to try to save money by not heating or cooling an unused room. While we strongly recommend against this, if you are going to close your vents, do not shut them completely. Here’s why: your duct work is designed to only handle so much air flow. It’s a lot like a water hose, if you partially close off the opening it will require more pressure to get the water out of the hose. When you close off an air vent, your furnace now has to work much harder to push air out of the other open vents because of the increased pressure of the unevaluated air. Additionally, when you stop controlling the climate within a room, the ambient temperature can leak between walls and result in rooms having uneven heating or cooling, because one wall is significantly hotter or colder than the rest of the room.


Myth III: Cranking the Thermostat Will Change the Temperature Faster

Reality: “Over shooting a target temperature is just wasting gas or electricity,” Ben Bocox explains. Your system is going to heat up or cool down in the same amount of time regardless of where you set the thermostat. The best way to get your home to a comfortable temperature is to set it and leave it. For example, if you set your thermostat to a higher temp than you want to heat up more quickly, you will have to turn it off or reduce the temperature which makes your system work in spurts rather than at an even level resulting in extra energy being used.


Myth IV: When I leave My Home, I Can Shut Down My System to Save Energy

Reality: You should never turn your system completely off. It can take so much energy to get your home back to the comfort level you want and you will end up spending more than you saved while the system is shut down. Ben recommends that if you are going to be gone eight hours or more, set your thermostat back 3 to 4 degrees. If you’re going to be gone for less time, just leave it set. If you are going to be gone for extended periods of time you can give yourself more leeway in the range of 10 to 12 degrees, but you will want to be mindful of possible weather and temperature changes that might happen in your absence.

Don’t hesitate to call Doug’s Heating & Air Conditioning at 309-764-2500 if you have any questions. Ben Bocox and our other HVAC experts are always happy to help!