What’s the harm in believing in a myth or a misconception? The only person it fools is the one believing it, right?
Well, if you have a family or even just one other occupant in your home, then believing in certain air conditioning myths can lead to not only discomfort, but a malfunctioning air conditioner that can fail on you years before its time. So what can you do about it? You can start by reading this blog post, learning what those myths are, and addressing your air conditioner when it needs attention. Read on!
Myth #1: Refrigerant Is a Fuel
You might have been told by a misinformed handyman at some point that refrigerant is a fuel–that it “runs out” like gasoline does from a car, and it needs to be refilled (recharged) on occasion.
Why is this myth harmful?
Well, refrigerant is not a fuel. It is a recycled chemical substance that makes the cooling process possible in your air conditioner. When your air conditioner loses refrigerant, it means that there is a leak that has to be properly located and recharged, but also repaired so that a leak never happens again.
The problem is, when your air conditioner leaks refrigerant, it means there isn’t enough chemical substance to absorb heat. This damages the coils as well as the compressor, leading to a potential air conditioner failure years before the system should fail.
Myth #2: The AC Air Filter Is Just There to Protect My Indoor Air Quality
Not only is this a myth, but the purpose of the AC air filter that came standard with your unit isn’t to protect the indoor air quality at all. Its actual purpose is to protect the interior components of the air conditioner from dust, dirt, and other debris.
What happens is that this air filter gets clogged up, and restricts airflow. So while your indoor air quality might seem fine–and probably is if you have other IAQ products in place–your air conditioner might be struggling without you knowing. When airflow is restricted, your air conditioner has to run longer to try to achieve the desired temperature on your thermostat, and therefore works inefficiently. This means wear and tear is exacerbated, and the lifespan of the system may even be shortened.
Homeowners should change or clean their HVAC air filters every 1-3 months depending on what type of filter it is and the level of contaminants in their home (a note here: “contaminants” can be anything from cleaning fumes to pet hair!)
Myth #3: I Can Do Maintenance and Repairs Myself
If you’re a trained HVAC professional with proper education, experience, and licensing sure! But attempting repairs on your own otherwise can do more harm than good for the system. Plus, doing repairs and maintenance on your own can void the manufacturer’s warranty. This means that if you have a problem due to a manufacturer defect a couple of years in, but you tampered with the air conditioner before then, that you might be financially liable for that repair, when it would have been covered by the warranty.