There are a plethora of myths about air conditioners. Here, we will look at some of the most common Air Conditioner Myths and discuss the facts that debunk them.
Myth #1 – Newer and Bigger is Better
You may find that your air conditioner seems to be struggling to keep your house cool. Many people would think that they need a newer, bigger air conditioner to replace the old redundant air conditioner. First, it is important to understand that the size of your air conditioner must suit the size of the space you are cooling – so bigger is not always better or more efficient. There are also other reasons that your air conditioner may not be working effectively and efficiently.
The position of your air conditioner is also important – if it’s in direct sunlight for a lot of the day, you may find that moving the air conditioner to a cooler, shadier position can help. The heat from the sun, or from televisions and lights, can trick the air conditioner into thinking that the room is warmer than it really is, causing it to overcompensate by running for longer than required.
It’s also worth considering that the problem may not actually be the air conditioner itself – substandard insulation and cracks around windows can hinder the efficiency of your air conditioning. Investing in heavy drapes is a cheap and less complicated way of insulating your house. Another good idea is to place plants in front of sunny windows. The plants will absorb the sun’s energy and this will increase the efficiency of your air conditioner.
Another major reason that your air conditioner may not be working efficiently is that it hasn’t been regularly maintained, which leads us to our next myth…
Myth #2 – Air Conditioners don’t need Regular Maintenance
Your conditioner certainly needs routine maintenance! It may simply need to be cleaned or it may need a full service by a professional air conditioning service. There is a difference of up to 5% efficiency between a dirty filter and clean one so regular maintenance checks can save you money in the long run.
Furthermore, if you don’t do regular maintenance checks on your air conditioner then you could end up having to make an emergency weekend call to a repair company who will charge you a higher fee for weekend work and leave you waiting for them on a hot and humid day! Regular maintenance checks can pick up on small issues before they become major problems.
Myth #3 – Air Conditioners Create Cold Air
Air conditioners do not let in or create a fresh air – they are more like a refrigerator that cools down the air that is already in the room. But this is not all they do - air conditioners can also reduce the humidity in the air using a drying feature. Humid, sticky air feels hotter than dry air - our temperature is vastly affected by humidity and we react to moisture-heavy conditions by sweating in order to maintain cooler body temperature.
Many air conditioners come with a built-in drying setting. It is more efficient to use this setting with the air conditioner set a few degrees higher, as opposed to ignoring the setting and having the air conditioner set those few degrees lower. However, some air conditioners don’t have this function, in which case you could simply use a dehumidifier in combination with your air conditioner to cool your house down more effectively and efficiently.
Myth #4 – Low-Temperature Settings Lead to Faster Cooling
Many people will walk into a hot house, turn the air conditioner on, and set the temperature much lower than desired as they believe the air conditioner will cool down the house faster. However, this is not how air conditioners work – they will cool the air at the same rate regardless of the thermostat setting. Another way of understanding this is through an analogy of driving – if you are driving from Melbourne to Adelaide, you are not going to get to Adelaide any faster by setting your GPS to Perth.
However, all that being said, there are some air conditioners (particularly window units) that have Low, Medium and High settings. In this case, initially setting the air conditioner to High will actually speed the cooling of your home. You should remember to turn the air conditioner down once your home feels adequately cool, that way you aren’t wasting extra energy or money.
Myth #5 – Leaving it on All Day is More Efficient
A lot of people are under the impression that their air conditioner has to work twice as hard to cool down their house when they return home after being out for all or part of the day. This is simply not true. Most air conditioners are programmable so you can set the air conditioner to turn on half an hour before you get home to prepare for your arrival. This is much more efficient than leaving the air conditioner on all day. The air conditioner will also run more efficiently when it is turned on at full speed for short bursts of time, as compared to leaving it on at the same temperature all day long.