Properly running, maintaining and getting the most out of your HVAC system is a top priority of any building manager or owner. And yet, there are a host of misconceptions that can railroad that objective and affect the bottom line.
Just like the tooth-fairy and the alligators in the sewers, the following 10 myths are the source of some serious confusion. Understanding them is the first step to getting the most out of your heating and air conditioning.
Myth#1: Air filters do not need to be changed on a regular basis.
Over time dirt, dust and moisture block air filters. Though a variety of air quality factors affect how quickly, generally the dirtier they get the less efficiently your equipment will run. Not only does this mean trouble down the road, it can have a big impact on budgets.
Myth #2: It is not necessary to hire a company to change the air filter; we can do it ourselves.
Most business owners and or facility managers are busy managing personnel, operations, financial concerns and more, and don’t have the time to properly inspect, or change air filters on a regular basis.
Myth #3: An air filter only needs to be changed once a year.
An HVAC service professional who understands your building and usage will make a professional estimation of how often your systems filters should be changed. And if you have a preventative maintenance agreement, they will also ensure air filters are replaced on schedule.
Myth #4: Moving the thermostat all the way up, or all the way down will heat or cool a building faster.
A thermostat is simply a regulator that instructs your heating system when to turn on and off based on the temperature that you want the room or building to maintain. It will not work harder or faster if you raise it or lower it, just as an elevator will not come any quicker if you push the button over and over.
Myth #5: Turning the AC off when you leave a building is counter-productive as it requires more energy to get going again.
The bottom line is that you always save money when equipment is not running yet every situation is unique. Turning the AC off when leaving a building for a length of time may be appropriate however turning it off in extreme hot weather in the evening and starting back up again the next morning may be taxing to a system.
Programmable thermostats can assist by adjusting appropriately based on building usage. Additionally a good HVAC service provider can provide direction for the most economical and efficient running of your system.
Myth #6: A thermostat’s location does not affect the heating and cooling.
Thermostats read the temperature of the proximal location where they are installed. If a thermostat is located near a heat source such as a very sunny window or wall copy machines then it may providing an inaccurate read of the overall environment. As a result the system may be unnecessarily overcompensating—which is not only expensive, but often uncomfortable for tenants or employees.
Myth #7: Closing the vents in unused rooms can save you money.
Closing a vent in a room will not save money. It will eventually throw off the system’s balance and potentially lead to other issues such as leaks caused by the pressure build up in the ductwork.
Myth #8: Routine maintenance is not necessary – “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
You would not drive your car for miles and miles without changing the oil, rotating the tires or replacing the brake pads. So why would anything be different when it comes to heating and air conditioning would not need the same attention and service? HVAC units need to be maintained on a regular basis.
Repairs are not always apparent, but regular maintenance helps to ensure that little problems don’t turn into big ones. In addition, a poorly maintained HVAC system can have big implications for a business’s bottom line.
A good preventative maintenance contract will provide for scheduled inspections to ensure peak performance and potentially last past its expected life span.
Myth #9: Service agreements are too expensive.
Energy Vanguard’s Allison Bailes recently published an article on The 7 Biggest Mistakes HVAC Contractors Make. Guess what was on the list? That’s right. “Trying to be the low bidder.” Here’s what he has to say:
“When contractors try to get low-bid work, they have to keep all their costs as low as possible. They hire poorly trained techs and then don’t do enough—or anything—to get them trained properly and keep them updated. They use equipment that won’t last. They do the least work they possibly can on the distribution system. […]”
Good service contracts with reputable HVAC service providers do cost money. But the negative impact of equipment failure or inefficient systems can far surpass that cost. Customer and employee discomfort can cause loss of business and productivity issues. (For statistics and more on your HVAC system’s impact on workplace efficiency and soft costs download our white papers.)
Myth #10: Service agreements are a waste of money.
The inconvenience, frustration and issues related to system malfunctions can be costly in parts, labor and potentially system replacement, and can all be avoided with proper maintenance. A good preventative maintenance agreement with a well- respected and properly vetted HVAC service provider is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
To learn more about preventative maintenance contracts, download our white paper on HVAC Preventative Maintenance Contracts: How to Choose the Right One for Your Infrastructure.