We hear a lot of misconceptions about maintaining your commercial HVAC system.
Here is what we want you to know about maintaining your heating and cooling system the right way—despite what you may hear or any misconceptions you may have.
Misconception: An upgrade is needed once you reach a certain point in a system’s life
Just because your furnace isn’t working as efficiently as it SHOULD be, doesn’t necessarily mean the right solution is automatically getting a new furnace or upgrading your current system. And, just because your system reaches a certain age, doesn’t mean you automatically need a new one, either!
Before suggesting or recommending a new furnace that may not need replacing, we can offer alternatives. For example, we offer energy audits that identify specific areas of your home that can benefit from changes; it may be insulation, ductwork and ventilation—and not necessarily an entirely new system.
It’s true, however, that if your system is no long effective, no longer heating and cooling properly, your energy bills are creeping up, and it’s reaching the end of its life—and if it’s no longer under warranty—it may be time for a new system.
Misconception: You should (always) change filters ‘just’ once or twice a year
You never want to neglect regularly changing out your air filter. Changing your air filter makes sure your system isn’t having to work harder than necessary and it ensures it’s working as efficiently as it can.
If you don’t change it out on time, your air filter can become excessively dirty, and it can lead to excess growth of bacteria and mold. And, with less air circulation, you will have more air pollutants in your home or office building. That can negatively impact air quality (and comfort) and even your health.
General guidelines for when to do so:
- For small apartments/condos or single occupant without a pet: Twice a year, unless we told you otherwise or if there is something like nearby construction happening close to where you live.
- Office setting: this can really vary, but an average, every two months.
- Typical home with 1 pet: at least every 90 days, or more often if we told you so. Depending on your family’s lifestyle (use of tobacco, etc.) and things like allergies or young kids, this could be more often.
One note: anytime you have a pet or someone with allergies, we recommend changing the air filter out every 20-60 days, at minimum.
Some people think that they only need to change their air filters once or twice per year, but we recommend asking us for your specific space and your family or business’ specific situation. Again, always go with what we tell you when we’re at your residence or office building!
Misconception: You should ignore rising heating and cooling expenses
One or two months go by you may just wait and see why the heating or cooling costs seem to be higher than normal. We recommend you don’t ignore this at all, in fact it can be a leading indicator that something is going wrong, or has gone wrong, with some aspect of your heating and cooling system. Call us immediately if you suspect your system isn’t working as efficiently or effectively as it has been in the past.
Misconception: Air sealing and insulation are the same
Insulation, and insulation materials, can be confused with air sealing, and although they are related in some ways in terms of the comfort and control of air in your home, these are different aspects that impact your air quality and HVAC efficiency.
Rather than block air, insulation is really what we use to slow heat transfer in a building or in a home. Put simply, insulation is what helps to keep your home warm, and it’s what can also keep your home cool.
Insulation is important because it reduces how fast heat leaves a building. In the summer months, insulation is what will help to keep the sun’s heat out of the office or out of the home.
Many people get confused, in part due to products such as spray foam insulation, thinking that insulation materials are how you stop air leaks. But insulation does very little to stop air coming in through leaks and holes in a building, for the most part.
Just keep in mind that insulation is not necessarily stopping air leakage; a better way to stop air blowing in and out of the home is typically air sealing. Air sealing materials are what act more as air barriers: these might include sheets of materials like plywood, drywood, polyethylene, caulk and/or weatherstripping to get the job done. These prevent air from flowing through all the holes and cracks we inevitable have in our buildings or even through the floors (1).
The takeaway: these two materials work together, but airtightness and insulation are different issues.
Misconception: Tune-ups can be missed every once in a while
Tune-ups should NEVER be missed, and missing a seasonal check-up puts your family or employees’ safety and security at risk.
As a locally owned and operated company, Greater Comfort’s team has more than 30 years of unmatched service—bringing a special brand of expertise and customer service to every job we perform. Our certified technicians provide you with a preventative maintenance plan that gives you peace of mind that everything is being take care of, and that your system is working as efficiently as possible.
If we see that something does need replacement or repair when we come in for the seasonal HVAC tune-up, delaying that process can do more damage or it can impact other parts of the system. Not only that, but if something isn’t working as it should, it really is harder on your system overall.
Misconception: All air filters are the same
MERV ratings can help you navigate between different kinds of air filters. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiently Reporting Value.
Think of it as an evaluation of the effectiveness of the air filter. MERV is important but there are other factors that can be taken into consideration.
For example, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, an air filter that blocks too much air flow is also not what you want, because it can cause improper flow of air through your system. All in all, you want an air filter that is right for the system, allows for proper flow of air, and of course one that is as effective as possible given such parameters.
Ask us for the best air filter for your building and your system. We value cost effective solutions that will also help extend the life of your system.
Misconception: Cranking the AC lower than desired will help cool a room more quickly
Turning your thermostat to 58 degrees—or some very cold temperature—will not cool your home any quicker! The same goes for cranking up the thermostat to 80 degrees when you come in after a hot day outside.
Neither will actually cool or heat your home any faster. Your air handler will only work as fast as it can, so no matter how low or high the temperature is set, you aren’t doing yourself any favors and you’ll just potentially over-cool or over-heat the house by accident.
Misconception: You have to deal with uneven temperatures
Uneven temperatures can be problematic in any office or home. But don’t think it HAS to be that way or don’t think you always just have to layer up (or take off layers) in certain meeting rooms or places in your office.
On the contrary, you can have a climate zone system installed which can even out temperatures in all your rooms and all areas of your building. By taking advantage of a zoning system (such as motorized modulating dampers inside the ductwork) you can open and close in partial increments.
These small changes make a major difference in temperature control, precision and overall comfort…whether that be in corner offices, high floors and spaces, or even the basement.
Misconception: Electric space heaters save money
The reality is electric space heaters don’t actually save that much money, in the majority of cases. If you are going to use it for a very short period of time, yes, it might save if the room is well insulated.
But remember that they also take quite a bit of energy and may just be an expense that would be similar to turning on the furnace. Ask us for budget-friendly options and recommendations specific to your building or home.
Your-Go to Commercial HVAC Services Team
Whether it’s install or upgrade, service, or repair, we take pride in providing you with cost effective solutions that can make a meaningful difference for your building or property.
Partner with Greater Comfort for:
Experience and quality. Our experienced, knowledgeable HVAC technicians will get it right. Your comfort is our promise.
Responsive and friendly service. It’s our mission to get your system working properly, as quickly as possible.
Innovation and efficiency. We’re committed to leading the way with our innovative, custom solutions. At the same time, we know you value high-efficiency solutions, which is why we’re able to balance the two.