The Truth Behind HVAC Clichés: Common Scare Myths used by Technicians and Salespeople

facts about HVAC by Alpha Mechanical Fair Oaks California

Jake Smith, Online Marketing Strategist
Technically Reviewed by Jake Smith, Online Marketing Strategist on May 4, 2023 | Written by Alpha Mechanical Editorial Contributors

Ever since modern heating, ventilation and cooling have been around, there has been ineffectual advice passed from generations to generations. Some of these misconceptions come from well-meaning technicians attempting to lay the rules of the processes for a modern home in order to boost comfort. However, others claim to make an effort to save you money by costing more in the long run for their companies’ gain. Alpha Mechanical is dedicated to straightening these myths out by bringing about an understanding of your home’s HVAC system with quality truths in place of these HVAC cliches. In this article, we will go over HVAC myths to avoid and technician scare tactics in order to clarify what to do instead.

Common HVAC Myths

In this article, we will debunk some common misconceptions about HVAC systems as well as highlight the truth surrounding all HVAC processes. Our goal is to educate our customers and anyone interested in learning more about this in order that you can expect unfailing quality practices from your HVAC contractors. We see value in bringing you understanding for the purpose of making you aware of any potential scheme that could make you spend more money or waste your time.

HVAC Myth #1 R-22 Is Illegal

Fact: The use of R-22 is being phased out in the U.S. because of its harmful components to the ozone layer when discharged into the air. While the sale of R-22 in the country is now illegal, the continued use of this chemical that is found in older heating and air conditioning units is not. This chemical is no longer being imported, however, there are still companies that have been able to recycle and clean it from other units in order to make any repairs necessary on the units that do still use it.

The only instance where a substance like R-22 could bring about any legal issue is if you were to release it into the atmosphere without a permit for any other unlawful reasons. Other HVAC myths to avoid surrounding this subject are important to learn about to steer clear of air conditioning myths

HVAC Myth #2 A Bigger Unit Is Better

Fact: A myth that needs to be redacted by common HVAC facts is that your HVAC system is better if it’s bigger and more expensive. While the sizing of your unit is important, there are a lot of factors that go into determining the correct size HVAC system for your home. An HVAC professional should perform a heating and cooling calculation taking into consideration not just the square footage but also windows, ceiling height, insulation, etc. A unit that is bigger in size and/or power is not always necessary and could end up costing you your comfort, money and energy.

A more powerful system will be good for a certain home at times, but other times it can create long term damage from short-cycling or inconsistent static pressure. In the instance of having an HVAC unit on a business or manufactured building, commercial HVAC services in Fair Oaks and/or surrounding cities will be a contact point to consider the necessary size of the unit for the building. With variable-speed air conditioners or heaters, which come in full tons (a unit of measurement for a system’s power), oftentimes it can be advantageous to round up to the nearest tonnage even if the system does not use all of its heating or cooling capacity. You end up paying upfront for more power than you will be using.

AC Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping?

HVAC Myth #3 System Is Past Life Expectancy

Fact: This is one of those common HVAC cliches that technicians use to get you to buy the newest technologies. While a new system may make sense for you based on how long your home has had it, it is costly to replace a unit that still has life left in it. One of the most important HVAC facts is that HVAC units are designed to last 15 to 20 years in a home. This does not mean that other HVAC issues will not pop up. Even after the system has gone past its “lifetime”, that does not mean you need to replace it right then. If you have been using your system excessively or you have not been actively maintaining it with seasonal tune-ups, it may start to wear out sooner (12 to 15 years). Your system might be outdated even if you’ve replaced it in less than 5 years simply because new machinery gets created every few years.

HVAC Myth #4 No Longer Efficient

Fact: One of the misconceptions about HVAC systems is that once your system stops running efficiently compared to the newer top models, a company will immediately recommend purchasing a new one. HVAC units are one of the most expensive investments that homeowners put into their homes and not everyone is in a financial position to buy a whole new unit simply because newer energy efficiency technologies have been created. Get as much life as you can from your current system until you are able to switch it up for the comfort of your home and peace of mind.

If you are in the Sacramento area and a company has given you this opinion, we recommend calling our professionals at Alpha Mechanical for a second opinion. Oftentimes if your unit is not running efficiently, it could be that a minor (or major) repair needs to be done to extend the life. HVAC parts are replaceable and some older units have universal parts. A comparably simple repair can save you from a costly HVAC replacement process. Additionally, your home’s HVAC system’s energy consumption depends also on the set thermostat temperature throughout the seasons.

HVAC Myth #5 It Shows Signs Of Rust

Fact: A heat exchanger (or condenser) which lives outside is prone to rust as every part comes into contact with moisture. Rust is not always a legitimate reason to condemn a unit. If there is a crack or rupture in the heat exchanger then you will need to replace or repair it as soon as possible. However, rust on an AC coil does not indicate that a replacement is required nor does it mean that it will fail. Until something is cracked or leaking, rust is not necessarily an indicator that the whole unit needs to be replaced.

If you have an upgraded higher-efficiency model system (a variable speed unit), it is less likely that it will be compatible with universal parts. Nonetheless, there are replacement parts made for every unit. Once you determine that an AC coil is broken or there is a crack elsewhere, we are here to help with AC repair in Sacramento.

HVAC Myth #6 Mold inside your ducts

Fact: When mold is present in an HVAC unit, it presents as a big issue because this is where your home’s air flow comes from and circulates throughout each room. If a technician makes a claim as serious as mold, have that technician show you either by bringing you to the mold location or taking a picture of it.

A light film of dust can sometimes be mistaken and it is important to fully check these things out. This is another of the HVAC cliches to avoid without receiving a second opinion. Once you determine that mold is present, you can either replace the ducts or have them cleaned but a plan of action is crucial.

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HVAC Myth #7 Regular Maintenance Is Not Necessary

Fact: Keeping up with regular maintenance services prevent major system breakdowns and can prevent issues before they happen. Maintenance is a crucial component to ensure efficiency, comfort and preserving your system from damage. Good upkeep of your HVAC unit should be proactive, meaning that you are maintaining it before anything breaks down entirely. Just because your unit continues to run does not mean it is a healthy system especially if you have neglected maintenance tune-ups.

Do not be deceived by any HVAC misconceptions that lead you to believe that maintaining regular service can be put off until something breaks. If you are looking for a trustworthy company for maintenance services, Alpha Mechanical offers AC and heating tune-up in Sacramento.

HVAC Myth #8 You Need New Ductwork

Fact: Common HVAC misconceptions about ductwork is that they need to be replaced each time the HVAC unit gets replaced. The average lifespan of ductwork is between 30 to 50 years. You do not have to replace every duct in your home to improve a few rooms nor do you need to replace the ducts when you get a new system installed. This can be unnecessarily costly and impractical.

If you have recently moved into a new-to-you house, having the air ducts cleaned would be a proper move to remove any residual dust, dirt, skin, hair or nails that have been circulating through the system’s air stream. Another effective measure would be to increase the size of the ducts leading to the rooms that you need better airflow to. Relocating the duct altogether or enlarging it will allow it to hold the hot or cold air more efficiently. Duct repair and replacement services in Sacramento can be found here.

HVAC Myth #9 Not Under Warranty

Fact: Although your heating and cooling system may no longer be under warranty, that does not mean that it doesn’t need to be repaired, maintained or serviced. Warranty protection just means that your unit must meet specifications and that if it fails (while under warranty) the company will repair or replace the unit if necessary. No longer being under warranty simply means that the company will not foot the bill and it will become your responsibility once it expires.

The system can still be repaired as parts are available for purchase even if you have an older unit. While the company you originally bought your HVAC system from may not offer repairs themselves, there are several independent service providers who specialize in this area. Just because your unit is over 10 years old, does not mean you are left to replace it after the warranty has expired. With a little effort, there are always other options.

HVAC Myth #10 Thermostat Placement Doesn’t Matter

Fact: Myths about HVAC thermostats only cost everyone in the long run. Since certain areas of the home might spike or dip even if those temperatures do not reflect the rest of the home’s temperature. A few spots that would be a great placement choice would be on an interior wall, away from direct sunlight as well as major kitchen appliances and away from an adjacent window. It is important that a professional comes out to determine where to place the thermostat to avoid causing the system to malfunction. You want to place it where the temperature can be set to something comfortable and give you an accurate reading.

Final Thoughts

HVAC facts and myths are important to be clear on and clarify to fend off spreading misinformation for technicians commission gains. Identifying minor issues as well as reading up on common operations for your HVAC system will help you to avoid getting schemed. While there is some truth to each myth, a lot of it is dependent on your home’s current HVAC system, its age and whether you schedule regular maintenance services to keep a healthy system running and to avoid long-term damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it an HVAC myth that once my warranty expires on my unit I can no longer get it repaired?

No, once your warranty expires, the bill is no longer paid for by the company you originally purchased your heating and cooling unit from and you may have to find an independent specialist to repair any parts on your unit.

Is it a common HVAC misconception that the bigger the unit the less energy it uses?

Generally no, a bigger unit is not always better or more energy efficient because there are several factors to consider including the size of your home, the age of your current unit and the calculation made to determine the measurements needed for your home.

What is one of the more common HVAC cliches?

One common HVAC cliche is that if your unit is no longer running efficiently that you need to upgrade it with a newer technology system. This is not always true because oftentimes if your unit is not running efficiently there are other steps to take before replacing the entire unit.

Is it an HVAC fact that R-22 is illegal?

Although R-22 is no longer being imported because of its effects on the environment, using an HVAC unit that already contains R-22 is not only not illegal but repairs can still be done using this chemical.

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