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9 Air Conditioner Myths You Really Need to Stop Believing

No, your air conditioner is not going to give you a cold. Learn what other AC myths you can stop believing now.

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man spraying air conditioner with a hoseromarti/Shutterstock

You don’t need to clean fins and coils

Air conditioning evaporator coils and fins allow heat to pass from the refrigerant in the system into the air, just as condenser coils absorb heat from inside the house. This important process of moving heat can be impeded by layers of dust and grime. If you never check on your coils, that grime is costing you money and decreasing efficiency. Clean your air conditioner at the beginning of the warm season and check it from time to time, especially after storms or high winds, to make sure your coils and fins stay clear. Did your air conditioning start to smell bad all of a sudden? Here’s what might be causing it.
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Turn your temperature lower for quicker cooling

This common mistake comes from the old days when many homeowners didn’t know how their AC systems worked. People frequently turned their thermostats really low, thinking the AC would cool the room or the house faster. It doesn’t. The AC works just as hard to lower the temperature by one degree as it does to lower it by 20. It’s just a matter of time and the settings you have chosen. So program your thermostat to exactly where you want it, not lower than you need. Don’t have AC? Here’s how you can cool your house down without it.
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A residential central air conditioning and heating unit sitting outside a home.Christian Delbert/Shutterstock

The bigger the unit, the better

AC units are carefully sized to the amount of cubic feet they need to cool. That’s particularly important when purchasing a new AC unit or renovating your house. If an AC unit is rated for a smaller space than you have, it will work too hard to cool the air, wear out more quickly, and struggle to meet the demands of the thermostat. If the AC unit is rated for a larger space than you have, it will constantly turn on and off, wearing itself out and growing undependable over time. Pay attention to capacity and pick the right unit for the space you have. Here’s how you can lower your air conditioning costs.
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A worker sets air conditioner in apartment and talking on the phonePavel L Photo and Video/Shutterstock

Better to let an air conditioner run until it quits

The initial cost of replacing your AC unit is high, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid a new purchase. Don’t make the mistake of keeping your old air conditioner longer than you should. An old air conditioner will perform poorly, cost you more money in repairs, and eventually become more trouble than it’s worth. If your AC unit is ten to 12 years old or older, investing in a newer, more efficient version will save you money and aggravation over time.

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Close the vents in rooms you don’t use

Usually this does not save energy. The way a residential heating and cooling system is designed, the air handler (or blower) moves a certain amount of air no matter which vents are open or closed. Closing registers may reduce the total air moved by the blower, which reduces its efficiency. Don’t forget to browse through the best portable air conditioners that keep you cool in any space.

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clean air conditionerFamily Handyman

Your AC unit is ready for summer without prep

Nope! Before the really oppressive heat arrives, make sure your air conditioner is ready to get to work. You may need to clear out dirt and debris, check the coolant level, and replace the fan filter. In addition to your AC unit, here are some other things you should clean in your home.

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tired man sitting on bedwavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

Your AC will give you a cold

Viruses, not cool temperatures, cause colds. The idea that being cold—or going outside with wet hair—can make you sick is one of the old wives’ tales that should be debunked.

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thermostatFamily Handyman

Leaving the temperature at the same setting all day will save money

You can cut five to 20 percent off your energy bill by setting your cooling system four to six degrees warmer when you’re at work or on vacation, and automatically lowering it to 78 degrees when you’re home. Learn about more home improvement myths that need to be busted.

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ceiling fan in a living roomFamily Handyman

Fans will cool you down

Ceiling fans save you money by keeping you comfortable at higher thermostat settings. Each degree higher than 78 degrees will save you five to ten percent on air conditioning costs. The moving air from a ceiling fan increases the amount of evaporation from your skin and helps cool you off. Is your AC acting up? Next, check out the 10 air conditioning mistakes you can’t afford to make.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman