July 23, 2018
By Mark Paup

5 Big Misconceptions About Air Conditioning

Updated January 23, 2024

Central air conditioning systems are common for modern homes, but knowledge of how they work is quite uncommon. Of course, not everyone can be a trained expert in the refrigeration technology of air conditioning systems, but there are several misconceptions about air conditioners that HVAC experts run into all the time. A bit of knowledge can go a long way in the quest for the best home cooling, so we’ve listed five of the biggest misconceptions people have about home AC systems.

One: If there are no apparent problems, an AC doesn’t need regular maintenance

Or the related misconception: “An air conditioner doesn’t need maintenance every year.” The truth is that an air conditioner needs to have regular service to inspect and tune it up annually. (Spring is the best time for it, but any time during the year is better than not doing it at all.) If a homeowner skips routine maintenance simply because the AC appears to be working just fine, they’ll soon have an air conditioner that doesn’t work fine—or possibly not at all! Regular maintenance also protects energy efficiency, elongates system life, and keeps the warranty valid.

Two: The lower the thermostat setting, the faster the AC cools down a house

When you come home to a hot and stuffy house, you’ll be tempted to turn the AC on and push it down to its lowest setting, so you’ll have a cooler home much faster. But the AC doesn’t work this way! The thermostat setting is a target for the air conditioner, and it will run as long as necessary to reach it, wasting power to make a home too cold—and possibly damaging the AC’s indoor coils. We recommend never lowering the thermostat below 70°F.

Three: An AC needs its refrigerant to be occasionally “topped off”

An air conditioner doesn’t consume refrigerant as it runs. It circulates the same amount, known as the AC’s charge, throughout its service life. Under normal circumstances, there’s no need to put any more refrigerant into the system. Adding refrigerant will create an “overcharged” AC that will break down. An AC only needs more refrigerant added in case of leaks.

Four: The AC’s filter is there to clean the indoor air

Because people often assume the AC filter cleans their air, they don’t regularly replace the filter as long as their air seems fine. But this filter is there to protect the interior of the air conditioner, not clean household air. Unless the filter is changed out every 1 to 3 months, it will hamper AC efficiency and effectiveness.

Five: It’s normal to see ice on an air conditioner

It’s easy to understand why people believe this. An air conditioner sends out cold air, so wouldn’t a bit of ice be a side effect? But ice should never appear on an AC, the same way you don’t want ice built up in your refrigerator. If you see ice along the evaporator coil, call for air conditioning repair in Des Moines, IA right away—you may have a potentially serious malfunction.

Reach out to the Des Moines professionals when you need AC service. At Golden Rule, “We Obey the Rules to Live By!”

Contact Us Today for HVAC Service!

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