Tricks aren’t fun when it comes to your HVAC system. As the season transitions to fall, and our long summer draws to a close, your HVAC needs will start to shift from cooling to heating. Even though we have mild winters here in the Phoenix area, a well-functioning heater is essential for every home. But many homeowners fall for common myths and misleading information about their home’s heating system. Here are the facts behind the fall HVAC and heating myths we hear most often.
Myth 1: It’s always better to repair a heater than to replace it.
Fact: Sometimes, a system replacement makes more practical and financial sense.
For minor problems here and there, it’s fine to schedule a repair for your heating system. But for major problems and glaring issues, replacing the system may make more sense. Here are a few scenarios where a replacement is probably a better choice than a repair.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average lifespan of a furnace is 15–30 years, while the average lifespan of a heat pump is 15 years. If your system is older than that, it’s time to consider a replacement. Newer systems combine improved operation with increased energy efficiency to save you money in the long run.
Do you find yourself scheduling repair after repair for your home’s heater? Maybe there’s a component that always needs replacing, or one that’s always failing to do its job. Not all older heating systems need frequent repairs, but if yours does, you might want to consider the financial implications. Instead of throwing money at a system that’s on its last legs, saving up for a new system might be the money-saving choice.
An old or inefficient heating system will often have problems heating every room in the home to the same comfortable level. Faulty or worn-down ducts can also make it harder for your heater to distribute warm air. You may experience cold zones in a certain room or area of the home. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, you may find that one room is blazing hot while the others are chilly. The easiest way to fix uneven heating for good is to replace your heater.
Skyrocketing energy bills
If your energy bills have risen dramatically, your heater may be to blame. Older heating systems are largely inefficient to begin with, but this inefficiency gets worse with age. When a system starts to break down, it will use more energy as a result. A newer, more efficient system can help bring your energy bills back down to manageable levels.
Myth 2: Replacing furnace filters isn’t important.
Fact: Replacing your filter every month is good for your furnace (and your wallet).
Changing your furnace filter regularly helps keep the air in your home free of dust and other pollutants. It also keeps the furnace safe from these contaminants as well. A clogged filter restricts airflow, which can cause the furnace to overheat and shut down. While most furnaces will automatically reset, the shutdowns will continue to happen. Fortunately, the solution is easy; just swap out the filter for a new one. The benefits of changing your filter every month include:
One of the most common causes of a heating-system breakdown is a dirty filter. Dust buildup compromises airflow and leads to the system’s motor having to work harder. All that hard work turns into wear and tear. But a fresh filter every month ensures that dust, dirt, and debris won’t be able to impact airflow.
Reduced energy costs
Did you know that heating and cooling account for nearly half of the energy usage in the typical home? That can add up to a significant chunk of change if your system isn’t running efficiently. A clogged air filter makes your heater work harder, resulting in more energy use. With more energy use comes a higher energy bill. Changing your filter regularly ensures that your system can run efficiently, saving energy and money in the long run.
Improved air quality
Dirty air filters can exacerbate allergy and asthma symptoms. Dust, pollen, and other allergens can also spread throughout the air when the filter is too dirty to trap them. By changing your filter every month, you can breathe easy knowing that the air in your home is clean.
Myth 3: Since it doesn’t get very cold here, heater maintenance isn’t necessary.
Fact: Even in mild climates, a well-functioning home heating system is important.
Maintaining your heater is just as important as maintaining your air conditioner. Even though the Phoenix area has famously mild winters, it does get a bit chilly at times. In recent memory, 2019 marked one of the coldest winters on record for the Phoenix area, with a median temperature of 55.6 degrees. It’s not uncommon for temperatures to reach near-freezing or even below freezing during winter nights. If your heater isn’t working correctly, your home could become uncomfortably cold. But a home that’s too cold isn’t just uncomfortable—it can be dangerous too. If your home is too cold, your pipes can freeze and, in extreme cases, burst, leading to potentially catastrophic water damage.
Bottom line is, having your heater maintained can help you avoid everything from chilly winter nights to potential damage to your home. It’s a good idea to schedule heater maintenance during the fall, before it starts getting colder outside. That way, a professional can identify and fix any problems before they turn into larger headaches. After all, you wouldn’t want to turn on your heater for the first time only to find that it’s not working.
When it comes to maintenance, it’s best to work with a company you know will be thorough. At Hays, we include the following in seasonal heater maintenance checks:
- Replace or clean air filters
- Check thermostat operation
- Check ductwork and static pressure
- Inspect fuses
- Tighten electrical connections
- Oil and check blower motor
- Inspect indoor coil for buildup
- Check access valves for leaks
- Check refrigerant
- Oil and check outdoor fan motor
- And several other individual inspections
Heating Questions? Ask Hays
Don’t get tricked by common myths that could cost you money and waste energy. Trust the professionals that know HVAC inside and out. Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing focuses on exceptional service, competitive pricing, and staying true to our family-owned values. Whether your heater is due for maintenance or you’re in need of a repair, contact Hays today.