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Fact Checking 7 Popular Myths about Your Air Conditioner

For many Filipino families, an air conditioner is a staple appliance to have at home. Given the warm, tropical weather that the country experiences all year, this device is certainly useful, and sometimes even crucial, for keeping cool and comfortable indoors. However, despite its presence in almost every home and office, most people don’t actually understand how they work or know how to maintain the intricate mechanisms that keep them functioning.

With that said, it’s not surprising that aircons are often the subject of myths and misconceptions. Some myths come as “helpful” advice on aircon maintenance, while others attempt but ultimately fail to explain how they work. Unfortunately, these myths can lead to confusion and even harm if they result in improper usage or maintenance of AC units.

If you’re looking to save on electricity bills and extend the life of your AC so it can get you through another sweltering Philippine summer, it’s essential to separate fact from fiction. Here are some of the most popular myths about aircons:

Lowering the Temperature Setting Cools the Room Faster

Imagine this scenario: you’ve just arrived home, and your room feels like an inferno. To cool the room faster, you turn on the AC and set the thermostat to its lowest possible temperature setting. Contrary to what you think, doing this doesn’t actually cause the room to get cold faster, and the practice can actually cause your aircon to use more energy than needed.

ACs operate at a fixed rate, and if you are using an inverter aircon, it will automatically shut off once it reaches the temperature you’ve set on the thermostat. If you choose the lowest thermostat, the unit will have to run longer to reach your desired temperature. The room doesn’t cool faster, but your AC usage will consume more energy and potentially increase your electricity bill.

It Is More Energy-Efficient to Leave the AC on All Day

Because inverter aircons have the ability to automatically shut down, many people believe that it is more energy efficient to leave them running all day. While it’s true that turning on your aircon uses more power than maintaining an already cool room, your energy consumption ultimately depends on your usage. An aircon that is running 24/7 will obviously consume more energy than a unit that runs for only three hours, but there are certain caveats.

For instance, if you plan to leave the air-conditioned room for just an hour or two, it may be more advisable to leave your AC on but set it a few degrees higher than your preferred setting. This will allow it to reach your desired temperature faster when you arrive but consume less energy compared to setting it at a lower thermostat from the onset. However, if you’re leaving the house and plan to be gone for a few hours, turning your unit off before you leave is more energy efficient.

ACs Only Function to Cool the Air

While creating a cool and comfortable indoor environment is their primary function, aircons usually offer a lot more utility than just that. To cool your room efficiently, air conditioners also need to remove moisture from the air or dehumidify it. Too much humidity can damage electronics and furniture, encourage mold growth, and cause several health problems. As such, using an aircon in very humid areas can be beneficial to your health and belongings.

Additionally, many aircons now come with an air-purifying feature. Through the use of various filters, the AC is able to remove allergens, virus particles, and even bad odors from the air. This allows you to enjoy a cleaner, healthier, and much improved indoor quality when using the aircon.

All ACs Are Bad for the Environment

Many eco-conscious people worry about the impact that using air conditioners has on the environment. While ACs do require electricity to function, today’s newer models are designed to be more energy efficient. They also use eco-friendly refrigerants that do not contribute to ozone depletion. Therefore, it’s essential for homeowners to replace old air conditioning units with new ones that are safer and more energy-efficient. Make sure to properly dispose of old air conditioners so that they don’t become environmental pollutants.

ACs Only Need to Be Cleaned Once a Year

While it is recommended to clean your aircon at least once a year and preferably before the summer season, when you’ll be using it most, there are specific situations when cleaning must be done more frequently. Those living in a dusty environment or with pets would benefit from cleaning their ACs more frequently, or at least three times a year. This is especially important if you have family members who suffer from respiratory problems or allergies, as the buildup of dirt and dust can be harmful to their health. It’s also a great idea to have your split type aircon cleaned professionally by a technician, as it has a slightly more complicated system compared to a window type aircon.

Bigger ACs Are Better than Smaller Models

When it comes to ACs, bigger does not always mean better. Opting for a big aircon unit when you have a small room only results in excessive energy consumption, reduced efficiency, and higher electricity bills. An AC that is too big for your room or has a higher horsepower than needed may cool the air faster, but it may not run long enough to extract moisture from the air properly, thereby resulting in a cold but humid home. Make sure to select an appropriately sized aircon by measuring the area of the room and following the recommended aircon power for its size.

ACs Should Only Be Replaced When They’re Broken

Your AC may still be spewing enough air to cool your room, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t replace it. A malfunctioning unit that is less than five years old may still be worth repairing. However, if repairing the unit is more than 50% of the cost of replacing it, it’s probably more cost-effective to simply buy a new one. ACs that are over ten years old should also be replaced because these older models are generally not energy-efficient and may end up costing you more in electricity bills than if you just updated to newer models.

While you don’t necessarily have to know the principles of thermodynamics or brush up on your mechanical aptitude, understanding the most common myths surrounding air conditioners can help you use and maintain your unit more effectively. If you can separate fact from fiction, you can ensure that your unit functions optimally and provides maximum health benefits and comfort.

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