11 HVAC Mistakes Homeowners Should Avoid

August 21, 2023

three outdoor ac units

HVAC systems have become incredibly efficient over the past few years, helping homeowners pocket significant savings on energy costs while staying comfortable through changing weather conditions. However, the following mistakes can easily erase those savings, drive up costs,  and cause energy bills to skyrocket. This is especially true in seasons of extreme temperature like the summer. Some errors in use and maintenance can shorten the lifespan of the equipment or require costly repairs.

Here are a few common HVAC mistakes you should avoid making and how a Hamilton technician can help take care of your system.

11 Common HVAC Mistakes To Avoid

Here are 11 typical HVAC mistakes you can easily avoid. 

  1. Neglecting Regular Maintenance

    When your heating and cooling system is running well, it’s easy to commit an HVAC maintenance mistake by failing to keep up with regular inspections and tune-ups. Make sure to schedule regular maintenance checks by a Hamilton expert technician who can spot minor issues before they become system-wide problems. 

  2. Forgetting to Replace Air Filters

    Another HVAC maintenance mistake is forgetting to replace the air filter. When you don’t replace the filter, it gets clogged with contaminants, preventing it from doing its job properly. A dirty air filter forces the entire system to work harder, leading to more strain, breakdowns, and higher energy bills. 

  3. Ignoring Strange Noises or Odors

    You’ve probably heard an unfamiliar noise in the house and wondered if it’s a problem. Generally, a one-off sound or smell isn’t a problem, but hearing or smelling something multiple times may indicate a mechanical issue within your HVAC system.

    Common concerning sounds include:

    • Chugging

    • Stuttering

    • Grinding

    • Squealing

    Concerning odors include:

    • Burning

    • Rotten eggs

    It’s best to contact an HVAC professional to take a closer look. Even if it turns out to be nothing, it’s always better to be safe than sorry with HVAC systems. 

  4. Installing an Improperly Sized Unit

    Another HVAC installation mistake is choosing a system that’s too big or too small. An improperly sized unit fails to maintain proper temperature in the home and has a shorter lifespan. 

    An oversized unit cycles on and off in short bursts and won’t be able to control humidity or air circulation in the home. On the other hand, a small HVAC system won’t reach the temperature set on the thermostat and must work harder and longer, using more energy and increasing wear and tear. Ultimately, a system that’s too big or too small will fail to maintain proper temperature in the home and shorten its lifespan. 

    If you aren’t sure if your HVAC system is the right size for your home, call us at (913) 227-4943 for an evaluation. Our skilled professionals can install a new system if yours isn’t properly sized.

  5. Using a Restrictive Air Filter 

    A highly restrictive air filter may sound like a good idea since it can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns, but it will also make it difficult for air to pass through the system and into the home. If you’d like the HVAC system to also function as a whole-house air filtration system, the installer will need to make adjustments before completing the installation process. 

    Over time, air filters can become clogged with dust, dirt, pollen, bacteria, and other contaminants. This makes it difficult for clean air to pass through, forcing the system to work harder than necessary and driving up energy costs. We recommend replacing the air filter at least three to four times each year.

  6. Placing Outdoor Coils Too Close to Obstructions

    Another common HVAC mistake is trying to hide the outdoor unit by planting bushes and other landscaping around it. Obstructions near the outdoor unit cause higher monthly energy bills due to a lack of fresh air. 

    The crowded area may cause recirculated air to come through the unit, which can be up to 20 degrees higher than the ambient air. This causes energy consumption to increase by up to 20%.

  7. Shutting Off Vents 

    Shutting vents will not lower costs or improve efficiency. In fact, it could actually cause the system to freeze. The ductwork in a central AC system is built to circulate air throughout the entire home. But if the cold air is not released into the home and warm air is not drawn into the system, the coils can become very cold and develop frost. This negatively impacts the entire HVAC system.

  8. Using Refrigerant Additives

    HVAC manufacturers carefully design systems, including the oils and additives used in the compressor, to maximize performance. If you introduce different additives, you will see negative results and potentially damage the system.

  9. Using Chemical Cleaners on Coils

    It’s important to keep the HVAC system clean to maximize efficiency and reduce wear and tear. The best way to clean coils is with a garden hose. However, using cleaners with acidic or alkaline substances increases the risk of damaging the coils. Stick to water, and you’ll keep your system in good condition. If you need help cleaning your HVAC system, call Hamilton at (913) 227-4943.

  10. Performing DIY Repairs Without Proper Knowledge

    HVAC problems are usually not the type you can fix by doing it yourself. In fact, without background knowledge of this type of system, you run the risk of creating bigger problems rather than solving the existing concerns. You may even cause permanent damage that requires an expensive replacement service.

    Instead of taking the risk, contact Hamilton, and one of our experts will repair your HVAC system.

  11. Overlooking the Thermostat

Tiny but mighty, the thermostat can cause many HVAC problems. You shouldn't think of the thermostat as a separate component from your HVAC system but rather as a control panel. After all, the temperature you set will determine how hard your system works.

A common HVAC mistake is having your thermostat installed in an area susceptible to incorrect readings. It shouldn’t be close to heat-generating appliances and windows. You should set your thermostat at a consistent temperature and have it serviced regularly by an expert at Hamilton.

Another mistake is not upgrading your thermostat to a programmable model. Using a programmable thermostat will allow you better control of your home's temperature without watching it all the time—saving you money on energy bills. A programmable thermostat allows homeowners to set temperatures for particular times of the day and according to their own schedule.

Solve Your HVAC Problems by Calling Hamilton

Needless to say, an HVAC system requires proper care and maintenance to run at an optimal level. That’s why having an experienced HVAC service on call is good. If you have any questions or would like to schedule HVAC services in Kansas City, call Hamilton Plumbing, Heating, and A/C at (913) 227-4943 to speak to an expert.

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Last Updated: May 31, 2024