5 Common Air Conditioning Mistakes That Are Costing You.

two plus two equals five. Fix mistakes that can cost you

We covered some of the errors that folks make when landscaping around their exterior units in an earlier post.  But today, we’re going to cover other common errors that impact your comfort during the warm months. Common air conditioning mistakes are simple to avoid when you know about their pitfalls.


Problem 1 – Too much fresh air

The first of the common air conditioning mistakes is enjoying the outdoors too much.  Many of us love those warm spring days and think we’d just love to get some of that fresh air into our homes.  So we open up a bunch of windows and doors and bask in the pretty weather.  But as the day warms up, we begin to complain because our home has gotten hot as the outdoor air floods the home.  As nice as fresh air sounds, most of us don’t actually want the indoors to be as warm as the outdoors.  We also don’t want the dirt and pollen coming in from outside.  Go outside to enjoy the nice weather and keep inside cool for you to return home and relax.

Problem 2 – Too much savings

Many people have heard the mantra over the last 30 years that setting your thermostat back when you aren’t home will save you money on cooling bills.  This is true.  However, if you bump the temperature back more than about 5 degrees, the AC will be working very hard to restore the temperature.  On very hot days, it also means that your home will get hot, stuffy, and uncomfortable while you are at work, and it is unlikely that the air conditioning will have restored comfort before you get home.  So, you will come home from a hot day at work to a hot house.  Not the best for relaxing or falling asleep.  We have a saying in the industry… “you can save a ton of money by just being hot.”  Most of our customers realize that the money savings aren’t enough to compromise their comfort.  Stick to setting the thermostat back only 3-4 degrees during the day.

Problem 3 – Too little maintenance

Air conditioners are quite remarkable machines.  They take the heat from your house and deposit it outside through a process of superheating and then cooling refrigerant. Yet, we’ve come to take these amazing machines for granted.  We want to turn them on in April and have them work until October when we turn them off and expect it to work again in April.  Would you expect to run your car daily for 6 months, then park it for 6 months and then expect it to work again with no maintenance ever?  No, of course not.  The same is true of your air conditioner.  Common air conditioning mistake 3 is failing to complete regular maintenance.   Your air conditioning needs yearly maintenance to ensure that it is working correctly.  Fixing little problems can prevent big problems in the future.  Much like regularly changing the oil on your car can prevent the engine seizing up down the road. An annual maintenance contract can ensure the maintenance is done on both heating and cooling equipment and at a discount too!

Problem 4 – Too much dirt

The filter on your unit is responsible for catching any dirt or debris that might make it into your home comfort system.  Most people know these should be changed, but do not change them nearly as often as needed.  When the filter gets fully blocked with dirt, dust, and debris, the air cannot pass through the filter.  This can lead to the unit freezing up in the summer.  It seems impossible that on a 90° day you could be creating a 3ft square block of ice in your air conditioner, but it’s true.  And when that happens, we cannot fix it until the giant block of ice has melted, which means 24hrs of a hot house.  One of the most common causes for this is a dirty filter.  So, change those filters.  The pleated paper style that you buy at the hardware store generally need to be replaced once a month.  If you need advice on selecting a filter, check out our filter video.

Problem 5 – Too Much Expectation

On the hottest days of the summer, those rare DC days that slip above 100°, we start to get calls from customers who are feeling warm in their house.  They have the thermostat set at 65° and they can’t get it below 75° inside.  Unfortunately, your air conditioning is not a refrigerator.  It should easily be able to get your home 20° below the outside temperature.  Anything below that has more to do with your home’s insulation than with the cooling system.  Now, you can help you home out.  Knock temps lower at night when the distance between the temperature outside and the temperature you want is smaller.  Close drapes/shades to keep out the sun.   Don’t drop the temperature during the work day on those super hot days to leave your system fighting even further against the temps in the hottest part of the day.  Then grab a Popsicle and remember that those extra hot days rarely last more than a few days in a row.


If you are having a problem that isn’t covered by these common air conditioning mistakes, contact Climate Heating and Cooling at 703-750-4008.  We can help solve your comfort problems in the DC Metro Area.  We serve communities including Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax, Vienna, Rockville, Bethesda, Largo, District Heights, Georgetown, Anacostia, Brentwood, Woodley Park, and the entire DMV.

Corey Rodgerson

Corey is a third-generation HVAC technician. Both of his grandfathers started in the trade in its infancy and both of his parents continued the tradition with Climate Heating & Cooling. Corey has earned master's licenses as an HVAC Mechanic, Electrician, Gas Fitter, and Plumber. He has been certified in lead remediation, building performance through BPI, and he has completed five NATE certifications for service and installation of HVAC units. He is committed to training and deploying the best technicians in the industry.

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