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Common HVAC Myths and HVAC Mistakes Newer Techs Make

What are some rookie mistakes in the HVAC industry? We've got a list!

Whether you’ve worked in the HVAC industry for twenty years or just one, at some point you had to learn the ropes. There is a vast amount of knowledge that you can acquire related to this industry. Most of it, you’ll learn by doing, but in this article, we’ll try to head off a few common issues at the pass. Check out our list of common mistakes and misconceptions that can trip up newer technicians.

When it comes to HVAC systems, bigger is not always better.

One of the most common mistakes, especially when starting out in the HVAC industry, is thinking that a bigger system is always going to be better for a home. In some cases, it can actually be worse. This can create an issue called “short cycling.” Short cycling means that the system will turn on and shut off prematurely on a frequent basis. This can damage the system in the long run, and may even cost a bit more in terms of energy consumption, since HVAC systems typically use the most power when they first turn on to begin the cooling/heating process. 

Duct tape is poorly named.

Just going by the name, one might logically conclude that duct tape could be used to fix a damaged or leaking air duct. This is very far from the truth. First, duct tape itself is actually not going to stick well to these kinds of surfaces. Moreover, it can peel off over time and can even melt when subjected to heat. Instead, use special aluminum foil tapes for issues that require some sort of adhesive.

There’s more to a house than square footage.

If you rely solely on the square footage of a home to recommend the size of a HVAC system your customer, then you may set yourself up for failure. Many other factors come into play when determining the appropriate system. You need to consider elements like insulation, ceiling height, ductwork, air leakage, windows (along with their size, condition and orientation), and ventilation. If the home has the wrong sized system, the customer can experience issues in the future. 

Take air ventilation and circulation into account.

Sometimes, HVAC techs can focus too much on heating and cooling and fail to factor in other information related to the ventilation of the home. Balancing positive and negative air pressure in a home—along with general air circulation—is a key factor in making sure the air quality itself remains high. The ductwork also contributes to the general air quality of the home.

Consider the thermostat’s location in the home.

The location of the thermostat in the home is actually a key factor in keeping the house at the best comfort level. Consider these four rules of thumb when deciding where the thermostat should go:

  1. It should be on an interior wall.
  2. It should not be adjacent to any windows.
  3. It should not be in direct sunlight
  4. It should not be close to major appliances in the kitchen.

You want to keep the thermostat somewhere more neutral to avoid the influence of external factors, like a kitchen oven. If you position your thermostat with those points in mind, you can run the system at a steadier and more even level to keep the entire house comfortable.

Of course, these represent just a few of the pitfalls awaiting new HVAC techs. Once you’ve gotten a little more experience, this information will become something that you don’t even have to think about. The more informed you are about everything in the industry, the better you can communicate with your customers and build a solid client base that trusts you and your ideas.