When Should You Worry About An AC That Can't Keep You Cool?


Your home's air conditioner typically only needs to do one thing: keep the heat away. On hot summer days, a properly functioning air conditioner can turn your home into an oasis against the searing air outside. However, anyone with an air conditioner has probably experienced situations where their system can't seem to keep up with the heat.

Depending on other factors and symptoms affecting your system, this situation may indicate an underlying problem. Understanding when to contact an HVAC technician can help you save money, stay comfortable, and maintain your system's efficiency.

Understanding How Air Conditioners Cool Your Home

Your air conditioning system is effectively a large conveyor belt for heat energy. The system uses refrigerant to continuously transfer heat energy from your home into the outside environment. Inside your home, the evaporator coil's primary role is to help transfer this energy to the refrigerant, reducing the surrounding air's temperature.

AC manufacturers must walk a thin line when designing evaporator coils. If the coil can't absorb enough heat, your home won't cool down quickly enough (or at all). On the other hand, reducing air temperature produces condensation and dehumidifies the air. As a result, a coil that gets too cold will create ice, insulating the coil and preventing further heat transfer.

Designing a system that gets just cold enough means that most air conditioners can reduce your home's interior temperature up to 18 degrees. This value is the difference between the air at your return vent (warmer) and supply vents (colder). If your home is well-insulated, your air conditioner will provide a larger temperature drop by continuously cooling the already-cool interior air.

Recognizing the Warning Signs of Trouble

Air conditioning systems can struggle to keep up for a variety of reasons. On incredibly hot days, your home may gain heat faster than your system can remove it. Your system is working fine as long as the difference between the temperature at the return vents and supply vents is within the manufacturer's specifications.

However, you may have a serious problem with your system if this temperature differential seems to be shrinking. Common problems that can cause this situation are refrigerant leaks, damaged or dirty coils, or airflow problems. These issues will often cause your system to short-cycle, which may result in the compressor shutting off and the house blower continuing to push warm air.

Ultimately, it can be hard to tell as an end-user if your system is struggling to keep up with exterior conditions or if there's a genuine repair issue. Since many air conditioning issues can result in more severe and expensive damage when unaddressed, erring on the side of caution is often a good idea. If your system seems to be struggling, calling a local HVAC technician is never a bad idea.

Contact a local company to learn more about air conditioning repair.


26 July 2023

all about attic ventilation

While sitting in my living room on a hot summer day, I could feel the heat coming through the ceiling out of my attic and making the house warm up more than it should. I crawled up into the attic one evening to find out that the roof vents weren't working any longer because they were clogged with all sorts of debris. Did you know that when this happens, your home's temperature can rise to very uncomfortable levels? Did you know that your home could actually be damaged if the attic isn't well vented? This blog will show you all about attic ventilation.