What to Know: Air Conditioners and 100 Degree Days

When the days are approaching and above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and fall, many of us turn down the thermostat to keep it cool!  But sometimes, it seems our air conditioner or heat pump just cannot keep up with the heat. In some cases, that means a repair needs to be made. In other cases, it might mean that your air conditioner has reached its capacity. Here’s what you need to know to tell the difference.

Air Conditioners Have Limits

It’s true that air conditioners do have limits when the outside temperature is extreme.  This means that your air conditioner may be able to keep your home at 77 or 78 degrees when it is 104 degrees outside. But it might not be able to cool it down to 70 degrees during the heat of the day. If your air conditioner struggles to keep you as cool as you like during the day, and then it does fine when the sun goes goes down – this might mean that you are at your system’s capacity. Extreme temperatures, especially those that go on for days at a time, can make it seem like your air conditioner isn’t cooling when your HVAC system is really giving you all it has.

Turning the Thermostat Lower Doesn’t Help

In a perfect world, you lower the temperature if you’d like it to be cooler indoors. When it’s very, very hot outside, and your air conditioner is struggling to maintain 78 degrees indoors, turning down the thermostat isn’t going to help. Another way to tell that your air conditioner is doing all it can to keep you cool is to check the outdoor condensing unit. It should be running a lot. And cool air should be blowing indoors. When it is extremely hot, air conditioners do their best to first remove the humidity from the air, then transfer the heat in the home back outdoors through that condensing unit. Condensers are “the outdoor box” that blows hot air. What it is doing is transferring that heat back outdoors. As heat builds up, transferring heat becomes more difficult and your system works harder and harder. It catches up when the sun goes down, though.

There Are Other Ways to Crank Up the Cool

You might consider other ways to help your air conditioner on those rare days when air conditioners are working at capacity. Turning on a ceiling fan or a room fan to increase the circulation of air adds to the cooling effect. It is a pretty easy and inexpensive fix if you aren’t quite cool enough. It will give you the sensation of being a few degrees cooler. Sometimes the difference in a few degrees on a very hot day can increase your indoor comfort.

A more expensive fix might be to add a ductless mini-split system to a room that is consistently too hot. The advantage of this type of solution is that it is compact, effective and very energy efficient. If you have that pesky media room or upstairs loft that is consistently a problem, make sure you get expert advice from a licensed air conditioning contractor because sometimes fixing a warm room may not warrant an expensive solution. Sometimes, vents can be repositioned and cool air redirected to the room that isn’t receiving enough.

We Can Help

Call Rob and Kenny at Terry’s A/C and Heating at 281-495-7830. Located in Richmond, Texas and serving the greater Southwest Houston and neighboring communities, we can help you determine if your air conditioner isn’t working, if it has a refrigerant leak, needs some air balancing, or if everything is looking good but struggling a bit because of a heat wave.  We service all makes and models of air conditioning and heating equipment and are a Carrier Factory Authorized dealer. We want to be your indoor comfort concierge!