100º temperatures will be back early next week. These crazy hot temperatures not only put stress on your family, your pets and anyone working outside, it stresses out your air conditioning system too.
It never fails, every year, as soon as we approach 100º, we are flooded with calls from homeowners that believe their systems are not working because they aren’t cooling like they are accustomed to or they are not cooling down in the heat of the day. This is very common especially for upstairs systems, homes with vaulted ceilings or a lot of windows.
The first thing you should know is that your system is typically not designed for 100º heat. HVAC systems are designed for an average temperature in your area. Your system is also designed to cool to a maximum of 20º below the temperature outside. So when we are having average temperatures, you should have no problem cooling to 70º or 71º if you like. However, when we approach 100º or above, you will likely be doing good to cool to 80º.
While it may seem as if your system is not working, it is probably doing all it can during extreme temperatures. Many people at this point will ask why systems are not designed for higher temperatures. The short answer is, you can’t design a system to operate efficiently in the extremes and also have it work well in the averages. So we have to sacrifice during a few days of extreme temperatures in order to be comfortable the rest of the year.
Some easy ways to tell if you are actually having a problem or if it is just the heat are:
- Does the system eventually start keeping up in the middle of the night or early morning when the outside temperatures have cooled down? If the answer is yes, the problem is more than likely just the extreme heat outside.
- Is the system cooling some? If it is close to 20º cooler than outside, it is probably doing all it can. If it is closer to the outside temperature, you probably have an issue that needs service.
- Are there any signs of a problem such as a water leak at the indoor unit, ice on the indoor or outdoor coils, or it is not catching up over night? If yes, you probably need a service call.
Things you can do to help keep your house cooler when the A/C just can’t keep up:
- Use your ceiling fans.
- Keep your blinds closed.
- Run your dishwasher and laundry at night.
- Set your thermostat higher than you normally would to give your system a break. Operating in extreme heat can cause breakdown of motors, capacitors and other parts.
- Make sure your filter is clean, this will ensure your system is operating at peak efficiency with no airflow restrictions.
- Cut back shrubbery and anything else that is around your outdoor unit, it needs room to “breathe.”
- Cook outside on your grill. Avoid heating up the house with the oven if possible.
- Keep doors and windows closed and try not to open and close the doors to outside too often.
- One of the best things you can do is have your system serviced seasonally to ensure weak parts are detected before they break down in the extreme heat. Check out our maintenance plans.
If at any time, you aren’t sure if it’s a problem or just the heat, give us a call at 770-995-7585. We can help you determine if you need a service call or if you may just have to wait it out.