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This time of year when temperatures soar into the triple digits in the Midwest, we get a lot of calls from people who think there is something wrong with their air conditioner. What most people don’t realize is that air conditioners are designed for a 20 degree differential. That means that if the temperature outside is 100 degrees, your air conditioner will only cool your home to about 80 degrees. So if your thermostat is set at 72 degrees and your home is actually reading 78 degrees, your air conditioner is not broken. It’s actually performing better than it’s designed to.
So what are you supposed to do if you want your home to be cooler? There are some things you can do that will help your home retain the coolness your air conditioner creates.First, make sure your air conditioner is running at peak efficiency. Change your filter more often to make it easier for your air conditioner to push the air through the system. Surprisingly, dirt is one of the worst enemies of air conditioning systems.
If you haven’t had your system tuned up recently, we highly recommend it. A tune-up will ensure that your outdoor unit, your indoor unit, your blower motor, fan, etc. are all cleaned, lubricated and running smoothly. Dirty parts don’t run efficiently. We will also check your system’s refrigerant level and charge it if it is low. If your system has a leak, we can find it and fix it.
Also, make sure you are doing everything you can to keep heat out and cool air in. Some big items to pay attention to are air leaks around windows and doors. Make sure they are insulated properly. Also insulate any duct work that runs through unconditioned spaces like attics, crawl spaces, garages, etc. Keep blinds and/or curtains closed during the day to reduce solar gain. Run ceiling fans to help circulate the air and increase the “wind chill” effect.
Zoning is another option you can look into. Zoning allows you to control the temperature in individual rooms better by using a system of automatic dampers. An electronic monitor that listens to multiple thermostats in different areas controls the dampers individually. This will allow you to focus more cool air on the family room if everyone gathers there in the evening, for instance, and less on the dining room, kitchens, and bedrooms. Then, when everyone goes to bed, you can lower the temperature in the bedrooms. Zoned cooling is ideal for homes with multiple levels, expansive glass, or vaulted ceilings, lofts or atriums. For more information on zoned cooling and heating, give us a call.
If your air conditioner just isn’t doing the job, try implementing some of the tips from our blog. If you’re still not satisfied, one of our technicians can come to your home to run a whole-house analysis. Just remember that an air conditioner is only expected to keep your home 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature, so don’t expect too much from it when temperatures are in the hundreds.