Summer is here for a while yet, and with summer comes the risk of extreme heat. Here in Texas, we’re no strangers to heatwaves. And we expect our air conditioners to be able to keep up. But can they? How much should you expect of your air conditioner in a Texas heatwave? How should you set your thermostat? What else can you do? Let’s answer these questions.
Your Air Conditioner’s Capabilities
There is a limit to what air conditioners can do in terms of lowering the temperature inside your home. They’re designed to be able to change the temperature by about twenty degrees. Why so little? Obviously, more powerful refrigeration is possible, as we see in situations like the large freezer cases at the grocery store. But such powerful cooling is extremely inefficient.
Trying to push a home air conditioner past that twenty-degree mark will also lead to inefficiency, increasing your energy bills. But worse than that, it’s bad for the air conditioner itself. It would have to run constantly, putting a huge amount of strain on the system. Hard-working components like the fan motors and the all-important compressor can burn out. Repairs become much more likely, and the whole air conditioner could face an early death and require replacement.
So if the temperature outdoors is a scorching 100 degrees, don’t set your air conditioner’s thermostat any lower than 80.
Your Other Cooling Options
To reduce the strain on your air conditioner and survive setting the thermostat higher than you’d otherwise like to, consider other ways of maximizing the cooling in your home.
- Make sure that when the sun hits your windows, the curtains are closed. Insulated curtains are best, but any kind of window covering will make a difference. Sunlight hitting glass causes the greenhouse effect, and you want to be comfortable in your house, not be able to grow tropical orchids.
- Make sure that any gaps where conditioned air could leak out get closed up, using door-bottom seals, weather stripping, or caulk.
- And don’t forget about your ceiling fans. During the summer, they should spin counter-clockwise, and the movement they provide makes your body feel cooler because as each molecule blows against you, it carries a bit of your heat away with it. More movement equals more molecules, which equals more of your heat carried away.
It’s been months since your AC maintenance appointment this past spring. (Or if you skipped it, despite knowing it will maximize efficiency and effectiveness and ensure that your air conditioner lives a long life while requiring as few repairs as possible, it may have been years rather than months!)
- Make sure you’re changing your air filter every month to give your AC unit the airflow it needs.
- Gently bow any visible dust off your indoor unit’s evaporator coils with a can of compressed air so the refrigerant will be able to absorb heat from your home easily.
- Use a low-pressure hose to gently rinse dust, lawn clippings, or other messes off your outdoor unit’s condenser coils so that heat can dissipate easily before the refrigerant cycles its way back into your home.
Get Repairs Promptly
To make sure you’ll have the cooling you need when the hottest weather hits, don’t let a worrying issue continue. Catch it right away and get AC repair in Houston, TX so you don’t end up with a system breakdown.
Reach out to Cool Care Heating and Air Conditioning, The Best Care for Your Air.