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What Should You Do if Your AC Can't Keep up with Your Cooling Needs?

There’s no worse problem to have than when your air conditioner can’t keep up! The Indianapolis summer is notoriously hot and often humid – when your air conditioner can’t keep up, your home is uncomfortable and doesn’t provide respite from outdoor temperatures.

When an Indianapolis air conditioner can’t keep up with your household’s cooling demand, there are a few things that are common causes of this issue. In most situations, you’re looking at air conditioning repairs or an AC system replacement. Either way, Williams Comfort Air helps Indianapolis homeowners find the source of the issue and delivers expert solutions to keep your home cool.

Don’t waste your summer away with discomfort when your air conditioner can’t keep up – contact the Indianapolis air conditioning pros at Williams Comfort Air. Our NATE-certified technicians find the source of your cooling system’s malfunction and implement reliable solutions to restore comfort for your family.

When Your Air Conditioner Can’t Keep Up

When an air conditioner can’t keep up with a household’s cooling demands in the summertime, many Indianapolis area homeowners are alarmed. Yes, while there are many times when an air conditioner that can’t keep up is cause for concern, in the midst of a summer heat wave this is a common issue that is not the fault of your system.

Indianapolis air conditioners are not designed to tackle cooling when outdoor temperatures reach extremes. AC systems are sized for the most likely summer temperatures in the area, which for the Central Indiana region is mid-80s. A properly sized and installed air conditioner is able to comfortably tackle cooling up to 20 degrees difference from outdoor temperatures.

Steps to Take if Your Air Conditioner Can’t Keep Up

If your air conditioner can’t keep up during a heat wave, there’s not much your air conditioning company is able to do about the problem. However, there are some steps you should take to reduce heat gain in your house. Reduction in heat gain means less cooling load for your air conditioner and lower temperatures inside your home.

Take these steps to stop heat gain in your indoor living areas when outdoor temperatures are extreme:

  • Change Your Furnace Filter

  • Make sure all registers in your home are open and have not been accidentally closed, which prevents cooling from reaching your living areas.

  • Clear away vegetation from around your outdoor air conditioning unit, which helps your unit receive adequate airflow for efficient cooling.

  • Use window coverings such as blinds, shades, and curtains to block the Sun’s rays during daylight hours.

  • Cook meals outside on the grill to prevent heat gain from your oven and stovetop.

  • Air dry clothes and linens outdoors to limit dryer use.

  • Wait until cooler times of the day to use heat-producing appliances like washing machines running hot water cycles and dishwashers.

  • Use caulking and weather stripping to seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors as well as other exterior wall penetrations to prevent warm air from seeping into your home.

  • Use ceiling fans to create a windchill effect to keep your body cooler when a room is occupied.

Air Conditioner Can’t Keep up – Possible Repair Issues

When extreme outdoor temperatures aren’t a factor, the reason your air conditioner can’t keep up is likely a malfunction somewhere within your cooling system or equipment. Our NATE-certified air conditioning technicians visit your home to inspect your air conditioner and determine the reason your air conditioner can’t keep up.

Possible causes to blame when your air conditioner can’t keep up include:

Disconnected Ductwork

If sections of ductwork have become disconnected or are damaged, it will feel like your air conditioner can’t keep up because your living areas are not receiving all the cool air produced. Disconnected, leaking, and broken ductwork allows cool air to escape the duct network that runs through your home. While the duct system is intended to hold cool air in and deliver it to your living areas, it is able to seep out into the unconditioned areas where ductwork runs, such as attics, crawl spaces, inner walls, and basements.

It is often difficult for Indianapolis homeowners to inspect their ductwork because it typically runs through areas that are hard to access. Plus, minor gaps in duct connections are harder to visually identify but contribute to up to 30% heating and cooling energy loss! Improperly sized or poorly designed duct systems are another potential cause behind the feeling that your air conditioner can’t keep up.

Refrigerant Leak

Air conditioners and heat pumps use refrigerant to facilitate the cooling process and transfer heat out of your Indianapolis home. In a properly sealed system, refrigerant does not escape or evaporate. If there is a leak in the refrigerant lines or elsewhere in your cooling system, the system loses refrigerant and does not maintain the proper volume or pressure needed to cool your home, which makes you feel like your air conditioner can’t keep up. Not only does a refrigerant leak make it so your air conditioner can’t keep up in the summer, failure to fix this problem leads to significant AC system damage.

Dirty Coils

Your air conditioner uses both indoor and outdoor coils in the cooling process – condenser coils are located outside within your exterior condenser unit, while the evaporator coils are housed within the interior components of your cooling system.

Air conditioning coils use their surface area for heat transfer. Heat is extracted from indoor air via the evaporator coils, and heat is released into the outdoor air via condenser coils. Over time, the dust, dirt, and other debris from the air that comes in contact with the coils builds up on their surface. This buildup reduces the coils’ ability to function, so it feels like your air conditioner can’t keep up. Coils need to be cleaned to prevent buildup – neglecting this step may lead to coils freezing and damage to the air conditioning system.

Faulty Thermostat

Your air conditioner depends on your thermostat to accurately read indoor temperatures and initiate or stop cooling cycles. If the thermostat is unable to effectively determine indoor temperatures, it will not properly control the cooling system. While it seems like your air conditioner can’t keep up, the real cause of the problem is that the thermostat is not correctly communicating your cooling needs. Therefore, the air conditioner does not run the proper cycles to deliver the amount of cooling your living areas need.

Incorrect temperature readings from a thermostat are due to a malfunction within the unit or possibly external factors. Dust can collect on thermostat sensors, which throws off temperature readings. If the thermostat is not installed in the proper location within your home, its temperature readings can be disrupted by factors such as direct sunlight, heat-producing appliances, or outdoor air from an open door.

Air Conditioner Can’t Keep up – Time to Upgrade

Another problem that makes it so an air conditioner can’t keep up is simply a bad unit. Whether your air conditioner is fairly new or has been in service for years, this problem is a possibility that must be considered. In this case, an air conditioning upgrade is the best solution to restore indoor comfort.

An Old Air Conditioner Can’t Keep Up

As air conditioning equipment ages, it loses efficiency. While regular preventative maintenance helps the air conditioner’s performance, years after installation it simply is unable to run as well as it once did. When you upgrade an old air conditioner to a newer model, you immediately benefit from better energy efficiency and performance.

An Undersized Air Conditioner Can’t Keep Up

If your air conditioner can’t keep up, it may be undersized for your home. Air conditioners are sized based on the cooling load of your home, which is determined by multiple factors, not just the square footage of your living areas. When an air conditioner is undersized, it cannot meet the cooling demand of your household and it feels like the air conditioner can’t keep up, when really it was never designed to deliver the cooling, you need.

Undersized air conditioners cause other problems, too, such as higher energy use and more wear and tear to components which are both due to the fact that the undersized air conditioner is forced to run more frequently in attempts to properly cool your home. The best solution is to work with a qualified HVAC technician to properly determine your home’s cooling load and size new air conditioning equipment to meet this demand. A correctly sized air conditioner lowers energy consumption, delivers effective comfort, and suffers less damage requiring repair, which allows the equipment to stay in service longer.

Call Williams Comfort Air When Your Air Conditioner Can’t Keep Up

When an air conditioner can’t keep up with a household’s cooling demand, discomfort isn’t your only problem – your energy bills are likely to be higher than they should, which costs you extra money. Find the source of your air conditioner problems with help from our licensed HVAC technicians. We diagnose your system and work to implement solutions that improve your home’s indoor environment and lower your cooling bills.

Contact Williams Comfort Air today if your air conditioner can’t keep up!

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