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Why is my Air Conditioning not keeping up?

HVAC Sarasota Summer Heat Wave

The marvel of our home's air conditioning system is often taken for granted. It protects us year-round from the rollercoaster temperatures of our Florida environment and we rely on it.

However, if your air conditioner just can’t keep up with these record heat waves it is often due to the limits of your home’s structure itself; your A/C may not BE ABLE TO maintain the desired set temperature. We have received dozens of calls from homeowners concerned with their A/C’s performance capacity and ability to keep up with the extreme heat outside.

Your A/C is not designed for record heat and upwards of 100+ degree heat indexes. While it seems abnormal for your house to be, for example, measuring 78 degrees when set for 75, the sustained high temperature outside is also abnormal.

The record weather can expose many weak areas of a structure that are not as obvious in milder weather conditions. Based on the age of your home and the home’s design criteria during that time, there may be other factors to consider when the system won’t reach a set temperature. Windows, attic insulation, door and window weather stripping, and the number of occupants and their activity level all factor into the structural heat load which affect the system’s ability to maintain desired temperature during the hottest part of the day.

Your A/C is designed to cool your home and maintain a more comfortable temperature than the outside temperature. While it may cool to 69 degrees in the cooler months, that may not be the case in the hot months. A service call may find your system is operating properly even though your home is warmer than you prefer.

So, if there’s a heat index of 100+ degrees outside, your A/C is cooling to 80 degrees or below, and it reaches your set temperature once the sun goes down overnight –  your A/C is working hard to do its job. It does not necessarily mean that you need a new ac system or a larger one.

Replacing your existing system with a higher tonnage system may help for the months of excessive heat, but may also cause problems the other months of the year when it does not run long enough to remove humidity. You will also have to upsize your duct system to accommodate the higher tonnage which will certainly add additional expense.

What CAN you do?

These are some helpful tips to assist on these extremely hot days and heatwaves:

  • Keep your shades and blinds closed
  • Minimize opening doors, preventing heat to exchange between outdoor and indoor
  • Keep filter(s) clean, and
  • Sometimes it is smart to buy a small portable unit just to add some additional cooling.
  • In the event of loss of main power supply, the portable unit can be run by a small generator to stay comfortable in a single room until power is restored.
  • When the heat wave is over, you can put the unit in the garage and save it for next summer or back up for hurricane season.

Other solutions may be to:

  • Replace poorly insulated or older windows and doors that allow outside air/heat intrusion
  • Add attic and wall insulation
  • Have solar tint or blackout drapes treatments added on the windows.

We understand your concern and discomfort and we hope this explanation helps you understand the situation many of us are in as well as save you some money on an unnecessary service call.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We are available and pride ourselves on taking care of our community. We hope this answers a few of the common questions we get when the temperature bumps triple digits.

HVAC Sarasota Summer Heat Wave - is your AC Working properly?