Help – My A/C Can’t Keep Up With This Heat!
Written on: July 30, 2021
It’s a simple equation: more heat outside means harder work for your central air conditioner inside. On the hottest Pennsylvania days, in fact, your central A/C might run all day and never reach the temperature you set on your thermostat.
With experts predicting a scorching second half of summer 2021 here in the Northeast, you’re going to need a plan to take some of the pressure off your home cooling system. That plan should include two key parts: minimizing the heat entering your home, and keeping your air conditioner performing at its peak.
Let’s break those two down a bit more.
Improving your A/C’s Performance
Key # 1: Keeping the heat out
To make you feel cool, your A/C has to remove the heat that makes its way into your home – the more heat there is, the harder it has to work.
To keep the heat out of your home, try these tips:
- Treat your windows – About 75 percent of the energy that enters your home as sunlight remains as your home as heat, giving your air conditioner a heavy cooling load to bear. Reflective window treatments can send some of that heat back where it came from. You can learn more about sun-blocking window treatments, such as shade screens, blinds, and curtains, on the Department of Energy’s website.
- Check your ductwork – According to ENERGYSTAR,® as much as 30 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. That means that the air you paid to cool is somewhere inside your walls rather than in your living space! To make things worse, the same leaks that let cold air out of your ducts let warm air into your home. The bottom line: take care of your ducts (for more guidance on how to do that, check out this ENERGYSTAR flyer).
- Seal windows and doors – Weatherizing isn’t just for winter. Caulk and seal windows and install doorsweeps to keep cold air in and warm air out.
- Add insulation – Insulation in the summer? You bet. Properly insulating your home keeps cool air in and warm outdoor air out of your living area. If you own an older home in PA, chances are fairly high that it’s under-insulated, and it could be costing you all year long. For insulation tips, check out this link from the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Add an attic ventilation fan – Hot air rises and accumulates in your upper floors and attic. Remove that hot air from your home by installing an attic ventilation fan.
Key # 2: Take care of your A/C
The next step is to make sure you’re doing everything you can to make sure your air conditioner is running at peak efficiency. Make sure to:
- Change your HVAC air filter regularly — Check it every thirty days throughout the summer, changing or cleaning it as necessary. This is the most important A/C maintenance task you can do yourself.
- Get a pro to clean your A/C coils — Neglecting this can lead to many problems, including weak airflow, frozen AC lines, and more. This task is usually included in routine A/C maintenance, which you should get every year.
- Set reasonable temperatures – When you’re home, target a temperature of about 78 degrees – a temperature the Department of Energy says represents the best balance of comfort and energy savings. Remember: feeling cool is about the relative temperature difference between the air inside and outside your home, not a number on a dial!
- Fix problems quickly – The longer you wait to fix a problem, the more costly the A/C repair is likely to be. If you couldn’t prevent the problem, at least catch and treat it early!
A/C not keeping up with our latest heat wave? Give the HVAC pros at Ace-Robbins a call. For expert A/C installation and repair in Wyoming County, PA, nobody beats Ace-Robbins!