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Why Isn’t My Air Conditioner Keeping Up?!

Are you finding that your air conditioner can’t keep up in the summertime and sometimes even rises in temperature during the hottest part of the day? It can be hard to tell if you’re AC system is cooling properly, if your AC is broken, or if you have another issue with duct air leaks or poor insulation. Even if you have a new, high-efficiency AC system, the heat and humidity are at record highs and most systems old or new are struggling. It can be hard to determine if your system is doing its best or if there are underlying issues preventing proper cooling. Here are a few things that could be causing your system to not maintain your set temperatures throughout the day.

Under Sized System

Not sizing an AC system properly can cause thousands in wasted energy costs. When having a new system installed it is very important that the licensed HVAC contractor perform a load calculation. By doing this, they will look at all the factors that affect the heat gain and loss of your home.

Air conditioning split systems are sold with ratings for Seer and Tonnage. In the HVAC industry, SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The SEER rating is the ratio developed to calculate the energy efficiency of your air conditioner. The higher the SEER rating, the better the energy performance. A ton, or tonnage, refers to the cooling capacity of an air conditioner. Tonnage is measured in BTUs or "British Thermal Units". One ton of air conditioning can remove 12,000 BTUs of heat each hour. Tonnage is calculated based on the area of conditioned space. A general rule of thumb is approximately 1 ton for every 400-600 sqft of conditioned space. A good contractor will determine the optimum tonnage for your home by making a careful study of your cooling requirements and a load calculation.

Airflow Restrictions

Proper airflow is vital to your AC system. A restriction can be from a dirty filter, clogged filter dryer, dirty condenser coil, or dirty evaporator coil. Each of these problems will cause lower-than-normal airflow and poor AC performance. The easiest thing you can do is to change your AC filters every month or two, even if the recommended changing time is three months. If you notice your filter is dirty, it’s time to change it. When having your AC planned maintenance done consult with your technician about the proper filter size needed and type of filter recommended for your system and household needs.

Make sure the landscaping around your outdoor condenser has not overgrown preventing airflow to the evaporator coil. The best way to maintain this breathing room for your condenser is to allow 2–3 feet of clearance on all sides. Make sure your system is properly maintained to keep your evaporator coil inside your air handler clean of debris that has made it past your return air filter. Having annual or bi-annual air conditioning planned maintenance can help you ensure strong airflow through your system.

Refrigerant Leaks and Improper Refrigerant Charges

A refrigerant leak is a problem that can affect the efficiency and performance of your AC unit. It can be caused by metal erosion, excessive vibration, weakened joints/connections over time, a damaged compressor, a faulty seal, or many other things. Some signs of an AC refrigerant leak are higher-than-usual utility bills, increased humidity in your home, poor cooling, and frozen evaporator coils. It’s tempting to call an AC company and have them just add refrigerant to your system. It can be appealing because it will be much cheaper than a costly repair. However, this is not the proper solution for an AC refrigerant leak. Beware of any HVAC company that takes this corner-cutting approach. The EPA, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, has strict guidelines about repeatedly adding refrigerant to a system with a known leak. Stationary Refrigeration Leak Repair Requirements | US EPA. An HVAC technician should find and fix any leaks, test the repair, and then add refrigerant.

After a refrigerant repair is completed on your system, the refrigerant must be readded to factory specifications. There are a few different methods of recharging used in the HVAC industry but one thing is true; a proper charge is key to proper function. Both overcharged and undercharged refrigerants in air conditioning systems may lead to expensive repairs. The system’s efficiency is usually compromised if it is overcharged or undercharged, leading to higher electric bills as the system tries to keep up.

Sun Exposure & Weatherproofing

Radiant heat from the sun in the summer will heat your home and can lead to higher cooling bills. Homes that are oriented to the north typically receive most of their direct sunlight in the back of the building. As a result, a north-facing house may remain cooler in the summer than a south-facing house. states insulating your home can dramatically reduce your cooling efficiency and cooling costs. Most common insulation materials work by slowing conductive heat flow and convective heat flow. Heated air migrates from warmer to cooler areas until there is no longer a temperature difference. During the cooling season, heat flows from the outdoors to the interior of a house. Applying weather stripping to all your exterior doors. Assuring all windows are covered and securely closed. Make use of ceiling fans to circulate air.

And lastly, tell the kids to KEEP THE DOOR CLOSED, cause ya know we don't live in a barn ;)


If you'd like to schedule an AC evaluation for proper function or an AC planned maintenance give our office a call at 800-714-3281.

- AC services are offered from Venice South to North Fort Myers -


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