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Ask John AC Hot Weather Issues Main Image

Why is My AC Not Cooling During Hot Weather?

John Turpin is our resident home service repair expert here at Service Direct. He’s got the knowledge and experience to help homeowners like you make sense of most home repair issues. And with Service Direct, we connect you with top-tier service professionals to help with any repairs needed.

What To Do When Your AC Is Not Cooling In Hot Weather

Air conditioning systems are mechanical machines with several moving parts, similar to vehicles. These components are continually subjected to severe weather, fluctuating temperatures, electrical surges, moisture, grime, and dust buildups, as well as other unfavorable situations.

Regular maintenance is often overlooked, and many homeowners tend to contact HVAC specialists only when their AC units stop operating. This often results in costly repairs or the need to replace the AC unit earlier than necessary.

Maintaining your air conditioner on a regular basis will keep it in good working order for many years, as well as prevent the failure of any of its components.

Ask John AC Hot Weather Cooling Issues
Dirty vents can be the cause of weak cooling during hot weather.

Why Your AC Does Not Work In Hot Weather

Has your air conditioner ever given you so much trouble that you had to call for emergency service in the middle of summer? If that’s the case, you’re probably well aware of how aggravating it can be when your air conditioner breaks down unexpectedly and often on hot days. The good news is that the majority of these issues are entirely avoidable.

Now that we have your attention, we’ll discuss a few of the most typical reasons why air conditioning units break down, as well as the solutions to these problems.

Lack of Air Coming Through the System

A functioning air conditioner draws heat through its evaporator coil from the warm indoor air. This process is efficient when the air filter is clean and functioning properly. In contrast, the evaporator coil will not absorb any heat if airflow is insufficient or absent. Instead, the temperature inside the house rises but the refrigerant within the coil remains at a constant temperature due to a lack of heat source. As a consequence, the coil becomes further frozen as the temperature drops with each AC cycle.

The easiest way to avoid this is to utilize a good-quality air filter and replace it occasionally. Even if your house has a thicker, less often replaced filter in the ductwork, it may still get blocked up by dust and debris if you fail to replace it. Air conditioners that have to work harder than necessary to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature waste energy (and money) because of dirty filters.

Blocking return air vents with furniture or drapes is another common approach to reduce ventilation. It’s easier to repair than you may think, yet we encounter this scenario more frequently than you might expect.

In this article, we’ve explored various reasons why your AC might not be cooling effectively in hot weather, along with some practical solutions and DIY tips for addressing these issues. Our HVAC expert, John Turpin, has provided these insights to help you understand the underlying causes of your AC problems and how to fix them effectively.

Dirty or Clogged Condenser Coils

Even if your HVAC unit seems to be functioning normally, an accumulation of dust, grime, or other material on the condenser coils might be the culprit. The outdoor unit releases the heat it has absorbed from the interior of your home.

However, the coils get insulated when dirt settles on them. The condenser coils’ inability to efficiently transfer heat is a result of this insulation. Because of this, the AC may overheat and break down.

If your condenser coils have gathered dirt and debris, you may fix the problem by removing it. Also, remember that dirt around your coil isn’t always obvious, so it’s best to wash it nonetheless. It may be quickly and easily cleaned with a garden hose.

Technical Difficulties

Minor issues with the HVAC system may quickly snowball into emergency situations. Minor damages or dings on the exterior condenser might alter the pressure inside the coil, for instance, and a broken or dented fan can cause harm to nearby machinery. Perhaps a mouse was sneaking around in the electrical box and nibbled its way through some cables without your knowledge.

Subtle faults like these might be more difficult for homeowners to identify, but a professional HVAC inspector will be able to find even the smallest of abnormalities in your system. When electrical components like fan motors or run capacitors fail, it is usually not too costly to replace them.

Leaking Refrigerant

A refrigerant leakage in the HVAC system will result in reduced refrigerant staying where it should, within the coil. Since there is less refrigerant overall, the system pressure is also lower than what it must be. As the pressure of the remaining refrigerant drops, it undergoes a process where it absorbs heat, leading to an increase in temperature. In the long run, this might cause ice to accumulate on the coil, which will render your system inoperable.

Keep in mind that refrigerant leakage is more than just an inconvenience when your HVAC unit freezes up as it may be quite dangerous. Check whether the air coming out of the vents is chilly or lukewarm as it’s a good idea to check that the copper wires leading to the exterior unit are free of ice just in case. You can also check for signs of freezing by looking at the copper lines running to the outdoor unit, especially around the area beyond the fan blades.

Should the internal pressure dip too low or rise too high, a pressure regulator in a high-end HVAC system will turn off the outside unit. Refrigerant shortages may cause short-cycling, in which the compressor starts and stops unexpectedly.

Ask John AC Issues Leaky Refrigerant
Experts are required to fix leaky refrigerant issues.

Hot Weather Affecting AC FAQs

What can I do to help my AC work in hot weather?

While the AC typically operates independently, during unusually high outdoor temperatures, you can take specific steps to optimize your AC unit’s performance.

You won’t get quicker cooling from the AC if you adjust your thermostat lower. It will put more strain on your home’s central air conditioner. Because of this, it may take longer for the air conditioner to cool the room to the desired temperature while costing more in the long run. Therefore, it is not always necessary to replace the central air system if the air conditioner stops operating.

The majority of us like sunlight, but having blinds or curtains open throughout the day lets in a lot of heated air that may be better used elsewhere. Keep the blinds shut in the morning on scorching days, especially if the eastern windows face the sun. Then during the afternoon hours, the western windows should have their blinds drawn.

Has my AC reached the limit from the hot weather?

Days with temperatures in the triple digits are nothing new for us. The summers may be rather warm. It might even appear like the AC is struggling to keep up.

However, this isn’t always indicative of a broken device. Your air conditioner may have some trouble keeping up with the heat on really hot days. Turning down the thermostat won’t help your air conditioner beat the heat, but that may not always be a problem.

The sweltering heat could be a bit too much for your air conditioner if it performs a good job of cooling the home in the days and nights but has trouble keeping up during the day.

What do I do if there’s no air coming out from my AC?

Check to see whether there is any air circulation in the home as a starting point. Then, go to the thermostat and disable the system. If you haven’t cleaned the condenser coil in a while, you should start there.

Whatever you do, write down what you hear and see from your AC unit. This kind of information will be useful for both you and the HVAC specialist you contact for assistance, as it will allow you to explain the problem in as much detail as possible before they arrive.

Hire a Local AC Specialist

The troubleshooting steps outlined above offer practical DIY solutions to identify and resolve common AC issues during hot weather. However, if you find these issues challenging or if the problem persists, it’s wise to seek professional assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact a qualified HVAC technician. You can easily find local experts by using the contact information provided on this page.

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