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AC Struggling to Keep You Cool? Try These 6 Tips

June 10, 2015

“Why can’t my central air conditioner keep up with the heat?”

It’s a common complaint we hear in Florida once the heat ramps up. As fellow Floridians, we’re sympathetic to your cries for comfort.

To keep cool while at home when our AC just can’t take the heat, try these 6 tips.

1) Keep the heat out by treating your windows

Lots of heat gets into your home through your windows—especially the east- and west-facing windows.

Your AC may be struggling to cool your home because it’s constantly trying to counteract this heat gain.

To blockade the heat, take Energy.gov’s advice and get energy efficient window treatments, which can include:

2) Change your AC’s air filter

A dirty air filter restricts airflow into your air conditioner, forcing it to run longer and harder to distribute cooler air around your home.

Check the filter once a month and change it if it looks like the one on the right:

Filter

3) Clean the outside AC unit

The outside AC unit’s job is to dump heat out of your home.

But, being outside and all, it tends to get dirty. Look at this one:

Dirty Coil 2


And when it gets dirty, it can’t disperse heat well, meaning your AC has trouble cooling your home.

Do this: Turn off power to the outside unit at the breaker box and then clean the outside unit off with sprayer on a gentle setting (a strong setting may damage the AC).

Besides cleaning the unit, you also want to make sure the unit isn’t surrounded by any vegetation (branches, bushes) or fencing. The outside unit needs room to “breathe” to properly disperse the heat.

4) Use your ceiling fans

Ceiling fans don’t lower the temperature of your home. But thanks to the wind chill effect, they can make you FEEL about 4 degrees cooler.

Just make sure your ceiling fan is spinning the right way (typically, counterclockwise).

5) Look for disconnected air ducts

Mosey on over to your attic or crawlspace and see if any of your air ducts have come loose.

If a supply duct (the duct that transports cold air to the living rooms) is disconnected, that means you AC is cooling your attic or crawlspace. Yeah...no good.

6) Get your AC checked for a refrigerant leak

Refrigerant is the fluid in your AC that transfers the heat in your home to the outside unit (you know, the one we discussed earlier).

Low refrigerant means substandard cooling (sweatiness)—especially on hot days.

Your AC does not use up refrigerant; it can only “run out” if there’s a leak.

You’ll know you have a refrigerant leak if you see these signs:

  • Ice on the outside unit
  • You hear a hissing/bubbling noise near the AC (only for large leaks)
  • You had to get a refrigerant charge recently

We can check your AC’s refrigerant levels as part of a professional AC maintenance visit.


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