Advanced Air

“Why Does My Air Conditioner Take So Long to Cool the House?”

February 23, 2015

Your central air conditioner is taking forever to cool your home, eh?

Your AC may be struggling to cool your home because of any of these 6 problems:

  1. Refrigerant leak
  2. Dirty air filter
  3. Dirty coils
  4. Leaky ductwork
  5. Under-insulated attic
  6. Undersized AC system

Let’s split these problems into things you can fix and things that require a professional.

2 problems you can fix

1) Dirty air filter

A dirty air filter acts like a barrier, slowing down airflow into the AC to be cooled. This forces the AC to run longer to cool your home.

Solution: Change the air filter if it’s dirty.

2) Dirty condenser coils

Condenser coils are metal tubes that live in your outside unit AC unit. Their job? Dump the heat out of refrigerant, which then cools down to absorb heat in your home’s air.

If none of that made sense, watch this video on how central air conditioners work.

Anyway, point is that if these coils get too dirty (which is common since it’s outside), your air conditioner has trouble dispersing the heat, meaning runs longer to cool your home.

Dirty Coil 1

Solution: Wash the condenser coils in the outside AC unit using a coil cleaner and a water spray (use a light setting).

4 problems that require a professional to fix

1) Refrigerant leak

Does the air coming out of your vents feel warm or lukewarm? Do you hear a bubbling or hissing noise coming from your inside or outside AC unit?  Do you see ice building up on your AC?

You may have a refrigerant leak.

Refrigerant is a liquid that transfers heat from inside your home to the outside. Meaning if you don’t have enough refrigerant, your AC can’t do its job properly, running longer as a result. 

Solution: Have a professional find and fix the leak. If the leak is beyond repair (or costs too much to repair) you may need to replace the coil.

2) Leaky ductwork

The typical home’s duct system loses 20%-30% of its air due to holes, leaks and poorly connected ducts, according to ENERGY STAR. That means all that cool air isn’t making it to your rooms, forcing the AC to run longer to cool your home.

Solution: Have a professional find and seal the leaks.

3) Under-insulated attic

Insulation slows heat transfer into your home. If you home’s attic does not have enough insulation, your AC will work longer to overcome the heat that’s invading your home.
Older homes typically lack enough insulation.

Solution: Determine if you need more insulation, then contact a professional to add the right type and amount of insulation.

4) Undersized AC system

Air conditioners are sized to cool a specific sized home. An AC that’s too small will struggle to heat your home, running longer as a result.

Solution: There’s not much you can do right now until you need to get a new system.  

Advanced Air can find and fix the problems in your Fort Myers home

So you’ve replaced the filter and cleaned the coil—but your AC still takes forever to cool your home!

Now what?

Advanced Air offers a Whole-Home Performance Evaluation where we:

  • Find out how your home is using energy
  • Sniff out how you’re wasting your money (like through air or refrigerant leaks)
  • Give you a detailed plan on how to improve your energy performance in the future

Contact us for help if you live in the Fort Myers area.