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Why Can’t My A/C Keep Up With This Heat?

ac troubleshooting new york

It stands to reason: the higher temperatures rise outside, the harder your central air conditioner has to work to keep you comfortable – in fact, on really hot days here in Sullivan County, your A/C might run all day and never reach the temperature set on your thermostat.

If you’re experiencing that kind of scenario in your home during this summer’s dog days, there are basically two things you can do about it: work to keep that sweltering outdoor heat from entering your home, and make sure your air conditioner is running at its best.

Let’s break those two down a bit more.

Step 1: Keep 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 – Trapped solar heat can give 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 weatherseal windows and install doorsweeps to keep cold air in and warm air out.
  • Add insulation – Insulation may seem like something that’s important during the winter (it is), but it’s also important in the summer because it keeps cool air in and warm outdoor air out of your living area. If you own an older home in NY State, chances are fairly high that it’s under-insulated, and it could be costing you. For insulation tips, check out this link from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Step 2: Give your A/C a little TLC

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 without fail, 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 New York heat wave? Give the HVAC pros at Black Bear a call. For expert A/C installation and repair in Sullivan County, NY, nobody beats the Bear!