With record heatwaves across both the United States and Canada right now, making sure your central air conditioning unit is operating properly should be imperative. Even if you had your air conditioner serviced in spring before the sweltering temps swept in, your air conditioner may be struggling to keep up. If you feel it just isn't cooling as well as it should, look at this troubleshooting guide to determine what the problem might be.
Is Your Air Conditioner The Correct Size?
Often, it's not until a run of extreme temperatures that you notice the air conditioner doesn't seem to be keeping up. A central air conditioning unit is rated by British Thermal Units (BTU) and tons. One ton is equal to 12,000 BTUs. This size air conditioner is suitable for cooling 600 square feet of living space. If your home is 3,000 square feet, you would then need a central air conditioning unit with an output of 5 tons. If your central air conditioner unit is less than this, it's not going to be able to keep the house as cool as you want. You may think that it is better to have more tons than your square footage requires, but an air conditioner that is too large won't run often enough to dehumidify the air. It will quickly cool it to the desired temperature and cycle off, but then you will still be left with air that is uncomfortably humid. The right-sized unit will perform both the cooling and dehumidifying jobs flawlessly. If you determine your unit isn't large enough, you can close off rooms that aren't used very much. If it is too large, you can add a separate dehumidifier as a temporary fix until you can replace the unit.
The Condenser Unit Is Buried In A Jungle
Central air conditioning units aren't exactly an attractive architectural feature. Most people hide their unit in the most inconspicuous place they can find, such as the back corner in a part of the yard where it's not seen from the street nor their backyard. Some people even plant shrubs and flowers around it to disguise it even more.
Unfortunately, allowing vegetation to grow up around it will block the air flow it needs to operate properly. The weeds and tall grass need to be whacked, and if you have decided landscaping was a good way to hide it then you're probably going to need to remove it if you want your air conditioner to be efficient. Pine needles, leaves, and other organic debris need to be cleared away as well.
The Thermostat Isn't Working
If the thermostat isn't calibrated correctly or the battery is simply dead, your air conditioner isn't going to cool to the temperature you want it. Change the batteries and see if that solves the problem. If it doesn't, you may need to have it replaced. If none of these are the issue, you will need to contact your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning serviceman to come and assess the situation for you. Your evaporator coils may be frozen or it may be low on coolant.
For more information, you can contact companies like Environmental Matters HVAC LLC.