Even as conditions outside fluctuate drastically, you depend on your air conditioner to maintain a consistent temperature in your home. It’s important to understand, though, that changing outside temperatures can have some dramatic effects on your cooling equipment. Comprehending these effects can benefit both you and your air conditioner. It will allow you to use your AC more efficiently and prolong its life, ensuring cold air even on the hottest days. The team at Clockwork Heating and Air Conditioning in Athens has put together this guide to help you understand how temperature differences affect your air conditioner.
To understand how the outside temperature can affect your air conditioner, it’s important to first grasp how your air conditioner cools your home. One of the main ways the air conditioner provides cool air is by utilizing thermodynamics to move heat from one place to another. Your air conditioner sends cold refrigerant into your home and through its coils. A fan sits under these coils and blows uncooled air over them. As the air flows over the coils, the heat in the air moves into the cold refrigerant and is transferred outside.
Once outside, this heat has to be expelled, which means the refrigerant needs to be hotter than the air surrounding it. To accomplish the process, your air conditioner utilizes a compressor. This device compresses the refrigerant, which heats it up immensely. The heat is then expelled as the refrigerant circulates through the outdoor coils before entering your home once more.
The key to expelling the heat from the refrigerant into the outside air is that the refrigerant must be hotter than the surrounding atmosphere. If the refrigerant is the same temperature or colder, it will retain the heat, resulting in a lack of cooling capacity. You can begin to see, then, how the outside air temperature can affect the work that your air conditioner has to do. If the air temperature is fairly low, say 70 degrees, your compressor only has to get the refrigerant up to 71 degrees or higher for the its heat to be expelled. However, if the air temperature is significantly warmer, say 95 degrees, the compressor has to heat the refrigerant at least 25 degrees higher to be able to expel heat.
Ultimately, the main component in your air conditioner that has to work harder when it’s hot outside is your compressor. Incidentally, this component is probably the cause of the most service calls during the summer. Especially if a compressor hasn’t been properly inspected and maintained, the extra effort it must exert during hot temperatures can push it to the point of failure. This results in a very uncomfortable home until a technician is able to come and repair your system.
Another characteristic of warm air is that it can hold more moisture than cool air. Typically, the warmer the air is in a particular location, the more humid that air will be. When it comes to your air conditioner, this can have a fairly significant impact on its operation. That’s because your air conditioner doesn’t simply remove heat from the air; it decreases humidity as well. Air with lower humidity feels cooler and more comfortable.
However, if there is warm air outdoors and that air is unusually humid, your air conditioner will have to take extra time to remove the moisture from it. When air with humidity levels higher than normal enters your home, it causes the AC to work longer as it tries to remove as much of the moisture as possible.
In the end, even though your air conditioner has to work harder when it’s hot outside, that’s what it’s designed to do. The important thing is that you properly prepare your AC to succeed when the going gets tough. That means partnering with a trusted teammate like Clockwork Heating and Air Conditioning in Athens, GA, to ensure your cooling equipment is properly repaired and maintained as you head into summer. Similarly, as you head into the cold season, Clockwork Heating and Air Conditioning can help you prepare your furnace so that you stay nice and warm all winter long. In either case, we can install a new system for you if that’s necessary. To help you stay healthy, we also offer indoor air quality testing. We’ve served this community for over 30 years, and we offer 24/7 availability for emergency repairs. If your air conditioner is struggling to keep up with the warm weather, give us a call today.