Air Conditioning 101: Learn How Hot Weather Can Affect Your System

With the extremely hot and sometimes unbearable summer temperatures in Austin, it’s important to have an AC system that can efficiently cool your home and keep the space comfortable throughout all of the seasons. The truth is when the temperature outside becomes hot or has high levels of humidity it can cause some issues with your AC system’s functionality and efficiency. You can read more below on how heat and humidity affect an AC unit and how to maximize cooling on very hot days.

Heat Can Affect an AC Unit’s Ability to Cool

While air conditioners are designed to cool our indoor spaces during times of hot outdoor temperatures, extremely high heat can put stress on a cooling unit and can affect the overall efficiency of the system. This is because an air conditioner really acts as a heat transfer system, meaning it takes the warm air from inside and moves it to the outside. While this occurs, the outdoor portion of the unit is also working to limit the heat effects from the outdoor air, meaning high temperatures will cause a lot more effort from the unit.

Humidity Can Also Cause Issues

Similar to hot temperatures, high levels of humidity can also affect your AC system and make it harder for the unit to keep the temperature in your home comfortable. The issue is that high humidity adds a second factor that your unit needs to remove from the air in addition to heat. If your air conditioning system is struggling to remove the humidity from your home, you may notice a thick, damp feeling in the air, a clammy feeling on your skin, or condensation on drinks.

Component Problems are Also Common

Most air conditioning systems are designed to withstand harsh temperatures and can function efficiently throughout the summer season. The most common AC component to be affected by hot weather is the capacitors, which provide the burst of energy needed on start-up and while running. These elements of an AC can burn out if the outdoor temperature is too high and will need to be replaced for your system to run efficiently. One of the most common signs that your capacitors are starting to fail is a clicking sound from the inside of the unit on start-up or while the system is running.

Your AC Unit Could Overheat

While this problem is less common, if your AC unit is not serviced regularly it may overheat during times of high temperatures. One of the most frequent causes of an AC unit overheating during hot weather is the outdoor unit being blocked by dirt, debris, or leaves. When the outdoor unit is not able to release heat, it can cause the entire system to overheat and stop functioning. It’s recommended that you have your AC system cleaned by a NATE-certified technician each year to ensure there is no build-up or blockages in the unit.

Watch for Heat Pump Failure

Another less common issue is heat pump failure, which is a specific type of cooling unit that provides both heating and cooling to a home. While these units typically have more issues during freezing temperatures, heat pumps can fail during times of excessive heat or humidity. Thankfully, the temperatures in Texas do not typically fall below freezing so issues with heat pumps are not often caused by weather. If there are going to be days where the outdoor temperature exceeds 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, be sure to check any filters and vents to be sure there are no obstructions and air can flow throughout the system.

How To Maximize Cooling on Hot Days

There are steps homeowners in Austin can take to maximize cooling on hot days to ensure their AC unit functions properly and is not stressed by the high temperature. Some of these can be done during the hot temperatures to help your air conditioner while others should be completed beforehand to ensure the system continues to work. Some of the easiest ways to maximize cooling during hot days include:
Keep doors and windows closed to prevent warm air from entering your home
Be sure drapes and blinds are closed to help keep heat out
Check all vents in and around your home to be sure they are open and have no obstructions
Use fans to help circulate cool air throughout your home
Be sure all air filters are clean and free of dust buildup
Schedule maintenance throughout the year to keep your unit running smoothly

Contact Austin AC for Help With Maintenance

Some of the issues that can cause an AC unit to react to high temperatures can be avoided with proper maintenance during and at the end of each season of use. Austin AC has flexible and recurring maintenance appointments to help keep your system running through some of the most extreme seasons. The team of NATE-certified professionals can help with changing filters, cleaning the unit, and ensuring there are no blockages, damages, or issues with the unit overall. Don’t wait until your AC stops working in the middle of summer, contact Austin AC today and schedule a maintenance appointment for your air conditioning system.

Call now! 512-598-6577