August 18, 2023

With the peak of the summer heat rapidly approaching here in San Antonio, TX, homeowners are already leaning hard on their AC systems. Sometimes, these systems struggle to keep your home cool, however. Here are six reasons that your home’s AC could be struggling to keep it cool.

1. A Dirty Air Filter

If your home’s AC isn’t providing adequate cooling, the first thing to look at is its air filter. Dirty or obstructed air filters can reduce airflow through your system. In general, you need to replace your AC’s air filter at least every three months. In some cases, you may need to do so even more often.

If the filter’s dirty enough to be causing major problems for your AC, you may be able to see it with your naked eye. Either way, though, replacing a disposable air filter is a cheap solution that works immediately.

2. Your AC Needs Maintenance

If it’s been some time since you’ve had an HVAC maintenance visit from one of our expert HVAC technicians, it could be why you’re having trouble. Regular maintenance visits help keep your home’s AC in perfect working order by fixing small issues before they turn into large ones. For example, skipping regular maintenance could allow your AC to run low on refrigerant without anyone noticing. That would harm your AC’s ability to cool your home.

It would also increase the odds of further damage to your system as you run it for longer and longer to keep cool. Your AC may also have a dirty evaporator coil if you haven’t had professional maintenance in some time. That would prevent proper airflow through your AC and make it struggle to cool your home. Both conditions could even lead to a frozen evaporator coil, which would prevent your AC from cooling your home at all until it had time to thaw.

Many HVAC professionals offer annual maintenance plans that include an annual maintenance visit and inspection. This is not only a good opportunity to ensure that your AC is functioning well for the summer, but it also gives you an idea of the remaining lifespan of the unit with plenty of time to start budgeting. If you are part of a service plan and end up with issues, many companies offer discounts on repairs to members of their annual service plans.

3. Your Indoor Humidity Is High

Here in San Antonio, we have an average outdoor humidity of 67%. However, you’ll feel most comfortable when your indoor humidity sits between 30% and 50%. Most of the time, your AC should have no problem keeping your home within that desired range. But when the outdoor humidity soars, it could struggle to keep up.

The problem with that is the fact that you’ll feel much hotter when the humidity is too high. It’s because humidity interferes with the human body’s ability to cool itself. When you sweat, your body’s counting on the sweat evaporating to carry heat away from your body. However, humid air won’t let that happen. So, on an excessively humid day, you may feel warmer in your home than your thermostat suggests you should.

This doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem with your AC. It could mean that you need a dehumidifier to augment your AC’s capacity to remove moisture from the air. So, if your thermostat says you shouldn’t feel warm but you do anyway, you should measure your indoor humidity. If it’s above 60%, consider adding a dehumidifier to your home.

Dehumidifier equipment can be installed in line with your central air system. Alternatively, you can use portable, standalone units. Dehumidifiers have additional benefits, like lowering the risk of mold accumulation in your home.

4. You Have Leaky Ductwork

If your home relies on a ducted central AC system, your home’s ductwork could be the reason your AC struggles to cool your home. Over time, ductwork can develop leaks and other issues that sap cooling power from your AC. Under normal circumstances, an AC may waste up to 30% of its energy via ductwork-related losses.

If you notice that the vents in your home nearest to your AC still have plenty of cold air coming from them while your AC runs, it could indicate that your AC unit is working. If airflow lessens or warms at the most distant vents, you could have a ductwork issue. Work with a professional to inspect your ducts if you suspect the issue. It’s a great opportunity to have them cleaned. If there is an issue, you may need to have your ducts re-sealed, re-insulated, or partially replaced.

5. Something’s Obstructing Your Outdoor Unit

When your AC struggles to keep you cool, you should also take a walk outside to inspect your AC’s outdoor unit. This component needs sufficient airflow to operate efficiently. If the area around this unit gets cluttered or obstructed, it will negatively impact your AC’s cooling capacity.

The good news is that all you need to do to solve the problem is to clean up the area around your outdoor unit. Ideally, you want as much free space around your outdoor unit as conditions allow. In most cases, at least a foot of clearance on all sides is the minimum required.

If you notice that your outdoor unit is excessively dirty, you can give it a cleaning. To do it, turn off your AC and its power supply, rinse your outdoor unit with a garden hose, and allow it to dry. When you turn your AC back on, you may find that it has an easier time managing the heat in your home.

6. Your AC Is Too Small

If your air conditioner is struggling to cool your home, it could be too small for the task. This could happen for a variety of reasons. The first is a heat load calculation oversight. If you placed an addition on your home without reconsidering the size of your HVAC, you may have an undersized AC. These units may not be able to fully cool your home.

Undersized AC units may run continuously on hot days. This can cause premature wear to your system and increase your utility bills as well. Today’s AC systems operate at higher efficiency levels than older ones. This means that even if you purchase a new AC of the same size and capacity, there’s a good reason to expect that it will outperform your old one, saving you money on operating costs.

Count on Us to Help You Keep Cool

Whatever the reason for your home’s AC struggles, Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating can help. We offer comprehensive HVAC services, including system installation, maintenance, and repair. We also offer duct cleaning and repair, as well as indoor air quality services. If your San Antonio home’s AC isn’t working the way you think it should schedule an appointment with one of our NATE-certified HVAC experts today to find out why!

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