A/C struggling in the Kansas heat? Here are 5 Quick Fixes!

September 15, 2016 7:14 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

As temperatures in Kansas skyrocket to over 100*F, you’re A/C may be struggling to keep you cool.

But why is that? Shouldn’t the A/C work well no matter what the temperature is?

Well, think of it like this: In the summer, your home is constantly gaining heat and your air conditioner is working like a heat sponge: It’s constantly absorbing that heat and dumping it outside.

But, if your home gains heat at a rate that’s higher than what you’re A/C can dump outside, your system will struggle to meet your desired temperature. In other words, heat coming in is exceeding the heat going out.

That’s why your thermostat may read 80 when you have it set on 75.

So, with that in mind, you can do 2 things:

  • Reduce the amount of heat getting into your home.
  • Help your A/C work more efficiently.

1. Close the blinds and drapes

Your windows are basically giant heat portals. The more heat they let in, the harder your A/C has to work. So to prevent heat gain, close blinds and drapes on windows that get direct sunlight.

2. Change the air filter

A dirty filter adds resistance and slows down airflow, causing the A/C to:

  • Not cool your home properly (as you may be experiencing now)
  • Run inefficiently, increasing your energy bills
  • Overheat and trip your circuit breaker
  • Breakdown

3. Open all your air vents

Do you have any unused rooms where you’ve closed your air vents? Well, it’s time to open those bad boys up, because closing them isn’t doing you any favors. In fact, closing them actually makes that A/C run harder! This also applies to furniture in front of air vents, blocking the air flow. Time to rearrange that furniture!
How is that possible?
First, you need to understand that closing an A/C vent does not make the A/C run any less; it just forces the same amount of air through fewer vents. In other words, it increases pressure in the ductwork (think about it like trying to breathe through one nostril instead of two).

The extra pressure causes a few issues:

  • The A/C blower slows down. The blower is designed to work against a certain amount of pressure. So when it works against too much pressure, the motor slows down (only applies to non-variable speed models). This, in turn, causes your home to be cooled at a slower rate.
  • The amount of duct leakage increases. Your ductwork most likely already has some air duct leaks. Adding extra pressure to an already leaky system is like jumping on an air mattress that’s already leaking air. More holes form or current holes get bigger. As this image will help illustrate, more duct leakage means losing conditioned air to unconditioned places (like your attic). So, be sure and keep all your air vents open.

4. Make sure the outside unit is clear of debris

Like we said, you’re A/C is a heat sponge whose job is to absorb heat and dump it outside. The inside unit does the absorbing; the outside unit does the dumping. But if the outside unit is covered in leaves, grass clippings, cobwebs or is smothered by a bush, it will struggle to dump the heat outside.

Do this:

Clean off the outside unit the best you can

Trim away any bushes and keep weeds pulled next to unit.

5. Make sure your thermostat is set to ON.

When multiple people live in the same house, one person may turn the unit off and forget to let the next one know…this can happen fairly easily. It’s always a good idea to double check the thermostat.

CAUTION: Beware of power outages

As a side note, we want you to keep in mind that during the hot days of summer, there is extra strain on the power companies from everyone running their air conditioner. And that can cause temporary power outages. When you regain power, the A/C may not turn back on. This could be dangerous for those inside pets, not to mention all that heat could damage your home.

When this happens, go to the breaker panel or the unit itself and turn the breaker off or unplug the unit from the wall. Give it a few minutes, then flip it back on or plug back in. Again, wait a few minutes, to let your unit talk to each other and get back on track. This should resolve the soft lockout that had occurred when the power surged. If the unit does not come back on and run normal within 15-20 minutes, give us a call.

The non-quick fix for a struggling A/C
If you’ve tried all the above quick DIY solutions and your AC is still struggling to cool your home, then the true problem may lie elsewhere. A professional is most likely needed.

Contact KVK Inc., your Authorized York Dealer, and we will take care of you.

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