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Touchstone Heating & Air Inc. Blog

Your Air Conditioning System Has Its Limits

young-woman-shiversIn the Florida fall weather, home air conditioners still put in plenty of work—and sometimes they’ll hit their limit and need air conditioning repair in Newberry, FL.

We want to discuss air conditioning system limits in greater detail so our customers can understand what their ACs can and cannot do. An AC is not an unending supply of cooling that works against the heat no matter what—it has limitations, and we’re going to look closer at them.

The 20° Cooling Capacity

Air conditioning systems are designed to operate within certain parameters. The same way you can’t make your car drive 200 mph, you can’t push an air conditioning system to cool a house outside its parameters. Specifically, residential air conditioning systems are designed to be able to lower the indoor temperature by 20°F.

For example: It’s an extremely hot day in North Central Florida, with temperatures around 95°F (yes, this is the outdoor temperature as we write this!). An air conditioning system can lower the temperature from 95°F to 75°F. This is a relaxing temperature for most people; in fact, 78°F is the energy-saving temperature the US Department of Energy recommends for thermostat settings during hot weather.

Now, if the weather were around 110°F—and we know this sometimes happens—an air conditioner could only lower it to around 90°F.

This isn’t as awful as it may first seem, because these calculations don’t take account of factors such as home insulation, shuttered windows, and wind chill from fans. These help make it easier to keep extra heat out of the house and to allow people’s bodies to release heat faster. But you will get an idea of what an air conditioning system’s limits are.

Don’t Push the 20° Capacity

Why does an air conditioner have this limitation? Why not build an AC that will cool even more?

Two reasons. First, it would mean a hugely inefficient air conditioner that would run constantly. Second, it would create an uncomfortable imbalance of indoor temperatures. To lower a house’s temperature more than 20°F would require the AC to blast out almost freezing air. Areas near vents would be unbearable, and in some rooms family members would need to put on parkas to avoid being miserably cold. The 20°F cooling capacity is ideal for indoor comfort and efficiency in almost all situations.

If you lower the thermostat in your house to attempt to cool down the space by more than 20°F, the AC will run constantly as it struggles to reach a temperature that it cannot reach. This wastes power (and therefore wastes money) and puts great strain on the system that can lead to repairs and breakdowns. If you are facing trouble properly cooling your home, the best route is to call our HVAC experts to see if the air conditioner needs repairs or is improperly sized for the house.

Serving the Communities of North Central Florida since 1998—Touchstone Heating & Air Inc! Call anytime of the day or night, 365 days a year.

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