Why Can’t My AC Keep Up With The 100 Degree Heat Wave?

Jul 29, 2021

Why Can’t I Keep a Cool Home with the 100 Degree Heat Wave?

Two hot, sweaty HVAC owners struggle to keep their home cool in the 100 degree heat wave

With our record breaking 100-Degree Heatwave underway, this is the time of the year in the Tri-Cities when we rely the most on our air conditioners to keep a cool home. Our safeguard to it being oppressively warm in our homes is the AC unit that keeps us relatively cool and comfortable during the warm summer months.

But are our air conditioners meant to handle such extreme heat? When it is 100 degrees outside, how cool can we realistically expect it to be inside our homes? And are we willing to settle for slightly warmer temperatures inside to prevent our AC units from being 

Why AC Units Cannot Keep Up with 100-Degree Temperatures

The reason your air conditioner cannot deliver colder temperatures inside your home may be disappointing to learn, but they simply were not designed to do so. The limited capacity of your AC unit may be frustrating but setting your thermostat too low could actually cause undo wear on your system.

When it isn’t as cool as you might prefer, there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with your AC unit. While it could seem strange for your house to be 78 degrees when it is set for 
70 degrees, the sustained high temperatures outside are also abnormal.

Your air conditioner is sized for what the temperature is most likely to be in the summer with the highs hovering around the upper eighties to the mid-nineties. This is generally what is normal for the Tri-Cities. Your air conditioner is designed to cool at a maximum of 20 degrees from the outside temperature. So with the 100 degree heat wave, if your air conditioner treats your indoor air to approximately 80 degrees or slightly below that, then it is operating normally. That is all you can realistically expect from your AC unit.

Ways to Keep A Cool Home This Summer

Although you can rely on your AC unit only so much, it will cool your home substantially. In the meantime, there are steps you can take to further bring down the temperature inside. 
They include:

Keep your blinds closed during the day-light hours.

Cook outside instead of using the stove or oven.

Change your AC filter

Set your thermostat slightly higher to prevent excessive wear on your air conditioner.

Prune back your shrubs and eliminate debris around your outdoor AC unit.

Do your laundry and run your dishwasher early in the morning or at night when it is cooler outside.

Spray down the condenser with your hose.

Do not close vents, as your AC unit has to dispense air evenly without excess pressure.

As is the case with any mechanical system, your air conditioner needs to be adequately maintained. In fact, preventive maintenance in the spring, or summer if necessary, will help you avoid costly fixes while also enhancing the effectiveness of your AC unit during the
hot weather.

Problems with Your AC Unit That Could Keep it From Adequately Cooling Your Home

Dirty Condenser Coils

Your air conditioner does not make cold air. It removes heat from the air, which reduces the temperature inside your home. This heat removal process happens in the AC unit’s condenser. If the outdoor condenser coils are clogged with dirt and debris, your air conditioner cannot expel the heat the way it needs to in order to cool your home.

Dirty Evaporator Coils

Known also as the indoor coils, evaporator coils have to be clean so the air can pass across the coils unimpeded. When these coils become clogged with dirt, they freeze up, which makes it more difficult to adequately cool your home. You can detect this problem by reaching with your hand into the register, or air vent, and feeling no movement. That signals a problem with your evaporator coils.

Refrigerant Leak

Newer AC equipment does not run on Freon (R-22 Refrigerant), as most operate with R-410a these days. While refrigerant does not wear out or evaporate, a refrigerant leak can cause an air conditioning unit to be unable to keep up and will gradually stop working completely.

Overheating Fan Motor or Compressor

There are occasions when a failing fan motor or compressor can overheat and no longer function. Then after cooling down, it begins to operate normally for awhile until it overheats again. When this occurs, it can be difficult to catch because this problem is intermittent. The temperature in your home will increase whenever the motor shuts off, but then begin producing cold air again when it turns back on.

Look to Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning to Keep a Cool Home

Look to the HVAC experts at Apollo to ensure your energy system is in excellent condition and operating at optimal efficiency so you can stay cool and comfortable this summer. Our experienced team of highly trained technicians will work with you and exceed your expectations during HVAC repairs and A/C unit replacements.

Apollo field technicians will work closely with you in deciding what HVAC system is the best, and tailor it to fit your unique needs and preferences! We are committed to delivering premium quality HVAC service, maintenance, products, and documentation in Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, and beyond!

Learn more by contacting Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning! Call us at (509) 396-COLD (2653).