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Serving Orange County

- SINCE 1981 -

Serving Orange County

- SINCE 1981 -


Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30-5:30PM
Saturday: 8:00-1:00PM


Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air Blog

An AC That Isn’t Cooling Enough? Here’s What Might Be Happening


The temperatures are warming up, summer is almost here … and your air conditioning system is already disappointing you. 

You don’t want to go through the summer with an air conditioner that is struggling to keep up with the heat. If you’ve noticed that it’s taking too long for the AC to deliver the comfort you want, or the AC isn’t getting the house to its regular level of cooling, you may need to look into air conditioning repair in Irvine, CA from our pros. 

There may be a simple explanation, so we’re going to climb a ladder of possibilities, from the simplest to the most complex, to see what’s causing the AC’s capacity problem.

#1. A clogged air filter

Clogged air filters are a leading cause of preventable air conditioning (and heating) problems. In this case, a filter that’s been left in place for too long will have enough debris caught in it that it will severely reduce how much air passes through the AC to be cooled. Put in a clean filter and make filter changes a regular task you do every one to three months. 

#2. Obstructed condenser

The condenser is the outdoor cabinet of a split system AC. It needs to have at least a foot of clearance on all sides so its fan can exhaust the heat moved from inside the house. If the condenser is obstructed (branches, leaves, mulch, shrubs), an air conditioner will begin to overheat and not be able to cool the house. 

#3. Miscalibrated thermostat

You set the thermostat for 78°F (a recommended energy-saving setting), but the house still feels too warm. That might be the fault of the thermostat: if it’s miscalibrated, it may sense the house is cooler than it is and shut off the air conditioning system early. Please don’t push the thermostat down lower to try to get around this, since it will place too much strain on the AC. Instead, call technicians who can recalibrate or replace the thermostat.

#4. Refrigerant leaks

ACs have a set amount of refrigerant that won’t decrease during the system’s life—unless the refrigerant lines leak. These leaks put the whole AC in jeopardy, but before they cause the compressor to burn out, they’ll lower the cooling capacity of the air conditioner. Call technicians to find the leaks, seal them, and then restore the lost refrigerant so the AC will work properly.

#5. Short-cycling

For some reason, the AC is starting and stopping rapidly rather than finishing a full cooling cycle. Not only will this prevent the air conditioner from cooling the house evenly, it will put immense wear on components and cause electric bills to skyrocket. Technicians must find out what’s causing this and fix it. 

#5. The AC is too small

Is this a new AC? Did an amateur install it? Then we have bad news: the air conditioner is probably undersized and cannot get the house cool enough, no matter what. You’ll need us to replace the system. We’ll make sure you have a new AC that’s the correct size.

Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air has served Orange County since 1981. Call us when you’ve got AC problems you want fixed, and fixed right!

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