We can expect another intense, hot summer ahead. The spring has already thrown a few 90+ days at us. This kind of heat may make you worry about whether your AC can stand up to it. After all, it’s a Southern Californian’s nightmare to have a home air conditioning system suddenly fail during one of the hottest days of the season.
The best weapon you have against AC failure during the coming heat is professional maintenance. We recommend calling us to schedule the service at your earliest convenience: spring is the ideal time to have the job done, and the summer is approaching fast. If you have this service, you can feel better about your AC’s performance for the season.
But we do want to address the issue of intense heat vs. an air conditioner and talk about what kind of effect heatwaves have on cooling systems. This can help you understand when you need to call us for air conditioning repair in Orange County.
More Heat = More Work for an AC
When the outdoor heat rises, an air conditioning system must work harder. This is for two reasons.
- An air conditioner must run for longer cycles to remove the extra heat inside the house. To help reduce this level of strain on your AC, we advise you to keep the thermostat set as high as you find comfortable: 78°F is a good target. Not only does this force the AC to operate less, it slows down the rate at which heat enters the house—the closer the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the slower heat moves from one to the other.
- The AC must strain more to carry out heat transfer. An air conditioner works by removing heat from the indoor air and then expelling it outside. The higher the outdoor temperature, the harder the AC must work to push heat outdoors, since it’s trying to release heat into an already hot environment. Once again, a higher thermostat setting will prevent the air conditioner from working too hard to overcome the temperature difference.
Potential Damage to the AC
Air conditioning systems are built to withstand extreme heat because that’s what they’re expected to operate in. The heat itself usually won’t be the source of air conditioning damage—it’s the work the air conditioning system has to do that can cause malfunctions. There are some exceptions: the capacitors in an air conditioner, which send electrical charges to the motors to start them and keep them running, can begin to lose their ability to hold a charge because of long heat exposure. You may need to have capacitors replaced at some point in the AC’s service life. Maintenance service will catch this problem early.
An air conditioning system can also overheat while running if the outdoor coils are not capable of pushing out enough heat to the outside air. This usually happens because the coils are dirty (again, something maintenance takes care of) or the air conditioner is getting too old. If your AC starts to trip its circuit breaker during heatwaves, call us to see what repairs will fix the problem or if the AC is too old and needs to be replaced.
Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air has served Orange County since 1981. Rely on us to take care of all your cooling needs this summer and every summer.