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Your AC Has Cooling Limits: Here’s What They Are

heat-wave-with-fanHave you ever wondered just how cold the central air conditioning system can make your home? You probably already know what the lowest setting on the thermostat is. For most models, it’s 60°F, which is plenty cool. Too cool for most. But in case of an extremely hot day, how much power can you force from the AC? How much cool air can you blast into the home to keep you as comfortable as you want?

We’re glad you’re asking these questions, regardless of whether you’re in a bind with the heat or you’re just curious. Understanding the limits of a central air conditioning system can help you operate it better, give it a longer service life, lower the cost to run it, and reduce the number of repairs it needs.

The 20°F Limit

Here’s the limit of your air conditioning system: it can lower the temperature indoors by 20°F. That’s true no matter what type of AC you have. If the unit was sized correctly, neither too large nor too small for the house, it has the capacity to remove enough heat to the outside to lower the temperature by 20°F.

In most situations, this is more than enough to enjoy comfort. For example, on a 90°F Florida day, the AC can cool the interior of the house down to 70°F, which is comfortable for almost anyone. It can probably lower the temperature more because a well-insulated house will slow down the flow of outside heat, so the indoors will already be cooler than the outdoors.

The US Department of Energy recommends setting thermostats at 78°F during the day when people are home. This makes it easier to manage hot days without forcing the air conditioner past the 20°F maximum. The smaller the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the slower heat moves indoors and the easier it is to maintain indoor comfort.

Don’t Push Past the 20°F Limit

Please show mercy to your air conditioner and never set the thermostat more than 20°F lower than the outdoor temperature. If you request the cooling system lower the temperature past the 20°F threshold, the AC’s compressor will run continually as it struggles to reach an impossible goal. This wastes money and shortens equipment life, putting the compressor on a collision course with burn-out.

Can you purchase an AC that’s more powerful? Not for a home. The science of refrigeration systems has developed the ideal balance of energy efficiency and even distribution of comfort. For an air conditioner to lower the temperature further would require sending out frigid air. This is incredibly expensive and also creates uneven cooling. The areas near the room vents would experience deep chills, making parts of the house unbearable unless people wear sweaters. Bad news all around!

If your central AC isn’t managing to keep your house comfortable, we recommend calling for air conditioning service in Clearwater, FL. The problem may be a malfunction or a dying air conditioner. Don’t push the thermostat down—let us solve the problem.

Schedule an appointment with Balanced Air, Inc. today and Experience Comfort! Serving the Tampa Bay Area since 1988.

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