Every San Antonio resident who has spent at least one summer in the city knows how miserable the humidity makes the air feel outdoors. Most homeowners use an air conditioner to stay cool indoors during the summer. You may have one or more units in a window or an HVAC system. If you have window units, you know that they typically perform well as long as you follow their room size capacity limits. With a central air conditioning system, it is important to keep your unit in good condition to maximize its useful life. One important part of this is knowing your unit’s limitations and understanding how humid air affects its workload. To better understand that, it helps to know how your unit functions.
How an Air Conditioner Works
A central air conditioning unit uses the HVAC system to pull warm air out of your house. With a split system, a refrigerant is circulated and condensed. This process creates a liquid, which is transmitted through a cooling component. After that, an indoor fan in the system moves the air around to pass over the evaporator. Special fins on that part create energy that makes a vapor and removes heat. The cool air is then blown into your house. At this time, the outdoor unit converts the vapor to a liquid and also removes heat. It then leaves the unit as a low-pressure gas. The process repeats until the system detects that your home is cooled to the setting on the thermostat.
Effects of Humidity on Central AC Units
The air conversion process in your unit removes humidity, which makes your home feel both cooler and drier. When the outdoor temperature is high and the humidity level is also high, your unit has to work harder to remove moisture from the air while it tries to maintain your desired thermostat setting. If there is too much stress on your unit, it cannot remove moisture as well. You may notice that the air feels damp or that it does not feel as cool as usual when there is a heat wave accompanied by humidity.
Also, some people notice that their windows look foggy or collect moisture on a humid and hot day even when they have the air conditioner set to a lower temperature. If this happens to you and the air feels heavier in your home, the next step is to figure out why your system is working too hard. When the cooling unit is overworked on a hot day, it may also freeze up and stop circulating cool air.
One reason why your unit may not work optimally is because it needs to be serviced. As a rule, your cooling system should be serviced at least once every year. The same is true with your heating system. We recommend having your cooling system serviced and inspected in the spring before you need to use it, and we recommend having your heating unit checked in the fall. Proper servicing of both units and inspection of your HVAC system will minimize issues and can prevent minor problems from becoming worse and more expensive problems. Also, technicians get many calls on the hottest days and may not be able to respond as quickly. It is much better to have a technician look at your unit before a problem has the chance to happen on a sweltering San Antonio summer day.
Another reason why your air conditioner may be running poorly is its age. If it is old and is wearing out, you may notice that it performs worse on hotter and more humid days. It may also not work properly if you have the incorrect size of unit. For example, you may have had a friend who installed your unit for you without knowing which size was optimal for your home. In this instance, you may need a larger unit. We recommend that you always have a professional install an air conditioning unit to ensure that it will not work too hard to cool your home.
How an AC Repair Technician Can Help
If your cooling system is not working properly, it is important to call an AC repair specialist quickly. Some people ignore problems or changes in an air conditioner’s efficiency too long. An AC repair technician will inspect the HVAC system and the cooling unit to find the problem. In some situations, there is a refrigerant leak or an inadequate coolant level due to an improper charge. When this happens, ice can form on the coils.
An AC repair specialist will also look for dirt and debris. If dirty evaporator coils are causing problems, the technician can clean them. Also, the technician will properly clear an area around the unit to ensure good airflow. Since airflow restrictions can hamper the performance of your cooling system and make it work harder, the AC repair technician will also inspect the ducts to ensure that they are the right size and are not obstructed. A professional can advise you whether you need additional return ducts. In some cases, inadequate return ducts can cause problems. Technicians also check for clogged or closed vents. Additionally, an AC repair professional will check the air filter to see if it needs to be changed. A clogged air filter is often the culprit of reduced air circulation.
Once the AC repair specialist ensures that airflow is optimized and that the unit is serviced, your air conditioner should work well. However, a new part or a repair service may be necessary. Also, the technician will recommend that you upgrade to a new air conditioner if your unit is not working well because it is old. A benefit of upgrading to a new air conditioning unit is that you can save money on a long-term basis. New units are designed to minimize energy consumption. If your old unit is also too small for your home and you get one that is the right size, you may notice a reduction in your energy costs.
If you are having any problems with your air conditioner’s performance or if you have not yet had it serviced, contact us today. We provide prompt and reliable AC repair and maintenance services in San Antonio.