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Residential Heating and Air Conditioning Blog

Common Reasons for an Underperforming AC


During a hot summer, if your air conditioning system starts to work less effectively, you will definitely know it! Although your air conditioner is turning on and blowing out cool air from the vents, it feels hotter and more humid than normal.

You’ll feel tempted in a situation like this to drop the thermostat setting lower—but please don’t. If you normally can get comfortable during the summer on even the hottest days with a 78°F thermostat setting, but now you have to drop it down to 72°F, that means something is wrong with the HVAC system that must be addressed. We’re going to look at the common causes for an underperforming cooling system and when you need to call for air conditioning repair in Eden Prairie, MN

ONE: Clogged air filter

The first thing to check when your AC is struggling to keep up with cooling your house is the HVAC air filter. This filter will become clogged with dust and debris after 1-3 months (depending on the strength of the air filter), and a clogged filter will restrict how much air the AC can cool and send to the rooms. Putting in a clean filter may fix the problem—and it will also prevent extra strain on the air conditioner. Get into the habit of regular filter changes every 1–3 months.

TWO: Short cycling

This is a phenomenon where the AC shuts off early before it can complete a normal cooling cycle. An air conditioner should run for around 15 minutes or more in a standard cooling cycle. If that length drops to less than 10 minutes and the AC turns on and off multiple times per hour, it’s short cycling.

This is terrible for the AC, and it also means the system won’t stay on for long enough to properly cool the house. Diagnosing and repairing a short cycling AC is a job for professionals.

THREE: Miscalibrated thermostat

The problem may lie in the thermostat rather than the air conditioner itself. A thermostat that’s miscalibrated will read the wrong temperature in a house, so your normal settings won’t deliver the results you want. If the thermostat is reading the house as colder than it is, it won’t run the AC long enough to meet the target temperature. Fortunately, it’s easy for HVAC professionals to recalibrate the thermostat. In some cases, the thermostat may need a replacement.

FOUR: Undersized air conditioner

Is this the first summer for your AC? If so, one strong possibility is that the air conditioner cannot meet your cooling needs because it is undersized, i.e. it’s not powerful enough to cool your house. This often happens when amateurs do an air conditioning system installation because they didn’t go through the proper steps to size the new AC unit. The only way to correct this is to remove the air conditioner and have professionals replace it. 

FIVE: Dying air conditioner

If you have an AC unit that’s more than 15 years old, this inferior cooling is probably because the system is too old. It’s losing its cooling capacity. Although repairs might fix this problem, that’s a more expensive long-term proposition than replacing it. Talk to your technician about the best way forward.

Call on Residential Heating and Air Conditioning for your home cooling needs and “Feel the Difference”!

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