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Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Blog

Know Your Air Conditioner’s Capacity!

Everybody loves Kilowatt HVAC installer Joe Valle

September is often the hottest month in Southern California. We can expect days in the 90s all the way through to October. So no, your home’s AC is not going to get any long vacation from work in the immediate future. In fact, because of the heat, the air conditioner is going to deal with, we want to share with you important information on an air conditioner’s limits. The same way you cannot force your car to drive 200 mph, you can’t force your air conditioner to cool past certain barriers. Think of it this way: if you wanted your house to be cold enough to turn ice into water, you couldn’t make the AC do it! (Not that you would want to…)

So how cold can the AC make my house?

Residential air conditioning systems are designed to be able to lower the indoor temperature by 20°F. If we’re having a hot day in Los Angeles around 92°F, your central air conditioner can lower the indoor temperature down to 72°F. This is a good, comfortable level for a home. In fact, you can raise the thermostat setting higher to 78°F and still enjoy comfort. This is the recommended energy-saving temperature from the US Department of Energy.

Other factors affect the temperature in your house, such as its insulation. Better insulation makes it harder for heat to enter the home, so the house would already be cooler than the 92°F outdoors. So you can expect that your air conditioning system, when it’s in good repair, can handle almost any hot day and keep your family in comfort.

Why air conditioners have the 20°F cooling limit

Is there anything wrong with making air conditioners that can lower temperatures even farther? Why not make extra super strong air conditioners?

There are two reasons. The first is energy efficiency. Trying to lower temperatures farther than 20°F is too taxing on an AC and also too expensive. The second is comfort. For an air conditioner to blow out air that’s cold enough to lower the temperature further, the air must be frigid. Too cold for the comfort of anybody who’s near one of the vents. Although parts of the house would have the right temperature, the rooms with vents would be miserable for anybody not wearing a sweater.

But my AC isn’t getting my home cool enough!

If this is the case, then something is wrong with the air conditioner. Don’t push the thermostat setting down lower than 20°F cooler than the outside temperature, because that will only force the AC to run and run and run as it tries to reach the temperature setting—which it cannot possibly do.

The first step to take is to see if the air filter in the HVAC system is clogged up and needs to be changed. This is a common cause of air conditioners losing cooling capacity. If this isn’t the problem, call for professional AC repair in Van Nuys, CA. Technicians can find out what needs to be fixed. They may even find out the air conditioner was sized wrong when it was put in. An undersized AC won’t even be able to hit the 20°F lower target!

Let Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical handle your home cooling needs. Call our certified service technicians 24/7 for exceptional customer service!

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