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House Not Cool Enough? Don’t Keep Turning Down the Thermostat!

thermostat-at-66-degreesAs summer ends and we officially enter the fall, you’re more likely to encounter problems with an air conditioner. After all, it’s just done a hard summer of work, and that causes it to accumulate dust, grime, and general strain. The cumulative total of a full summer workload for an AC can result in it struggling during the fall homestretch.

This is a time to be cautious about an air conditioner’s performance. Unfortunately, caution is usually the opposite of what happens: people are more likely to simply ignore the trouble because the falling cooling is about to start. For example, if an air conditioner begins to have difficulty providing the cooling for the home that it usually does, homeowners often just push the thermostat setting down lower. Is the standard 78°F setting not getting the job done? Push it down to 70°F! Hey, the thermostat can drop as low as 60°F, there’s plenty more to go to keep cool!

Don’t Do This! Something Is Wrong with the Air Conditioner!

Simply put, if your air conditioner is unable to keep up with your standard demands for cooling—the demands it’s been meeting all through the summer—the solution isn’t to try to “force” it to keep up using the thermostat. The solution is to have the air conditioning system repaired, because there’s something wrong. A drop in cooling capacity is a major warning of a malfunction somewhere in the HVAC system. It could be within the air conditioner’s cabinets, the air handler, the ducts; it might even be a problem with the thermostat unit itself.

About the thermostat … we’ve discussed this point before, but it needs to be repeated. Lowering thermostat temperature doesn’t mean more cooling power. It means the AC compressor remains on longer to attempt to meet the setting. So even as a temporary solution to a loss of cooling, lowering the thermostat setting is a bad idea that can cause more damage to the air conditioner.

The Thermostat May Be the Issue

As we mentioned, there’s an array of problems that might lay behind an air conditioner losing cooling capacity. But since we’re on the topic of the thermostat, let’s take a look at the possibility that it has malfunctioned. It doesn’t take much for a thermostat problem to create general problems. A temperature sensing miscalibration is one of the likeliest reasons for poor AC performance: if the thermostat is misreading the house as cooler than it is, then it won’t meet your normal temperature settings and shut off early. This is an easy problem to fix for professionals. (Please don’t open up the thermostat and tamper with the wiring; you may make the problem worse.)

It’s Never Too Late for AC Repair

No matter the potential cause of the failure of proper cooling, it’s important to have the problem repaired. Yes, it will soon start to grow cooler, but you never want an AC to go without repair work for any length of time: it means higher bills, increased wear on the system, and possibly a shorter system lifespan. Plus, should a surprise heat wave hits, the AC may not be able to handle it.

The short version: if your AC isn’t keeping up, call us for air conditioning repair in Wake Forest, NC or elsewhere in the Triangle Area. We’ll see you have the right solution for any late-season cooling problems.

Comfort Master Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.: Serving the Triangle Area of North Carolina.

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