Why Your AC May Be Struggling to Cool Your Home
Article updated on May 23, 2023.
Let’s face it, AC units malfunction, and at the end of the day, don’t last forever.
Like any other complex machine that runs tirelessly, HVAC systems need regular professional maintenance, at-home care, and expert repairs from time to time. As the scorching summer heat sets in, the importance of a well-functioning air conditioning system becomes undeniable. However, what happens when your AC starts struggling to keep your home cool? It can be frustrating and uncomfortable, leaving you wondering about the underlying causes.
In this article, we explore common reasons why your AC may be struggling; by understanding these factors, you’ll be better equipped to address the issues and restore comfort to your home. Let’s get started!
Have a question about your air conditioning system? Contact Madd Air Heating & Cooling Today!
1. AC Maintenance Neglect
One of the most common reasons for reduced performance is neglecting regular HVAC maintenance. Over time, dust and debris can accumulate on the AC unit’s condenser coils, reducing their ability to transfer heat effectively. Additionally, clogged air filters restrict airflow, causing the system to work harder to cool your home.
To prevent these issues, it is crucial to clean or replace air filters regularly and schedule professional maintenance to clean the condenser coils, check refrigerant levels, and ensure all components are in optimal condition. Proper maintenance maintains the performance of your AC unit, helps control energy use and efficiency, and extends the lifespan of your system altogether.
Neglecting such an integral part of caring for your HVAC system will incur expensive and recurring repairs, constant discomfort, extreme frustration, and early equipment failure.
Signs You Need Expert AC Maintenance:
- Your system is blowing warm air
- Insufficient or weak airflow
- Frequent cycling
- Foul smells
- Unusual noises
- Increases in your electric bill
If any of these issues sound familiar, a quick inspection and tune-up from an HVAC professional may do the trick!
If the maintenance/tune-up solves your problem, then great, be sure to schedule your next maintenance session and continue upkeep.
If maintenance doesn’t solve the problem, you may have gone too long without it and now have other issues that need addressing.
2. Problems with Your Ductwork
Your AC’s performance can be severely hampered by problems with your home’s ductwork. Leaks, gaps, or improperly sealed ducts can allow cool air to escape before it reaches its intended destination. As a result, your AC will struggle to maintain the desired temperature, leading to reduced cooling efficiency and increased energy consumption.
Having an expert inspect your ductwork for leaks and seal them with appropriate materials can significantly improve your AC’s performance and help keep your home cool.
- Hot & cold spots
- Your unit struggles to keep your home cool
- Heightened energy bills
- Your AC system seems to be making your home very dusty
- Your home’s air ducts are outdated
- Your indoor air quality seems to have diminished
If any of these examples seem familiar, you need to hire an HVAC professional to assess your ductwork and offer you the best solution; this may even include replacing your ductwork.
3. Improperly Sized AC Unit
An AC unit that is improperly sized for your home can lead to numerous cooling problems. If the unit is too small, it will struggle to cool the space adequately, running continuously and causing unnecessary wear and tear.
Conversely, an oversized unit will cycle on and off frequently, failing to dehumidify the air effectively. To ensure optimal cooling, it is essential to consult with a professional who can determine the correct AC unit size based on your home’s square footage, insulation, and other relevant factors.
Signs Your AC Unit May be the Wrong Size:
- Frequent short-cycling
- A constantly running system
- Rooms that are too hot or too cold
- High levels of humidity
- High energy bills
If you are experiencing any of these issues, you likely need a professional to assess your equipment and provide an adequate replacement.
4. Compromised Airflow
Proper airflow is crucial for an AC system to cool your home efficiently. Several factors can compromise airflow, including blocked or obstructed vents, closed or incorrectly adjusted dampers, and dirty or obstructed evaporator coils. These issues restrict the air’s flow, reducing the system’s cooling capacity.
Regularly cleaning vents and registers, ensuring they are not blocked by furniture or other objects, and checking and adjusting damper settings can help restore optimal airflow and improve your AC’s cooling performance.
Signs you may have blocked airflow:
- Low air pressure
- Your system is blowing warm air
- Your unit’s coils freeze over
- Water leaking from your AC unit
- Hot and colds spots
If you do have ventilation or duct blockages, professional HVAC maintenance should do the trick.
5. Outdated/Low-Quality Roof System
Your home’s roof and its quality matter! A poor roofing system and low-quality materials can significantly impact the indoor temperature of your home and place an excessive workload on your HVAC system. Inadequate insulation, leaks, or gaps in the roofing structure allow for heat transfer, resulting in increased heat gain during hot weather and heat loss during colder seasons. This means that your HVAC system will have to work harder and consume more energy to maintain a comfortable temperature indoors.
Additionally, poor roofing materials may lack reflective properties, leading to excessive heat absorption and the formation of hot spots within your home. These conditions can cause discomfort, inconsistent temperature regulation, and potentially higher energy bills due to the increased HVAC usage required to compensate for the roofing system’s inefficiencies.
6. Time to Replace Your AC Unit
If all else fails, it may just be time for an AC Replacement. HVAC equipment doesn’t last forever and typically needs to be replaced every 10-15 years.
Older AC units often struggle to keep up with the cooling demands of modern homes. Older units tend to have lower energy efficiency ratings and may lack the features and capabilities of newer models. If your AC unit is over a decade old, it may be time to consider an upgrade.
Newer models offer improved energy efficiency, better cooling performance, and advanced features like programmable thermostats, allowing you to customize cooling settings for different areas of your home.
Signs You May Need a New AC Unit:
- Your unit is over ten years old
- You are continually shelling out money on repairs
- Maintenance doesn’t help anymore
- Your home has a hard time getting cool
- Rising energy bills
- Noisy operation
- Your system still uses R-22 Refrigerant
- Improper installation of your previous system
- Inadequately sized AC unit
Call Madd Air for Expert AC Services You Can Count On
When your AC struggles to keep your home cool, it can disrupt your comfort and increase your energy bills. By understanding the common reasons behind this struggle, such as maintenance neglect, ductwork problems, an improperly sized AC unit, compromised airflow, and an outdated AC unit, you can take appropriate steps to address these issues.
If you are having trouble with your AC unit, give Madd Air Heating & Cooling a call today at 281-354-9600.
Our highly trained HVAC technicians have the skill and experience needed to solve all of your air conditioning problems.