How to Avoid Overheating Your AC

Appliances designed to generate cold air create heat as a necessary byproduct. Your AC works by pulling heat out of your indoor air and releasing it outside. This means there is already a significant amount of heat transfer going on when you run your AC. Meanwhile, electricity is powering the moving elements of your AC, like the blower motor, and heat will naturally be created as a result. Generally, the heat created by your AC is not noticeable. It all occurs in your outdoor unit and escapes into the air.

The challenge is when your AC starts to produce so much heat that it cannot dissipate fast enough. This causes your AC to work even harder to cool itself down, creating an ongoing cycle that will eventually burn out your AC. While this is a rare problem, any damage done in a burnt out appliance can be expensive to fix or may even necessitate replacement so taking a few steps to prevent your AC from overheating can be valuable.

Steps to Prevent an AC from Overheating

As they are designed, an air conditioner should not overheat. They have specifications to carefully manage power input and disperse heat optimally.

But you can begin to have issues as soon as something is wrong with one part of the system. This forces the rest of the system to work harder to compensate, and this is where overheating can happen. 

At the same time, the outdoor part of your AC unit is already operating at a disadvantage considering the air around it is almost guaranteed to be extremely warm on any day you are running your AC. This affects heat dissipation and on these days, your AC is also working harder to cool your home and bring the temperature indoors down to a comfortable level.

When a part of your AC is not working, these environmental factors can tip your system over the edge into overheating, causing a more expensive problem. You can use the following strategies before this happens to make your AC work more efficiently and cut down on heat:

  • Replace the Air Filter – The recommended schedule for replacing the air filter is once a month when you were running your AC daily, but you may need to adjust depending on how clogged the air filter is when you check it. A clogged air filter forces your AC to work harder to push air through.
  • Clean AC Coils – The refrigerant flows through your AC coils, absorbing warm air inside the unit and releasing it outside. If your exterior AC coils are dirty, there is less space for heat to dissipate which will require an AC to run more continuously.
  • Clean Fan Blades – Fans are designed to aerodynamically cut through the air. If your fan blades are covered with dirt and debris, it reduces the fan’s aerodynamics and makes the motor work harder to push the fan.
  • Reduce Sun Exposure – If your air conditioner gets a lot of sun exposure during the hottest part of the day, that will naturally increase its temperature. Reducing exposure can help manage this heat, but make sure you maintain airflow around the unit on all sides as this is essential for cooling.
  • Calibrate Your Thermostat – If your thermostat is sending the wrong information to your AC, it can cause it to be running more often than it needs to and reduce the time it has to cool down.
  • Regular Servicing – Regular AC tune ups are the best way to prevent any of these issues from occurring. Your technician will be able to catch problems early on, clean and unclog anything that might have accumulated dirt, and replace elements that have become worn, reducing the risk that something will fail and your AC will overheat. 

These steps can keep your AC running cool and efficiently for as long as possible, although at a certain point, the age of an air conditioner means overheating becomes more likely. This is because all the individual parts have decreased efficiency, forcing the AC to continuously work harder than it had to when it was new.

When your AC reaches this point, AC replacement is usually a necessity. Lewis Comfort Control is a full service AC company in Nashville. Whether we can provide AC repair if your air conditioner has been overheating, regular AC maintenance to prevent overheating, or install a new AC if the time has come to update your unit, call us to learn more about our array of affordable AC repair and HVAC services.

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