My AC Isn’t “Keeping Up” Q: My air conditioner is working, but it’s not “keeping up”. It feels like the air coming out is cool enough but the house never gets to the point where it’s really comfortable. Do you have any ideas as to what the problem could be?

A: It’s Labor Day. I’m ready for cooler weather. But it’s going to be 103 degrees today. So our AC units aren’t going to get a rest for at least a little while.

As to why your house isn’t cooling off completely, as Renault said at the end of “Casablanca”, let us “round up the usual suspects”.

Suspect #1: Your AC unit is undersized for the space you’re trying to cool.

For example, a small window unit can’t be expected to cool a space beyond the room that it’s in. That unit could run 24/7 but it doesn’t have the capacity to keep up with triple digit heat.

If you have a central air conditioning unit, the same principle holds true. If you have a large house and your AC unit isn’t large enough, (or, using the industry jargon, doesn’t have enough “tonnage”) it won’t be able to adequately cool your home during very hot weather.

Professional AC technicians can do a measure and evaluation of your home to determine what size cooling units will be adequate for your home.

There’s another reason your home may not be cooling off enough. And the solution is a lot easier than buying a larger AC unit.

Suspect #2: Your filters need to be changed.

Think about it this way. You wisely put on a breathing mask before cleaning out your dusty garage. It keeps the dust out of your lungs and breathing clearly. Now go in the kitchen and spread peanut butter all over the outside of the mask. How’s that air flow working for you now?

It’s the same with your AC filters. The more particulates (read “dirt”) they capture, the more the air flow decreases. When the air flow decreases, so does your AC unit’s ability to cool your home. It’s advisable to change your filters once a month. With all the dust storms we have in West Texas, you may want to change them more often.

Remember, too, that if you have a central air system you will likely have multiple filter locations. Change all of them. And make sure that each filter fits properly. An ill fitted filter will allow dirty air to be sucked into the condenser coil and evaporator coil. (See Suspect #4 below)

Suspect #3: You may have a disconnect in your duct work.

It doesn’t happen often and it may take a bit of attic crawling to determine, but you may have a disconnected duct. This means the cool air isn’t making it to your vents. The solution is simple. Reconnect the duct.

Suspect #4: You have a dirty evaporator coil or a dirty condenser coil.

This goes back to the importance of changing your filters regularly. If your filter is clogged the system will pull unfiltered air from any cracks and crevices in the system. And it will pull dirty air through the filter. When this dirt hits the condenser coil or evaporator coil it combines with the moisture and turns to sludge. Over time, your coils will become coated and unable to do their job. Left undiagnosed and untreated, your air conditioning system will die a slow and painful death. The only fix at that point may be a new AC system.

The professionals at Sinclair are pleased to evaluate your cooling system. We’ll troubleshoot for efficiency problems, easy fixes and catch small problems before they become major expenses. Our goal is to keep you cool while you wait for the heat to break! Call Sinclair at 806-749-COOL (2665)

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