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Your AC Has Cooling Limits—Let’s Talk About That

thermostat-and-woman-72-degreesThe modern electro-mechanical air conditioner is a marvel of technology: a device that provides cool comfort to a building on a hot day just by circulating refrigerant to move heat from the indoor air, then distributing that air around the rooms. 

Of course, the word just is doing the heavy lifting in that sentence, since air conditioning systems are complex and precise devices where many components must work in conjunction to create the cooling a house enjoys.

And that cooling has limits. You probably know that the AC keeping your home an oasis of relaxation doesn’t have infinite cooling power—it can’t make the house as cold as a freezer, even if you did want that. We’re going to use this post to look at what the cooling limits of your air conditioning in Athens, GA actually are.

An AC’s Limit Is Called Its Temperature Differential 

The HVAC industry term for how cool an air conditioning system can make a space is the temperature differential. It’s how much the AC can lower the temperature of the air entering it. In practice, you can think of it as how much cooler your air conditioner can make your home compared to the temperature outside—not strictly accurate, but near enough for you to make judgments about setting the thermostat. 

The temperature differential for most air conditioning systems is 20°. (All measurements in Fahrenheit.) On a typical summer day, when it’s 85° outside, your air conditioning system can lower your house to 65°. That’s a low setting—most people will find that far too cold. The Department of Energy Recommends (and we can concur) a daytime setting of 78° when people are home. That means your AC can handle an 85° day without a problem. In fact, it can tackle a 98° day as well. And considering that the AC is conditioning the air circulating through the house that’s already had some cooling, the 20° differential can handle temperatures a bit over 100° without too much trouble—and we don’t get too many days that are that hot. 

In fact, humidity is more likely to be the comfort problem on the hottest summer days, which is why we recommend whole-house dehumidifiers. With an AC and a dehumidifier, you should be set to handle the most scorching and humid days in ideal comfort in your house. 

The AC Must Be Correctly Sized

Consider this an asterisk to all the above: an air conditioning system will only be able to provide full comfort with its 20° temperature differential if it was accurately sized for the house. If the AC is undersized, it won’t be able to meet the required setting on the thermostat. Instead, it will run continuously, wasting power as it tries to reach the unattainable. (Oversized is also a problem, although that’s because of energy waste.) This is one of the many reasons why only professionals can be trusted with an AC installation. When our technicians install an air conditioner, they take special care to ensure its cooling capacity matches the home’s needs.

At Snellville Heating, Air and Plumbing, “Your comfort Is OUR Business!” Call us today for the best in air conditioning and dehumidification solutions. 

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