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How Heat Extremes Affect Your AC


We can expect to have another hot summer here in the Central Valley, with days that will rise into the triple digits. You’ll need to rely on your AC to work dependably during these heat waves. Remember that you can call us for air conditioning service Fresno, CA and elsewhere in the Central Valley when your cooling system starts to fall behind. 

In this post, we want to look closer at how heat affects an air conditioning system. This information can help you best deal with intense heat.

Can high heat damage an air conditioner?

We have good news here: central air conditioning systems are designed to tolerate extreme heat. An AC that didn’t work well when it’s hot outside wouldn’t be worth much. If you’ve kept current with air conditioning maintenance each year through our Ultimate Service Agreement, the components of your air conditioner shouldn’t suffer too much because of the heat wave.

One potential exception is the capacitors. These are electrical components that move voltage to the motors to start them and keep them running. Capacitors can begin losing their ability to hold an electrical charge because of heat exposure. If you hear a clicking sound coming from the AC cabinets, get our technicians on the job right away. They can replace failing capacitors before you have non-working motors.

If you haven’t been diligent about maintenance, your AC will be at a higher risk of an abrupt failure when the heat ramps up. Even though summer has already started, it isn’t too late to schedule this service. You’ll be glad you did, because it’s how you can best protect the air conditioning system from the ravages of the summer weather.

The balance of indoor and outdoor heat

Here’s the special challenge an AC system faces on extremely hot days: to cool your house, the air conditioning system removes the heat from inside it and pumps it outside. The hotter the day, the more heat inside there is to move. But it’s also harder to pump heat outside when it’s already extremely hot there! It’s easier for an air conditioner to exhaust heat to a cooler outside—and 100°F outdoor temperatures make this much more work for the AC. The best way to alleviate this stress is to keep the thermostat raised as warm as you can tolerate so the AC isn’t doing as much work on the first half of its job.

Airflow issues

On top of the stress the AC is under to remove heat from the house, it also must contend with maintaining airflow. Without quality airflow, there’s no way the air conditioner can lower temperatures properly, and the strain on the system will worsen and may cause motor failures. So please take the following steps to see that your AC doesn’t have to deal with airflow problems:

  • Change the air filter regularly—every month is best during such heat.
  • Keep all room vents clear and open.
  • Make sure nothing obstructs the outdoor cabinet, such as tree branches, leaves, and dirt.
  • If there are hot spots in rooms, call for repairs ASAP.

Call on Purl’s Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning when you need assistance with your AC this summer. Uncompromised Quality & Customer Service Since 1952.

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