Turning your air conditioner on only to still be hot and uncomfortable an hour later is a disheartening experience. While no air conditioner can cool a home instantly, you should keep an eye on how long your AC takes to cool your home so you can take action if it stops performing effectively. If your air conditioner takes too long to cool your home, discover four possible causes you should know.
1. Blocked Airflow
With HVAC airflow, many people only think of the air that their system outputs. However, adequate air intake is essential to the operation of your air conditioner as well. If your AC doesn’t receive enough air, circulating cool air will take much longer throughout your home. Blockages can develop at several points in your HVAC system that lead to reduced output and longer cooling times.
The first place you should look whenever you deal with reduced cooling and airflow from your central AC is the furnace filter. If this filter has dust and dirt, cleaning or replacing it can restore the air supply to your system and improve its performance. Likewise, you should ensure that the outdoor condenser is clean, the space around it is clear, and the coils or fins on the outside of the unit aren’t excessively bent.
2. Duct Leaks
Just as a blockage can reduce the output from your air conditioner, so can leaks in your ductwork. Gaps and holes in your ducts release air and reduce the volume of air delivered to every room along that branch of ducts. Poor AC performance due to duct leaks is often more noticeable in specific rooms in your home closer to the gap in your ductwork.
While you can often repair leaks yourself if they are present in exposed ductwork in your basement or attic, dozens of feet of ducts are inside your home’s walls where a leak could also occur. Scheduling a duct inspection from an HVAC contractor will give you a more complete picture of the health of your ducts. The inspection can also help you find and repair leaks that would otherwise go undetected.
3. Low Refrigerant
If airflow is the most important component of an efficient central air conditioner, refrigerant is often next on the list. Refrigerant cycles between the outdoor condenser and the evaporator coils above your furnace to remove heat from your indoor air and release it outside. When your refrigerant levels are too low, your AC’s ability to transfer heat is reduced, and cooling your home can take much longer.
A licensed HVAC technician should recharge your refrigerant, but you have a few signs to watch for that could indicate a refrigerant leak is likely. Ice buildup on your AC is a reliable symptom of low refrigerant, as it occurs when the AC coils reach below-freezing temperatures due to reduced heat transfer. If you turn your AC off, you may also be able to hear a hissing noise near the unit as refrigerant escapes.
4. Failing Blower Motor
Sometimes, your air conditioner works fine to cool the air, but the blower motor in your HVAC air handler doesn’t circulate the air effectively. A failing blower motor can result in a variety of symptoms, such as reduced air from your vents and unusual grinding or screeching noises while you use your HVAC system. If the blower motor is to blame, you will also see poor performance from your furnace as it circulates heated air as well.
If your central air conditioner takes too long to cool, understanding the causes can help you find a solution without replacing the unit. Keep these tips in mind, and contact Steele Bros Heating, Inc., for solutions to all your heating and cooling needs.