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8 Reasons Your Home’s AC Isn’t Keeping You Cool Enough

By September 26, 2015February 6th, 2024No Comments

When you live in Lufkin, Texas, your home needs to be cool for considerably more of the year than it would in most other states. That’s why you notice fast if it seems like your AC isn’t working well anymore. You can turn off your oven, get blackout curtains, and turn the thermostat down, but sometimes your home just isn’t cool enough for comfort.

If you’re feeling hot or sticky indoors, don’t keep cranking up the AC and wasting more energy. Discover the reason your home is too hot by considering your HVAC system and your home’s insulation. Keep reading to discover eight common problems that cause your home to be uncomfortably warm.

trying to stay cool

Living in the heat of Lufkin, TX, where the sun’s relentless rays bake the landscape year-round, maintaining a consistently cool home isn’t just a luxury; it’s an essential escape from the unforgiving outdoor temperatures. Pursuing practical solutions becomes mission-critical for ensuring your indoor environment remains cool and comfortable as the climate scorches. That’s where McWilliams and Son Heating & Air Conditioning comes in as Lufkin, TX’s trusted HVAC company. Call us today!

Here are eight reasons why your AC isn’t keeping you cool enough:

The AC Needs Maintenance

  • Low refrigerant levels: Insufficient refrigerant can obstruct the cooling process, reducing the AC’s effectiveness.
  • Worn-out motor: A malfunctioning motor can compromise the system’s ability to cool and circulate air.
  • Dirty evaporator coil: Dust and debris accumulation on the evaporator coil can block heat exchange and cooling efficiency.
  • Reduced AC efficiency without noticeable signs: Some AC issues might not produce obvious signs like strange sounds or odors, leading to decreased performance that shows up in higher energy bills.
  • Importance of preventative maintenance: Regular HVAC maintenance by professionals helps prevent issues and ensures optimal system performance.
  • Identification and replacement of potential issues: Regular system checks by a qualified technician can help identify potential problems before they worsen and make proactive component replacement easier.
  • Monitoring and recognizing unusual sounds or changes: Knowing what to listen and look for helps homeowners spot early signs of AC trouble.

When professionals check your HVAC system, they look at all sorts of common issues these systems can develop over time. Preventative maintenance is one of the best ways to keep your HVAC equipment running at optimum capacity. You might be low on refrigerant or have a worn out motor or a dirty evaporator coil. Not all AC problems demonstrate themselves with loud sounds or funny odors coming from your system. Some of them simply reduce the AC’s ability to run, and all you notice is less cool air in the house.

Professionals not only repair existing problems with your HVAC system, but they also identify areas that have the potential to develop into problems, and they replace components before they wear out completely. A certified HVAC technician will also let you know if you need to keep an eye on anything, what to watch and listen for, and when to call them back if anything changes or gets worse.

Humidity Is Too High

  • Uncomfortable indoor humidity: High humidity levels make indoor spaces feel warmer and stickier than they should.
  • Mold and fungal growth concerns: Excessive humidity creates an environment conducive to mold and fungal growth, negatively impacting indoor air quality.
  • AC’s dehumidifying role during cooling: AC systems dehumidify as they cool, but various factors can hinder this process.
  • Reasons for inadequate dehumidification: Poor ventilation, especially in tightly sealed homes, seasonal humidity fluctuations, and clogged air filters can limit dehumidification.
  • Indications like constant AC running and localized cooling: Recognizing signs of inadequate dehumidification helps homeowners take appropriate measures.
  • Solutions: Adding dehumidifiers, upgrading your HVAC system, installing a dehumidifier, or considering a new HVAC system with better dehumidification capabilities can address the issue.

Not only is high indoor humidity uncomfortable, but it’s also bad for your indoor air quality, as it creates a hospitable environment for mold and fungal growth. Your AC dehumidifies as it cools, but a number of reasons exist why it may not be dehumidifying enough. A badly ventilated house, high seasonal humidity, and clogged air filters are just a few reasons your AC may not be enough to fully dehumidify your home.

You may notice that your AC runs all day and that you only feel cool standing right next to the vents while the rest of the house remains warm. When you feel sticky or clammy, those are good signs that you need to add extra dehumidification measures. Purchasing a dehumidifier or investing in a new HVAC system with better dehumidifying capabilities are two options you may want to look into.

Ducts Are Leaking

  • Air leaks and HVAC efficiency loss: Leaky ducts can lead to significant energy loss and reduced cooling efficiency.
  • Impact on cooling effectiveness: Treated air escapes through leaks before reaching living spaces, causing inadequate cooling.
  • Strain on HVAC system due to leaks: A system overworking to compensate for leaks can lead to increased wear and tear.
  • Debris buildup inside ducts: Debris accumulation restricts airflow, affecting both cooling efficiency and indoor air quality.
  • Effects on indoor air quality (IAQ): Dust and allergens from leaks can worsen IAQ, leading to health issues.
  • Allergies and health-related concerns: Leaky ducts can exacerbate allergies and respiratory problems due to increased allergen circulation.
  • Importance of sealing ducts properly: Proper duct sealing enhances cooling efficiency and indoor air quality.

If you have air leaks in your ducts, you can lose almost a third of your HVAC system’s efficiency. On top of that, you’re losing a lot of the air your HVAC system is cooling. The HVAC system has to work harder to cool down the house, and you’re getting less cold air through your vents than you would be with sealed ducts.

If you’ve got leaks in your ducts, they may also be a little grimy on the inside. Debris in the ducts impedes air flow and causes the HVAC system to blow dust and other debris into your home. This may not affect how cool you feel as much as it lowers your IAQ, but you’ll notice if your allergies suddenly get worse.

Your AC Is the Wrong Size

  • AC capacity and discomfort: Incorrectly sized AC units can lead to discomfort by failing to cool effectively.
  • Under-sized AC’s inability to cool adequately: An AC unit too small for the space struggles to maintain desired temperatures.
  • Over-sized AC’s humidity issues and short cycling: An overly large AC cools quickly but shuts off before properly dehumidifying, causing humidity problems.
  • Proper AC sizing for efficient cooling: Professional AC sizing ensures optimal cooling and humidity control without overtaxing your system.
  • Maintaining humidity levels (30-50%): Properly sized AC units help maintain indoor humidity levels within the ideal range.
  • Inconsistent temperature with oversized AC: Rapid cooling followed by warm periods due to oversized units disrupts comfort.

It makes sense that if your air conditioner’s cooling capacity isn’t enough for the space it needs to cool, you’d experience discomfort. So if you’re cranking up the AC and still feeling warm and sticky, the AC might be too small to properly cool the size of your home.
However, an AC that’s too big will also cause you discomfort. Since a larger AC doesn’t have to run for very long to cool a too small space, it shuts off very quickly. That means it can’t properly dehumidify the air, and part of feeling cool and comfortable is maintaining a humidity level between 30 and 50 percent. When the AC is too big and shuts off quickly, you’ll end up with cold, humid air that feels clammy on your skin. You also may find that the temperature inside your house is inconsistent. You’re too cold right after the AC runs, but you get warmer before it kicks on again.

Debris Is Clogging the Outdoor Unit

  • Impact of outdoor unit cleanliness: A dirty outdoor unit hinders heat exchange, reducing overall cooling efficiency.
  • Dirt and debris accumulation: Leaves, dirt, and debris can clog the outdoor unit’s fins and hinder airflow.
  • Fan efficiency and strain due to debris: Accumulated debris makes the fan work harder, affecting cooling performance.
  • Landscaping obstructions: Plants or structures too close to the unit can obstruct airflow, further reducing efficiency.
  • DIY cleaning vs. professional cleaning: Homeowners can clean the unit to some extent, but professional cleaning ensures thorough maintenance and inspection.
  • Clearing space around the outdoor unit: Keeping a clear area around the unit allows proper airflow and efficient cooling.

When your home feels too hot inside, the problem may originate outdoors. The outdoor component of your air conditioner might be covered in dirt or debris. Leaves and other detritus can get inside the unit and cause the fan to work harder. Your landscaping may also be obscuring the outdoor unit.

You can pull the fan up and clean out the inside of the outdoor unit, but if you notice it’s covered in debris, you should schedule a professional cleaning. Make sure you leave two feet clear of any bushes or branches around the outdoor unit to ensure it has enough air space to work properly.

Poor Attic Ventilation

  • Attic’s influence on indoor temperature: Unventilated attics can trap heat and transfer it naturally to the indoor living space, affecting the overall indoor temperature.
  • Impact on air ducts passing through the attic: Hot attics can heat up air ducts, affecting the quality of cooled air circulating in the home.
  • Enhanced HVAC efficiency with proper attic ventilation: Effective attic ventilation means your HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard, leading to greater system longevity.

No matter how well insulated your attic is, if it’s collecting a lot of hot air and not expelling it, that hot air has the potential to get into the rest of your house. Attic ventilation will keep the attic from becoming a stuffy sauna in summer, which means you won’t have to worry about hot air escaping the attic and moving around the rest of the house.

Plus, if you have air ducts that go through any part of the attic, they’re getting hot along with the attic. That means the HVAC system has to work harder to keep the air moving through the ducts cool. You don’t have to cool the attic along with the rest of your house; you just have to ensure it’s ventilated, and the temperature up there won’t get too miserable.

Poor Home Insulation

  • Air leaks and insulation’s role: Inadequate insulation and air leaks lead to temperature fluctuations and discomfort.
  • Gaps around doors and windows: Identifying and sealing leaks around doors and windows improves insulation.
  • Leaks near plumbing and electrical outlets: Sealing gaps around utilities prevents unwanted heat transfer.
  • Potential issues in attic, basement, and crawl space: Proper insulation in these areas prevents temperature extremes from affecting indoor comfort.
  • DIY fixes for obvious envelope problems: Homeowners can address minor issues with caulk and sealing materials.
  • Professional expertise for comprehensive solutions: Professionals can identify hidden insulation problems and offer tailored solutions.

It doesn’t matter how amazing your AC is at keeping the house cool or dehumidifying it, if your home’s building envelope has a lot of leaks in it. A properly sized AC with perfect ductwork and optimum thermostat settings will still fail to keep your home cool if all that air is escaping under the cracks of doors and through cracks around your windows.

Some home insulation problems you can detect for yourself. Air leaks around doors and windows are relatively easy to find on your own. You also might have leaks around your plumbing and even near your electrical outlets. It could be more complicated still: the insulation in the walls of your attic, your basement, or your crawl space may be inadequate. Start by fixing obvious envelope problems yourself with some caulk and patience, but if you don’t feel any improvement in your AC’s ability, you probably need a professional’s expertise to find and fix the problem areas.

An Old System Needs to be Replaced

  • Outdated HVAC system challenges: Older systems may struggle to cool effectively, leading to discomfort and high energy bills.
  • Inefficient ductwork and window units: Leaky, aging ducts and window AC units can contribute to inadequate cooling.
  • Improved energy efficiency with modern systems: Upgrading to energy-efficient models reduces energy consumption while enhancing comfort.
  • Well-maintained vs. poorly maintained old systems: Regular maintenance prolongs the life of older systems, but be aware that efficiency still diminishes over time.
  • Importance of the EnergyStar label: EnergyStar-rated systems ensure higher energy efficiency and cost savings.
  • Correct sizing and professional installation: Right sizing and expert installation improve cooling performance and efficiency.

When nothing seems to help cool down your living space, it might be time for a new HVAC system. Whether you’re struggling with ductwork you inherited when you bought the house or suffering through a hot summer with a window AC, systems available today are far more energy-efficient than they used to be. Even a well-maintained old system will stop working properly eventually, and if it hasn’t been maintained well, then you’re probably wasting a lot of energy running an AC that isn’t doing much to cool down your house.

In Pursuit of Cool Comfort: Maintaining a Refreshing Home Interior

Living in the heat of Lufkin, TX demands a home that provides cool comfort throughout the year. When facing the frustration of an uncomfortably warm indoor environment, it’s essential to consider these common causes. From regular AC maintenance and proper sizing to tackling humidity and ensuring optimal insulation, each factor can play a significant role in achieving the desired cool indoor temperatures. Remember, an efficiently operating HVAC system, well-maintained ducts, proper attic ventilation, and effective insulation form the foundation for a comfortably cooled home.

Understanding and addressing these issues can transform your living space into a haven of relief from the sweltering Texas heat. So, if you’re ever in doubt or feeling the heat a bit too much, don’t hesitate to contact professionals who specialize in creating the perfect indoor climate for your home. Your comfort is their priority, ensuring that you can enjoy the cool, refreshing haven you deserve.

Look for the EnergyStar label, and be sure to have a professional size and install the new system. Correct sizing and installation are key components in keeping your indoors as cool as you please.

You need the house to be cool for three of Texas’s four seasons, and when it’s sweltering outside, you want your home to be an oasis of cool, dry air. If you notice problems with your HVAC system, think you need new equipment, or simply feel like your thermostat isn’t doing its job to maintain your favorite indoor temperature, it’s time to get an HVAC contractor to take a look. Call McWilliams and Son Heating and Air Conditioning today.

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