Why Is My Air Conditioner Not Getting Cool Enough?

Tips to help you figure out why your air conditioner is not producing cool air.

An air conditioner can be a person's favorite appliance in the heat of a long summer. However, when it suddenly decides to no longer blow cold air, or it never really did from day one, it can quickly become an object of great frustration. Worse yet, if there are elderly people, or small children in the household, or others that are adversely affected by heat, getting an air conditioner to work properly can be a serious matter.

The first thing to consider is size. An air conditioning unit can be in perfect working order, but if it is too small for the room it is in, it will not perform as well as one might expect. Manufacturers place guidelines on both the units and their boxes. Following these guidelines is in your best interest if you want an air conditioner to cool properly, but other factors often need to be considered, along with the recommendations. A BTU, or British thermal unit, is a standard of measurement used to determine the size of the air conditioning unit needed to cool a specific sized area. Common guidelines tell you to purchase a unit that has an output of 5000 BTU's for each 100-150 square feet of space. However, when you figure in other common, everyday factors, such as a room that is always hot due to an abundance of windows and direct sunshine, the recommendations often need changing to reflect these extenuating circumstances. For example, if the layout of the surrounding area where the unit is a very open concept, a larger unit may be required, or the opposite, a smaller unit may be all that is required, if the room is closed off and has very little direct light. Alternatively, if it is near the cooking area for the household and a stove or oven is in use on a regular basis, or your home houses a large family with more than one or two people commonly in a room at a time, then lean towards a larger unit.

Sometimes, a unit that was in perfect working order, that once easily cooled the room it was in, suddenly no longer cools it down to a comfortable degree. You may notice that the air coming out of it is not as cool as it once was, and you may even notice a sudden buildup of ice-like crystals on parts of the unit's interior. Oftentimes, a clogged filter is responsible. Most units today come equipped with a removable, washable filter, that can be cleaned easily for continuous optimum performance, or with a remove and toss replacement filter. Keeping the filter free of dirt and dust for an adequate, uninterrupted airflow is the best way to keep the air conditioner operating smoothly. Another advantage to keeping the filter clean is the money saved. A unit that has to fight through a dirty filter to cool a room will use far more energy than one that can concentrate on the job at hand and not have to attempt to operate through dirt and grime. Also, make sure to keep the exterior part of the unit free of dirt and debris for uninterrupted airflow. If the unit cannot have a clear draw of outside air, it cannot run properly.

If, after all of these issues are taken into consideration, your air conditioner is still not cooling to the point it once did, it may be low on Freon. Older units can leak. Recommendations call for repair by an authorized service technician. If the unit is old enough that leakage is a possibility, replacement should be a top consideration, as a new model will most surely be more energy efficient.

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