When the summer months start, it’s nice to come home to a cool, comfortable house as a respite from all the heat. A good air conditioning unit can provide years of service while keeping the worst excesses of the heat at bay. But while you’re enjoying those low temperatures, your air conditioning may be working far harder than it should to bring them to you. An overworked air conditioner is far more likely to break down than an AC with a manageable workload: costing you a great deal in repair bills or even forcing you to buy a new air conditioner if the problem gets bad enough. So how can you tell if your AC is overloaded? Here’s a few signs to point the way:
- Higher bills: We all expect a little increase in summer energy bills, but if you see a sharp spike with no apparent change in your energy use, your air conditioning may be laboring to keep your house cool.
- Constant running: When the temperature in your home hits the number on your thermostat, the AC shuts off, then turns back on again when it starts to rise. An AC under stress may never shut off, however, or only shut off for brief periods during the day. (Which in turn may lead to higher bills as discussed above).
- The circuit breakers trip: In some cases, an overworked air conditioner can trip the circuit breakers in your home, cutting off electricity. If the circuit breaker trips every time you turn on the AC, it might be time to consider other options.
The most common cause of an overloaded AC is simply installing a system that is too small for your home. Air conditioners measure their cooling ability in BTUs (British thermal units) per hour, with a certain amount needed to cool a certain space. If your air conditioning doesn’t have the capacity to cool your entire household, it’s going to work too hard and run the risk of a breakdown. The Department of Energy has a handy page to help you measure the size of your home and compare it to your air conditioning system’s capacity: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=roomac.pr_properly_sized. An overloaded AC can also be caused by neglecting maintenance, or when certain components start to fail and put extra strain on the rest of the system.
The hard working Burlington, VT air conditioning professionals at Red Rock Mechanical can help take the pressure off of an overworked AC, either by cleaning and tuning it to improve its efficiency or installing a new one to better suit your needs. We offer a one-year warranty on all our labor, and stand by our commitment to professional, high quality workmanship. If your AC is overloaded, give us a call and set up an appointment. After all, the summer is no time to overwork your system… especially when the comfort of your home depends on it.