April 12th, 2023
When your AC kicks into action on a hot day, one way of knowing whether it’s performing functionally is by seeing how long it takes to cool your whole house. As you may suspect, there are several factors that will determine how quickly your AC system achieves its desired cooling effect throughout the whole house. The first variable that might come to mind is the size of your house: a house with higher square footage has more air inside it, so more time will be needed to change the air’s temperature. However, the house’s size is just one of the factors that will influence your cooling rate. Here are some more factors that may not be as obvious:
Time of YearThe difference between the temperature outside and the temperature you want it to be inside will determine how hard your unit has to work. As spring turns to summer and outside temperatures increase, you can expect your AC to run for longer stretches in order to achieve the desired temperature.
Tree CoverageDuring the summer, your house will get hotter if a lot of sunlight is getting in through the windows. Trees can block some of this heat and provide shade, but there’s another way in which tree coverage can help keep a house cool. Trees keep themselves cool with a process called transpiration, where water gets expelled through the stomata (pores) in the leaves. As this water evaporates, it achieves the same effect for the trees as perspiring does for humans: it cools them down. This vapor can also help keep your house cool. If you’ve ever wondered why the air always seems cooler when you’re in a forest, now you know!
Roof ColorDarker colors absorb more heat, and that rule applies to your roof. If you have a dark roof, your house will be naturally hotter, and your AC system will have to work harder.
Number of OccupantsPeople give off heat as they move and breathe. This is called thermogenesis. The more people you have in your home, the more thermogenesis will occur, meaning more radiated heat your AC will have to combat.
Interior HumidityHumidity impacts your AC’s efficiency because dry air is easier to cool than humid air. How do you know if your home is experiencing excess indoor humidity? During the summer it’s easy to feel it, and you might also notice your ductwork sweating. During the winter, look for moisture droplets on your windows, a phenomenon sometimes called “sweating windows.” Getting a dehumidifier is a one way to improve your AC’s efficiency, as it will remove excess moisture from the air.
Age and Model of AC UnitNot all AC units are created equal! The quality of the product and the installation are both vitally important in shaping how satisfied you’ll be with your system when you need it most. Even a lower-end unit should do an adequate job for several years if it was installed by a quality professional. On the other hand, a high-end unit that is not installed properly will experience more than its fair share of problems. That’s one of the main reasons that SG Heating & Air Conditioning LLC is the company of choice for homeowners in the Princeton, NJ area who need AC installations or repairs. We are experts and have a mission to provide the highest quality installations. We install products from Mitsubishi, Carrier, and other industry-leading brands! It’s also important to remember that not even a perfectly installed, high-end HVAC system will last forever. Knowing your AC system’s life expectancy will reduce your chances of a system failure taking you by surprise.
How Often You Replace the Air FiltersThere are numerous benefits that come with keeping an eye on your filters and replacing them when they’re dirty. One of these is improved efficiency of your HVAC system, which means more effective cooling during hot weather. How often you should replace your AC filters depends on their size: replace a 1″ filter at least once every 3 months, and change a 2″-6″ conventional filter at least once every 6 months.
Insulation LevelsInsulation is a key component of home performance. A home with proper insulation will achieve the desired level of heating or cooling much faster than a home that lacks proper insulation. Insulation works by trapping still air in small pockets within the insulating material. This trapped air, not the insulation material itself, is what actually insulates the home and slows the leakage of heated or cooled air. Better insulation means that more cooled air stays within the home. If cooled air is allowed to escape, the system will have to cool more air to replace it.
So, how long should an air conditioner take to cool a house?Now that we’ve discussed the factors that determine how long it takes to cool your house, you know that every house is different. As a result, there’s no magic number for the time it should take your air conditioning to achieve its desired effect. If you’ve lived in your house for at least a few years, you probably have a better sense than anyone for how long your system typically takes. If the cooling seems to be taking much longer than usual, this is the best indication that there may be a problem. In other words, comparing the system to its past performance is more reliable than comparing it to the HVAC systems in the homes of your friends and neighbors. There a lot of variables at play, and it probably won’t be a fair comparison!
If you have reason to believe that your home’s cooling system is not operating the way it should, think about the variables we’ve listed. Have you been replacing the air filters as often as you should? Is the system still within its expected lifespan, or might it be due for a replacement? While the answer to these questions might give you a clue as to what’s wrong, you should leave the diagnosis to a professional. The mechanical issue could be low refrigerant levels (and a possible refrigerant leak), dirty coils or filters, condenser unit issues, or any combination of these and the issues we’ve discussed.
Whatever the cause, SG Heating & Air Conditioning LLC can diagnose it and get you the AC repair or replacement you need. In Mercer County, NJ, and the surrounding areas, homeowners know that ours is a name they can trust. Call 609-448-1273 or fill out our online form to learn more!
I learned something new today: If you take care of your air conditioner, it will take care of you. Right now, I’m going to see how much warmer it is outside than it is in here. Woof!
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