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Can the Heat Overwhelm My Air Conditioning System?

Can the Heat Overwhelm My Air Conditioning System?

August 14th, 2023


The latter half of the summer is often the hottest, and that means you’ll depend on your air conditioning system even more. When the outdoor temperature starts to rise to the highest it will be all year, you might wonder if this is bad news for your AC. After all, half of most AC systems are located outdoors. Can the heat harm the air conditioner and leave you stuck in a roasting home?

We have good news and bad news. The good news is that ACs are designed to hold up to extreme heat very well. The bad news is that extreme heat means running the AC more often, putting extra strain on it that can overwhelm it. We’re experts when it comes to air conditioning in Roswell, GA, and we’ll explain what can happen in more depth below.

Heat vs. the AC

As we just mentioned, an air conditioner is made to withstand high temperatures. They wouldn’t be much good if their outdoor units overheated whenever the temperature went above 80°F! 

As long as you have your air conditioning system regularly maintained each year, it won’t suffer adverse effects from the heat alone. You could have it maintained and then never turn it on and the system wouldn’t suffer any damage. 

However, there is one component in an air conditioner that can degrade due to heat, and that’s the capacitors. These electronic parts hold voltage and then send it to the motors in the AC. High heat will cause capacitors to lose their ability to hold a charge and eventually fail. Regular inspections will catch this problem so you can have the capacitors replaced in time.

The Overworked AC

The major problem any air conditioner faces during the summer is the wear it sustains when it has to operate. The longer an AC keeps running, the higher the chance that it will overheat and shut down—possibly permanently. If you experience your air conditioner tripping its circuit breaker regularly, that means the AC is overheating and needs attention from professionals. 

Easing Strain on Your Air Conditioner

You can take steps to keep your air conditioner from overheating during the worst of the summer:

  • Raise the thermostat: We don’t recommend lowering the thermostat below 68°F at any time. This will cause the AC’s compressor to overwork trying to reach such a low temperature. (Remember: a low thermostat setting doesn’t mean the AC will cool your home any faster, so it’s just a waste of power.) We advise a daytime setting of 78°F, which will help give your cooling system a much-needed break.
  • Change the air filter regularly: The air filter for the AC will become clogged after 1–3 months, and a clogged air filter makes the air conditioner’s job far more difficult because it has to pull air through the filter. Get into the habit of regular filter changes.
  • Seek alternative cooling methods: Make use of fans in your house, open windows to get a cross breeze, close curtains to block sunlight, take a cool shower—all these methods can reduce your reliance on the AC and keep it from overheating.

At Dayco Systems, our goal is to earn your confidence and trust with old-fashioned values of hard work and honesty. Schedule service with us today.