Picture this, you’ve spent a summer morning taking care of some heavy yard work. It’s about noon and the heat is reaching its midday peak. Time to head inside and cool off. 

Only, someone’s switched off the air conditioner and it’s almost as hot inside as it was in the yard. No matter, you crank the AC and wait for some relief. But, how long is that going to take? 

If you’ve got central air conditioning, you know cooling a whole house takes some time. But, just how long should it take? Is your AC running as efficiently as it should? 

Typically, a central air conditioner will cool down a 3-4 bedroom home (1500 – 2500 square feet) within about three hours. Cooling a house down depends on many factors, such as how big the house is, how hot it is outside, and how powerful the air conditioner is. 

Read on to find out if your AC is cooling efficiently and what might be the problem.

How To Ensure Your Air Conditioner is Working Properly 

For reference, let’s assume you’re attempting to cool your space by about ten degrees Fahrenheit. An efficient and functional central air conditioning unit should accomplish a ten-degree temperature reduction in about an hour in a one or two-bedroom home. If you live in a larger home (three or four bedrooms), you can expect to wait around three hours

Larger spaces will take disproportionately more air conditioning to cool and maintain, and smaller spaces can generally be temperature controlled more efficiently. 

Of course, the one and three-hour estimates are just that — estimates. The square footage of your home, level of insulation, age of the air conditioning unit, and a number of other factors will cause your results to vary.

If your unit is taking much longer than these estimates, or it’s constantly running without interruption, your cooling solution probably isn’t as efficient as it should be.

Why Your Air Conditioner Isn’t Running Efficiently 

There are a number of possible reasons your air conditioner might not be running inefficiently.

Low Refrigerant 

If your unit doesn’t have sufficient refrigerant, the air it circulates will probably never get cool enough to reach your target temperature. This will cause your air conditioner to run continuously, never quite catching up to your thermostat. Under normal circumstances, your air conditioner wouldn’t lose refrigerant, so this would have to be the result of a leak. 

Here are a few other signs of low refrigerant or a leak:

  • Air blowing from the vents is not cooler than ambient air, or even warm
  • Hissing or gurgling noises coming from your unit
  • The evaporator coil is covered in ice

Clogged Condenser Coils

While warm air coming out of your vents may be low refrigerant, it could also be the result of dirty or blocked condenser coils. If you’re having this issue with an outdoor unit, take a closer look at the condition of the exterior condenser coils. Because these are exposed to the elements, they’re prone to collecting all kinds of junk over time. 

Cleaning your coils might resolve your air conditioner’s issue, but keep those coils clean even if your unit is running fine for now. It’s important maintenance that might save you expensive repairs or excess cooling costs down the line. 

Simple water and elbow grease will go a long way, but if you want to make your life a little easier, there are specialized AC coil cleaners on the market that are formulated for the job.

Air Conditioning Unit is Too Small

It’s possible that there’s nothing wrong with the AC unit and it’s just outmatched for the job. Residential and commercial cooling units come in all shapes and sizes, so check out your unit model to determine if it’s up to the task. You should be able to do some research on the model and determine if it’s appropriate for the size of your home. 

If you determine that your unit is too small to adequately cool your home, you’ve got some options. But, they mostly come down to:

  1. Making your space hold temp better with insulation and blocking 
  2. Purchasing a larger unit

Need Expert Help With Your Air Conditioning? 

Keeping your air conditioning unit in proper working order is easy if the right steps are taken. Service Tech, Inc. has been in the HVAC business for over 30 years and our experts work professionally to complete service in a timely manner. In case of an emergency during these hot summer months, we offer 24/7 service. Just contact us today!