Don’t turn your thermostat down!
Yes, that’s right—our one tip to prevent a midsummer AC breakdown is to not turn your thermostat down.
“But wait,” you might be wondering, “what do you mean? Isn’t that the whole point of a cooling system, to cool my home?”
Please bear with us and allow us to explain, below…
What Most Homeowners Do
The hotter it gets outside, the lower folks tend to turn down their thermostats. They figure their homes will cool down faster this way, but there are problems with this theory. First off, a low thermostat setting will not cool down a home any faster. In fact, an air conditioner will struggle to cool your home down to 20° below what it is outside.
The second problem is that if you’re turning down your thermostat lower and lower and not feeling any relief, there’s probably something wrong—it may be your thermostat, or the actual air conditioning system. Keep reading to learn more!
How Your Thermostat Operates
Most people have a very general idea of how a thermostat works. And that’s okay! But what many don’t get is that it doesn’t operate like the throttle in a car. That is, you’re not pushing down a pedal that makes the AC system “ramp up” or produce greater levels of cooling in a quicker amount of time.
A thermostat essentially functions as a “switch,” connected to complex computer controls. When the indoor temperatures in your home register as higher than the setting on the thermostat, that thermostat turns on the compressor to start cooling your home.
So, when you turn down the thermostat to a low setting, you’re simply requesting that the compressor run longer in order to reach that temperature. It is not a way to make your air conditioner work faster at its job, or give you better cooling levels.
Can Your AC Keep Up?
Even under normal circumstances, it’s not a good idea to turn your thermostat down too low—the compressor will run longer without giving you any benefit. Trying to use this in order to compensate for a cooling system that can’t cool effectively is putting extra strain on a system that is already malfunctioning. You could end up hastening an already failing air conditioner.
Therefore, if you find yourself needing to turn down your thermostat because your air conditioner isn’t cooling as well as it used to, then you probably are looking at a cooling system problem like a refrigerant leak, clogged up air filter, or some type of motor problem. It could even be a problem with your ductwork like a tear or a breach that isn’t allowing cooled air to actually make it into your home.
Some of these are more serious than others, but all of these problems should be checked out by a pro!