How many times have you taken your AC for granted? Living in Florida, having a cool home is not a luxury, but a necessity. And when you have it running around the clock, it’s sometimes easy to forget how much of an impact it has on our quality of life.
But turn it off for a few hours (or days, if you’re going out of town), and notice the common denominator of living in the Sunshine State: No AC means living in an oven. So off you go to turn it on. Your spouse is cranky. Your kids are being obnoxious. You know the heat is the culprit for their sour mood.
So how long should it take for the AC to cool down your home? And what should you do if your AC is not cooling your home?
How Long Does It Take an AC to Cool a House?
There are several factors that will affect how long it will take for your house to cool down. Here are some of the most common ones:
1. The age and model of your unit.
If you installed your AC system when Milli Vanilli was on Billboard’s top 10 hits, it’s time to get a new air conditioner installed. Not only because a newer AC would cool your home faster, but because relatively recent environmental regulations require different refrigerant and air conditioning designs that are better for the environment and cool your home more efficiently.
2. How often you change the air filters.
Air filters get covered in dust and debris. If you don’t change them regularly, the caked dirt will block airflow. This, in turn, will cause your AC unit to work harder (and drive up your energy bill) without really cooling down your home. How often you need to change your air filters depends on how many people live in your home, whether you have any pets, whether you have any allergies, and which type of air filters you have in your home. Check them once a month. If they look dirty, change them.
Need AC Service?
We Can Help.
3. The time of the year.
The hotter it is outside, the longer it will take for your home to cool down. You can try to speed things along by closing blinds, drapes, and curtains.
4. The insulation in your home.
Insulation in a home slows down the transfer of heat when it’s scorching hot outside. The same happens with cold weather during the winter months. If your home is not properly insulated, your AC will work harder, to no avail. Inadequate insulation tends to be a problem in older homes. So if it takes forever for your AC to cool down your home, you may need better insulation.
5. The size of your home.
The smaller the home, the faster it’ll cool down. For an average-sized three to four-bedroom house, it should take approximately 3 hours. If it’s been longer than that and your home is nowhere near the temperature you set on the thermostat, you may have other issues to deal with, such as dirty coils, issues with the condenser unit, or a refrigerant leak.
If your AC unit is not cooling your house, you may have other problems on your hands. Here are some reasons why your AC unit might not be blowing cold air.
5 Reasons Your AC Is Running but Not Blowing Cold Air
1. Clogged Air Filters
When was the last time you changed your air filters? If you don’t remember, those things are probably caked with dust from every contaminant and dirt particle in your home. When this happens, airflow is obstructed. Your home doesn’t cool down, and the coils may freeze over.
This causes several problems in your home:
- A warm house
- A puddle when you finally turn off the AC and the ice melts
- Higher energy bills
As a general rule, you should change your air filters at least once a month (that is, provided you live on the property year-round. If you’re one of our famous snowbirds, you can afford to change them less often).
However, you have to take into account several things: the material the air filters are made of (the cheaper the filter, the more often you have to change it), how many people live in your home, whether you have any pets or people with allergies under your roof.
2. Clogged Condensate Drain Lines
An air conditioner works by absorbing the heat and moisture from the air inside your home. That humidity condensates on the evaporator coils. The water then drips into a drip pan and is then siphoned out of your home through condensate lines.
Now, it’s no secret that high levels of humidity cause mold growth, and the same is the case with the condensate lines. You can prevent this from happening by having routine AC maintenance performed on your air conditioner. You could opt to clean your AC drain line yourself by flushing it with distilled white vinegar, but if the damage is already done, you’ll need a wet/dry vac and an attachment that goes from the vac to the condensate line. For instructions on how to do it on your own, click here.
For more information, check out our blog: The Complete Guide to Unclogging Your AC Drain Line
3. AC Unit Is Too Small
In order to have an air conditioner system that will efficiently cool your home, it needs to have a specific amount of BTUs.
BTU is an acronym for British Thermal Unit and it refers to the amount of heat an AC can eliminate from the air. For each ton of heat that has to be removed from a property, an AC unit needs to have 12,000 BTUs.
In order to know how many BTUs are adequate to cool your home properly, take into account the following factors:
- Square footage of your home
- Construction materials
- Type of insulation
You can check an air conditioner’s BTU capacity on the label. This label is located on the condenser unit. The top of the label states the model number (M/N), which includes a long string of characters separated by hyphens. The BTU capacity is the three-digit number after the first dash.
If you don’t have an air conditioner with the right BTU, your home will not cool properly.
4. Leaking Refrigerant
Refrigerant is a gas that cools the air in your home. When an air conditioner is working properly, it doesn’t need additional coolant. However, wear and tear can cause pinholes in the unit, which in turn, causes this gas to leak out.
You know you have a refrigerant leak if you’ve noticed any of the signs below:
- Your AC is hissing
- The vents are blowing warm air
- Your home feels humid
- Frost is forming on the condenser unit (the part of the AC that is outside your home)
- Your electric bills are suddenly higher
The problem here is that breathing refrigerant is hazardous to your health: it can cause breathing problems and even death. This means that if you suspect this is the issue, you have to act ASAP and call an HVAC professional for emergency service.
5. It’s Time to Replace the Unit
If your air conditioner is older than 15 years, it may be time to replace it. The only way to extend its lifespan is to provide regular maintenance, although if it keeps breaking down, making unusual noises, or if it makes your home smell weird, it’s time to buy a new system.
Air Conditioning Repair in West Palm Beach & South Florida
If your air conditioning system is running without cooling, contact the West Palm Beach air conditioning contractors at Sansone. We provide AC services in Broward, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie.
Schedule an appointment online by clicking the EZ Book Online button below.