When it gets hot and humid in New Orleans, you’ll need your AC working hard to keep you cool. But this is a good time to ask how hard your air conditioner can work. You probably already know that your air conditioning system cannot make your house as cold as the inside of a refrigerator, and if you look at the thermostat you’ll see it has the lowest setting of 60°F, which is already pretty cold for most people.
We’re going to discuss the actual limits of your AC, which can help you know how to get the best services with the fewest problems from your air conditioning in Slidell, LA.
The Temperature Differential
The 60°F limit on the thermostat does create a barrier on how low you can set the indoor temperature, but that’s not the true limit on the air conditioner. Under some conditions, it won’t be able to cool the house to that temperature. The actual limit on the cooling of an air conditioner is called its temperature differential. This is how much the AC can lower the indoor temperature compared to the outdoor temperature.
For residential central air conditioners, the temperature differential is 20°F. If the outdoor weather is 85°F, then you could potentially lower the thermostat down to 65°F and the air conditioner would be able to meet that setting. You probably shouldn’t put it that low, as it’s a wasteful setting and far cooler than most people want a house to be. The recommended energy-saving setting during a hot day when people are home is 78°F. At that setting, the AC can handle a hot day up to 98°F. On the occasional day when it gets hotter, bump up the thermostat setting a few degrees to prevent the AC from overworking and possibly overheating and tripping a circuit breaker.
Don’t Set the Thermostat Too Low
We strongly recommend you don’t set the thermostat lower than 68°F on a hot day, even if this is within the temperature differential range (i.e. it’s 88°F or cooler outside). This places too much strain on the AC and may cause its coil to freeze over. Keep the settings within the 70s and the air conditioner will be able to cycle down for periods, keeping it running with less chance of malfunctioning, and also helping you to keep down cooling costs.
Something to keep in mind about the thermostat: it’s only a switch, not a throttle. You don’t get faster cooling or a higher volume of cool air when you lower the thermostat more. Instead, the thermostat just allows the air conditioner to run for longer. When you keep the thermostat setting raised higher, it helps to slow down heat gain into the house, which further helps you keep the house cool while the AC uses less energy.
If you cannot keep your house comfortable with your AC, even if it’s set within the temperature differential, the air conditioner may need repairs or possibly a replacement if it’s old enough. You can trust our team to give you the answers and service you need.
Gowland’s Heating & A/C believes in “Relationship over revenue!” Call us for AC service in New Orleans and the surrounding areas.