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Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort, Inc. Blog

Can Outdoor Temperatures Affect Your HVAC System?


Air conditioners are designed to perform at their highest efficiency even during the hottest summers—given that they’re properly maintained, that is. If not, it would be like if you were forced to go run a marathon while recovering from an injury!

If your air conditioner is suffering from a repair issue or hasn’t had maintenance in years, it could very well suffer performance issues from intense heat.

However, there are other times when the weather can affect the system, in both summer and in winter. Here are a few examples:

Overheating System

As touched on briefly in our intro, intense heat could contribute to a system overheating. This would most likely occur under the condition that the outside air conditioner unit is unable to release heat properly. This can happen if:

  • It’s covered by debris, bushes, or other objects.
  • The condenser coil is dirty.
  • The fins are bent or clogged with dirt.

Ensuring that the unit is not covered or blocked is easy enough. As for cleaning the unit thoroughly, we suggest calling an air conditioning repair expert in Roseville, CA. They’ll be able to prescribe the right cleaning solutions and methods, or can simply do it for you. Likewise, they can also provide special tools to straighten out bent fins and remove any dirt that may have built up inside them.

Lowered Efficiency

Intense weather can also affect the efficiency of the system. How? By forcing your system to work harder to maintain temperatures!

This can happen in a couple of ways:

  • A home with poor insulation will not be able to hold or resist heat. Whether it’s in winter or summer, heat will either not stay in the home or it will come into the home. In both cases, the efforts of your heater or air conditioner will be forced to work longer and harder.
  • If your attic does not have proper ventilation, it can become incredibly hot in summer (known to reach up to 130°F on a hot day). All that trapped heat will warm up the other rooms of the home, resisting the cool air generated by the AC. This can be prevented with an attic fan.

Heat Pump Inefficiency

Heat pumps are a type of air conditioner and heating system that “recycle” warm air, either pushing it out of your home or putting it back in your home. In most cases, the heat pump is both an efficient cooling and heating system.

When the outdoor temperature drops below 30°F, however, the heating functions can become less efficient as the unit switches into the backup auxiliary heating mode. Fortunately, it’s rare for our California climate to drop below this temperature, so you won’t need to worry too much. Even then, you can always opt for a dual fuel system, which combines heat pump and natural gas furnaces functionality to make a system that is both comfortable and efficient year-round.

For more advice on how to keep your system running efficiently all year-round, contact Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort, Inc. The Guys in the Big Red Trucks.

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