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Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort, Inc. Blog

“Will My AC Still Work in Intense Heat?”


Sacramento isn’t known for being obscenely hot—at least not when you compare our temperatures and climate to our friends and family in the Southeast, right? Still, it can and does get pretty warm here in the summer. In fact, on average, the Sacramento area has about 23 days of the year that get into the triple digits.

What happens when those triple digits are for too many consecutive days? Will your air conditioner suffer?

To be honest, it can suffer. It’s a lot less likely to if you’ve kept up on your air conditioning maintenance, of course. Maintenance allows our technicians to fully inspect, clean, and adjust the AC components that need it, and alert you to small repair needs before they grow into much bigger repairs. We’ll be able to catch things early, like failed capacitors or overheated motors, both of which can happen in intense heat.

So the answer to the question “Will my AC still work in intense heat” is yes, but there are definitely things you should know before our next heatwave hits. Read on to learn more!

The Hotter the Outside Temperature, the Harder Your AC Works

Well actually, this is a bit of a misnomer. Your air conditioner doesn’t really “work harder,” but rather, it has to run longer to try to achieve the desired temperature you set on your thermostat.

Your standard air conditioner operates by pumping heat out of your living space, putting air through a refrigerant process, and pumping the chilled air back into your home.

When the weather outside is hot enough, the heat that gets pumped out of your home is replaced quicker, and therefore your air conditioner just keeps running until it gets to the temperature setting on the thermostat.

This can be a bit inefficient, and lead to higher energy bills. One thing you should keep in mind is that any air conditioner will struggle to cool a home any lower than 20°F below what it is outside. So if we are facing a triple-digit day, it’s ill-advised to run your air conditioner with a 71°F temperature setting—yet many homeowners do this. Try to keep in in the 78°F range, if not a bit higher.

Your air conditioner is a lot less likely to experience ill effects of intense heat if it’s been adequately maintained over the years, and if it’s still within the average 10–15 year life expectancy of a well-maintained cooling system too. But without this proper care, intense heat for consecutive days can lead to:

  • Failed Electrical Capacitors
  • Overheated Motors
  • Clogged Air Filters

Each of these problems will lead to further inefficiencies with your air conditioner, potentially even a system breakdown. So how can you avoid this? If you haven’t already, contact us today for professional air conditioning maintenance. And if you suspect that your air conditioner has a small repair need, don’t put off that phone call to our team. The faster we address it, the less likely you are to experience performance or efficiency issues this spring and summer!

Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort, Inc. is your trusted resource for air conditioning service in Sacramento and beyond. Contact “The Guys in the Big Red Trucks” today!

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