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Why Won’t My Air Conditioner Do What I Tell It To?

May 1, 2017


thermostat not reaching set temperature

In case you somehow managed to miss it, we just had a HOT weekend! Nearly triple digits kind of hot. The kind of hot where the air feels thicker and everything seems like it takes more effort than it should. Guess what? Your air conditioner feels the same way you do! Your AC is slaving away, pushing itself to its limits, trying to keep up with every push of the down button on your thermostat, but it’s just not getting there.


It’s 99° outside, and 79° inside. You have your thermostat set to 75°, but it’s just not getting under 79°. What’s going on? Is your AC undersized? Most likely not.

Home air conditioners will typically lower the temperature inside your home to 20 degrees lower, more or less*, than the high temperature your system is designed for. Systems in the Tampa area are designed for a high temp of 92°, and we usually do not get above this temperature. When the thermometer reads 99° outside, your AC is within normal operating limits if it only reaches 79° inside, even if the temperature is set lower than that. On days where the temperature goes above 92°, your system may be undersized, but think about it – in Tampa, Florida, there may be 30-50 sporadic days a year that temperatures ride that high, usually between May and September. If you had an AC system designed to meet the needs of those sporadic 30-50 days of extreme temperatures, you’d have a system that is over-sized and inefficient about 90% of the time! That is NO BUENO!  (psssst – that means NO GOOD)

Why is it NO BUENO? Systems with larger cooling capacities come with a higher price tag. NO BUENO. They also use more energy, resulting in higher energy bills. NO BUENO. air conditioner not keeping up with the thermostatWhile the air in your home may cool faster with a larger air conditioning system, it also means that your system is cycling on and off much more frequently and it’s not running long enough to pull out the humidity in your home. NO BUENO. The biggest factor contributing to your comfort in your home is the level of humidity. Our bodies have their own cooling system – the evaporation of sweat – and when the humidity is higher, our sweat evaporates less, leaving us feeling warm and uncomfortable. NO BUENO. Higher humidity levels in your home can also lead to other problems, such as mold. NO BUENO.


We know, we know – it’s really uncomfortable those 30-50 days a year when your AC just isn’t keeping up. We also know that these are the days that air conditioning service companies are busiest, and we may not be able to get out to see each of our customers as quickly as we’d like. While you are graciously waiting for us to visit you, we’d like to give you some tips to try at home to try to help increase the efficiency of your air conditioner.

  • Throw some shade – shade your windows, especially on the sides of your home which receive the most sunshine.
  • Fire up your grill – keep the heat out of your kitchen, and take advantage of all the delicious meals you can prepare outdoors.
  • Hang it out to dry – operate your clothes dryer less, especially during the hottest parts of the day, and save more energy by hanging your clothes on a line to dry.
  • Let it breathe – the same concept as above for your dishwasher; operate the dry cycle less by opening the dishwasher door after the cycle is done and letting your dishes air dry, or save even more energy towel drying your dishes.
  • Keep it clean – annual maintenance and clean filters go a LONG way towards the efficiency of your AC.
  • Set it and forget it – get a programmable thermostat to optimize cooling times.
  • Surf the web – the U.S. Department of Energy has loads more tips to operate your air conditioner efficiently.
If you still feel like your air conditioner isn’t operating as it should, give us a call at 813-575-6996 to schedule your AC repair (or scroll up and click Schedule Service) and hang tight! We’ll get there as quickly as we can!

*20º more or less – variance is due to factors such as the home’s size, construction type, exposure to sun, number of doors and windows, insulation type, etc.