Stepping inside from the hot sun into a cool air-conditioned home is magic. The relief of that temperature change is equal parts refreshing and revitalizing. That’s why when your air conditioner is running but the house isn’t cool you notice pretty quickly.
While air conditioners need maintenance, and sometimes need to be repaired or even replaced, if your air conditioner is seemingly running fine, but your house is warm you may have HVAC issues that aren’t actually rooted in your HVAC system.
The first step is establishing that the problem isn’t in your air conditioner, and thankfully there are a few easy signs to look out for.
3 Easy Ways to Tell Your Air Conditioning Is Working
- Vents Blowing Cool Air. Do a simple hand test with the vents around your house. If you feel cold air coming out of the vents on each floor, that is a sign your AC is working as intended.
- Responsive Operation. If you turn your AC on after it’s been off you should hear it begin to run within thirty to one hundred twenty seconds. Your AC has to turn on and off properly in order to adequately cool your home.
- Consistent Sound. If your AC sounds like it’s struggling, or sputtering it’s a definite sign you should get your system checked out.
If any of the above are not present when you turn on your AC system, you should contact a professional for an evaluation as quickly as you can to inspect your system and determine the root cause of its failure. While it’s never fun to have repair or replacement costs, with the current energy-efficiency home improvement tax credits, there’s never been a better time to upgrade your system.
The Real Reason Your House is Hot
The truth is that your house is hot while your air conditioner is working because of a lack of insulation. We often think of insulation in terms of the cold and winter. We know that insulated clothes or sleeping bags help to trap heat and keep us warm. But insulation is crucial for absorbing the heat in the summertime too. It allows your home to be cooled more effectively and efficiently.
There are two main areas of your home that you need to have evaluated for insulation.
Attics are the number one culprit when it comes to lack of insulation affecting your air conditioner’s performance. Because heat naturally rises your second floor is likely to increase in temperature throughout the day. That rising heat already makes it a challenge to keep the different stories of your home at an even temperature, and without proper insulation this soon leads to the entire house feeling warmer.
The insulation for your attic acts like a heat sink, absorbing the heat from the sun as it beats down on the roof as well as the rising heat inside. This helps prevent more cool air from seeping into your attic and the hot temperatures outdoors from making their way inside through your roof.
When having your attic evaluated you should make sure your insulation technician ensures that there are no signs of mold or rodents. These types of issues will need to be addressed prior to any insulation upgrades.
The good news is if your attic is free of mold or pests, and the insulation is still in good shape, you will be able to simply add more insulation on top of what already exists.
This helps to make an insulation upgrade a much more affordable home improvement option that benefits your air conditioner and home heating system. Blown cellulose insulation typically has a twenty-to-thirty-year lifespan so you won’t have to worry about checking your insulation again for a long time.
If your basement is finished, it’s already likely well insulated. If it isn’t, it’s possible that your basement is the space in your home that is sapping your air conditioners’ power and efficiency.
If your air conditioner vents run from the basement up to the first and second floors, it’s possible that your air loss is coming from the basement itself. If it’s not properly sealed some of your air when it is at its coldest could be seeping out of air leaks in your basement.
Spray foam insulation can help to seal these air cracks as well as work as more general insulation on exposed foundation walls. The good news is you don’t need to insulate the entire foundation wall, instead, insulation technicians focus on the first 2-3 feet from the basement ceiling and down.
This is the area where air is most likely to leak, as it moves from below ground to the first floor. Insulating this section helps to ensure that cold air from your basement slowly rises to the first floor instead of outside.
Why Would An HVAC Company Write About Insulation?
We know it can seem rare these days, but at RSC Heating and Air Conditioning, we still believe in the value of doing good business. This is a true real-life scenario we come across every month with homeowners throughout Lancaster, and the Susquehanna Valley.
The fact is putting in a new home AC system without addressing any of your home’s insulation problems isn’t good for you, your wallet, or the life of your HVAC system. Our advice will always reflect what we would do if your home was our own. Addressing insulation problems first will improve the cooling performance of your current system, as well as any new system you may install in the future.
If you’d like to have your air conditioner evaluated by a company that’s interested in your best interests, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment using the button below, or by calling us at 717-696-6523.