FACT OR MYTH: Tips to keep your AC blowing cool this summer

HOUSTON – It’s hot in Houston. There’s no other way to say it.

Summer is here and with it are “feels like” temperatures climbing well above 100° F.

This has many people, including you and I, looking for ways to stay in the shade and cool. For many, that means inside in the air conditioning.

“ACs are working as strong as they can right now,” Rick Young with Hunter’s Air and Heat tells us.

However, with temperatures skyrocketing, some air conditioners might not be cooling as well. That has some searching for ways they can “help” their AC units keep their homes cool.

But the reality is, some of the “tips” you can find online might actually do more damage than good.

We’re asking HVAC expert Rick Young with Hunter’s Air and Heat to cut through the nonsense to make sure you don’t do more damage than good.

Providing Shade For Your Outdoor Condenser


You might find people using umbrellas or even picnic canopies to cover the outside portion of your air conditioning system, called a condenser, to help keep it cool and run better.

Young says this not only is false, but it can actually hurt the unit by forcing it to run longer.

“No, it does not, because what you’re doing is you’re creating a wind tunnel above this to where the heat that’s coming off of this, if this condenser coil is clean, it’s going to suck that heat right back down in there again,” said Young. “It’s not doing its proper job of pulling the heat out of the house, because it’s just sucking it right back down in there again. That’s why you want to have a clean free above it and at least 12 to 18in clearance around it. That way it breathes. This unit is designed to breathe.”

Put Cool Water On The Outside Condenser


This is another idea that sounds like it should work on paper.

However, this again goes against the design of the AC system.

“I’ve seen people do the same thing where they put those little sprinklers around that where it mist on them,” Young said. “What that does is that creates a problem with the refrigerant flow and the refrigerant levels.”

The outside portion of the air conditioning system is designed to run hot.

“This is what we call our high-pressure side,” he said. “You’ve got a liquid line that comes in. That’s your liquid Freon. It’s coming through here and condensing and it’s going through every one of these coils as that air flow goes across it, that’s what’s causing it to pull the heat out. So, it’s boiling off the freon.”

Use A Fan to Cool Down the AC Unit


This is probably one of those tips that you’d pass up on if you read it.

But in case you didn’t and are considering it, this would be a waste of time and money.

Young says this does nothing but impede the air flow the outside condenser is designed to receive.

Buy A Bigger Unit


This is one of the ideas that sounds like it would work. If you have the extra money, why not buy a bigger air conditioner unit to cool your house?

This will work by cooling your house quickly.

However, it presents another problem. It cools too quickly, leaving behind a lot of the moisture inside your home.

“Bigger is not better. I get that question all the time,” Young explains. “An AC unit is designed to dehumidify. It will squeeze the water out of that house if it’s designed properly.”

Sure, a bigger unit will quickly cool your home. But it won’t run long enough to act as a dehumidifier, sucking the water out of the air.

Keep Your AC Blowing Cool Air

The big question that you came here for: How do I keep my AC running and blowing cool air?

There’s one simple answer: maintenance.

Performing maintenance on your unit twice a year is the best way to make sure your air conditioning is in tip-top shape for those summer heat waves.

“Just maintenance, keeping it clean,” Young said. “Don’t do any crazy ideas. Keep it free around there so it’s designed to do what it’s supposed to do.”

About the Authors

Gage Goulding is an award-winning TV news reporter and anchor. A native of Pittsburgh, PA, he comes to Texas from Fort Myers, FL, where he covered some of the areas most important stories, including Hurricane Ian.

A creative force with a lifelong passion for the arts. Exploring the realms of acting, singing, and film at an early age. With nearly 100 original songs, he is a BMI-published author, his music resonates on all major platforms, international video, films and Netflix.

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