How Long Should It Take a Central AC to Cool a Home?

How long should it take to cool a home with central air conditioning

When it is hot and your AC seems to take a long time to cool off your home, you probably want some quick answers.

But, without knowing more about your home, your AC unit, and the outdoor temperature, it is tough for us to give you an accurate answer to this question.

However, we can tell you that if your air conditioner runs all day without reaching your set temperature, you might have a problem.

Here are a few things that may slow down the time it takes to cool your home:

  • The outdoor temperature. If your system struggles to reach your set temperature on very hot days, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with it. Your system is designed to keep up with what is called the “design temperatures.” Design temperatures are the range of temperatures that a city stays between for 99% of the year.

In the Lehigh Valley, our design temperatures are between 12 degrees and 88 degrees. So over 99% of the year, we never see temperatures over 88 degrees. When we do, you will notice your AC is struggling to keep your home cool.

What to do: There is not anything you can do to your AC system to fix this. A few things you can do to keep your home a little bit cooler is to keep drapes closed, make sure vents are not blocked, and utilize ceiling fans if you have them.

  • A dirty air filter. If your air filter is clogged, it blocks the amount of air it pulls into the AC system. Less airflow puts a strain on your unit and slows down your AC’s ability to cool your home.What to do: Change your filter regularly. Usually, we recommend you check it on the first of each month to see if it needs replacing. Remember, if you have pets or smoke in your home, you may have to replace it more often.
  • Leaks in air ducts. If your air ducts are not connected properly or there are holes in them, the cool air escapes into unconditioned areas. (basement, behind walls, etc.)What to do: Have a professional inspect the ductwork. They will be able to detect the leaky areas and repair them.
  • Low refrigerant. The refrigerant is the cooling agent that moves the heat from inside your home to the outdoor air. If your system is low on refrigerant, it cannot remove the heat from your home as quickly.What to do: Call a professional to inspect the unit for any leaks and to recharge your system with more refrigerant.
  • AC is too small. If your air conditioner is too small for your home, it will run constantly, but not cool your home properly.Professional contractors perform a calculation based on many factors such as home size, geographical area, insulation, windows, etc. to determine what size unit your home needs.What to do: Call a professional. They will inspect your current system and home to determine what size AC unit you need and replace the current system with a properly sized unit.

If you notice that your AC is struggling to keep your home cool, schedule an appointment with one of our professional, NATE Certified technicians.