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Hot Weather and Its Effects on Your AC System

We all know that humans have trouble handling hot weather. We can only last so long in extreme heat before needing water and shade. This is why many of us turn to an AC unit to cool ourselves off in the summer. However, you might not know that your AC system has limitations when it comes to the heat as well. As strong as it may seem, the appliance functions differently in hot temperatures. Let’s examine how the hot weather can have an effect on your air conditioning system.


As the temperature rises outside, the unit will need to work harder and harder to keep the climate in your home at your most comfortable temperature. At a certain point, which is usually when outdoor temperatures are around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you will notice that your AC system has a much more difficult time keeping the temperature at the level you want it to be. Your unit may not be able to reach this level at all, and it’s not recommended to continually adjust your settings lower in an attempt to reach the desired temperature. Not only will this not work, but continually forcing it to work so hard when temperatures are soaring outside can reduce the lifespan of the appliance.

Every degree matters when you are nearing triple digits. To minimize the wear and tear on your unit on particularly hot days, you’ll definitely want to have one eye on the thermometer and avoid setting your thermostat too low for the system to keep up with.


Humidity often accompanies heat. Not only is a humid climate uncomfortable to live in, but it also reduces the efficiency of your AC. Because there are more water droplets in the air, the cooling system will need to work extra hard to get the job done. The system can’t cool water droplets directly, so it has to sift through air and water particles in order to cool the right ones. In essence, moisture gets in the way of regular AC cooling and increases the workload for your unit.

This extra strain reduces the lifespan of the appliance and increases the chance that maintenance or repairs will be necessary in the near future. One trick that you can try is the usage of a dehumidifier in addition to other air quality products. First, the dehumidifier will purge the air of water droplets, making it less humid. Then, the AC can do its job without a hitch. Many homeowners find this combination effective.

Susceptible Components

The good news is that not all parts of your AC are susceptible to strain. When temperatures become extreme, most parts in the interior of the unit are safe from harm. They are designed to function in warm temperatures, and you won’t notice any lasting damage once the summer is over. However, some parts on the exterior of your system aren’t nearly as durable.

In particular, capacitors are susceptible to strain during the summer months. These capacitors have to deal with high amounts of voltage, and the heat weakens their outer shell. If you hear a cracking noise when the AC is running, there is a good chance that your capacitor has been compromised. You will likely notice a decrease in AC performance, but on the small chance that the unit is performing just fine, you will still want to seek maintenance service from your local AC/Heat company.

A unit with a broken capacitor is inevitably going to fail sooner or later, and you will be better off addressing the problem right away rather than letting it escalate into something more severe. In that case, you will have to pay more for repairs or even have to replace the unit altogether, which can cost you thousands of dollars.

Temperature Discrepancies

In the hot weather months, you might notice that there is a massive difference in temperatures between each room in your home. Even though you programmed the AC to keep the entire home cool, some rooms will be inevitably warmer than others. Rooms closer to the unit will likely be cooler than ones further away. As a homeowner, you can do a couple of things on your own to improve these temperature discrepancies. Opening and closing doors can help to direct the flow of cool air. Portable fans can also control the flow between rooms in order to even things out. You can also close vents in rooms where you don’t need as much cooled air, like a spare guestroom or office that won’t be used during the weekend.

Energy Cost

When an AC has to work hard during hot weather, it can lead to an astounding energy consumption. In cooler weather, the unit doesn’t have to work at its maximum capacity, so you will notice that your energy costs are much lower. Even if you turn it up to the highest setting in the spring or fall, the temperate climate outdoors assists the AC in its job. There is also likely a gentle breeze outdoors to cool the system off. In the midst of summer, your AC will reach unparalleled levels of energy consumption, and your wallet will definitely feel this effect when your electricity bill arrives each month.

One thing that you might consider is putting a cap on the power of your AC. On many modern models, you can specifically set the unit to not operate above a certain threshold. Not only is this good for saving money, but it also prevents overheating from occurring in the first place. As the temperature climbs to 100 degrees, it’s just a matter of time before the heat causes wear and tear on the system. Try to determine your maximum indoor temperature and keep it there to help avoid energy spikes. Over time, you should get used to the slightly higher temperature, and you’ll definitely enjoy the cost savings.

Hot Weather Maintenance

When all is said and done, hot weather has some adverse effects on your AC system. While there is nothing wrong with running the AC to save yourself from the heat, it is important to recognize the appliance’s limitations as well. In essence, lower your expectations. Don’t inject more and more power into the AC in hopes that it will get cooler. If something does go wrong, you will need professional maintenance for your air conditioning system.

Rite Way Heating, Cooling and Plumbing in Tucson, AZ, is an excellent resource for keeping your AC in its best shape possible. We have all the tools and personnel to troubleshoot anything regarding your AC. We also specialize in other services such as plumbing, home water quality and heating repairs. We know just how important it is to maintain a comfortable climate in the hot weather months. In order to get your AC/Heat system ready for the summer heat, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a visit from one of our qualified technicians.