After a blistering summer like the one we have just experienced, we are all aware of the threshold where our air conditioner starts losing to the outside temperature. Those of us that are extremely fortunate can keep up at 105 degrees. Many homes simply can’t keep up though. The fact of the matter is most air conditioners in Edmond, Oklahoma homes are tuned to operate efficiently up to an outside temperature of 95 degrees. If you think about it, the vast majority of the time this is more than adequate, so I’m definitely not advocating changing the tuning. There are other ways to increase the efficiency to cope with higher temperatures, though.
First, let’s examine the premise for how an air conditioner works. At the same time indoor air is passing through the evaporator coil, liquid freon is circulating through the tubing of the evaporator coil. As the Freon circulates thru the evaporator coil the freon absorbs heat from the indoor air by the time the Freon leaves the coil it is converted a gas. The freon flows back to the outside air conditioning unit where it condenses back to a liquid and starts the process all over again.
So this begs the question, if my thermostat says 80 degrees, and my air conditioner is cooling that air to 55 or 60 degrees, why is my house not getting cooler? The answer has to do with a loss of efficiency. The first culprit is that your house is losing cool air through air leaks and inefficient windows quicker than the air conditioner can replace it. A quick audit of your house can lead to some immediate improvements, and with some investment, better windows can be installed that will make a difference. There’s another option that you don’t really hear as much about, though.
Most homes built in the last 20 – 30 years have their ductwork in the attics coupled with overhead vents. On a summer day where the outside temperature reaches 105 degrees or hotter, the attic in a typical Edmond home can reach 140-160 degrees. It is an unfortunate part of our profession that we are experts in this as we are in attics all summer. Hopefully your ductwork is wrapped with insulation. A quick peak in your attic will tell you for sure. Most people don’t realize the amount of heat exchange that can happen on a 20 foot duct run. The 20-25 degrees can all but be mitigated before it even reaches the vent! Even in properly insulated ducts there is always some degree of loss in efficiency.
What’s the solution, then? Lower the temperature in your attic. If you are able to lower the temperature in your attic closer to the outdoor temperature, the amount of loss will be all but eliminated with proper insulation. We have found the best solution is to install an electric motor vent fan in your attic. These fans can easily be installed on the roof or even the gable end. If you already have a passive whirly bird vent, we can use the existing hole to install the electric fan with little effort. This solution will blow out the 140+ degree air and replace it with the air outside. We are confident this simple, almost too good to be true upgrade, will make future summers more bearable without costly upgrades.
Call us today to schedule your appointment today!