Hypothetically, have you ever wondered how HOT it can get outside before your A/C starts to falter?
Today, we at Air Repair Pros are going to explore just that!
95 degrees is the turning point
Residential air conditioners are designed to perform at their best up to an outside temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit. They can still function in higher heat, with the maximum temperature reaching around 120 degrees. However, when the mercury rises past that 95-degree mark, your AC’s performance and efficiency will take a hit. Push the temperature high enough, and it could stop working altogether.
What happens when 120 degrees is reached?
To understand this, let’s delve into the cooling process. The AC system cools your home by using a refrigerant—a special substance that absorbs and releases heat. This refrigerant starts as a gas, absorbs heat from inside your home, and is then compressed by the outdoor unit, which tries to cool it down enough to convert it back into a liquid. This transformation is critical to keep the cool air flowing.
The thing is, each refrigerant has a “critical temperature”—a limit beyond which it just won’t convert back into a liquid, no matter how much it’s compressed. This is like trying to freeze water in a hot oven. It’s simply not going to happen.
The refrigerant currently used in new A/C systems, R410A, has a critical temperature of 162 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it’s crucial to remember that the outdoor unit of your A/C, known as the condenser, can’t chill the refrigerant down to the exact temperature of the outside air. Usually, it gets the refrigerant to a temperature around 20 degrees above the outside air temperature. So, if the outside temperature is 120 degrees, your A/C is aiming to get the refrigerant to around 140 degrees—a little under the critical limit.
However, there’s more to it. Just because the refrigerant could theoretically handle these high temperatures doesn’t necessarily mean the rest of your system can. The ability of your A/C to effectively cool your home at these extreme temperatures also depends on factors like the capacity of the system and how well the compressor can manage the increased heat and pressure.
So, while your A/C is an absolute champ at fighting off the Texas heat, remember that it has its limits, too. Regular maintenance can help ensure that your system performs efficiently, even on the hottest days. And for that, Air Repair Pros have got you covered. Stay cool, Frisco! Oh, and don’t forget to visit our Specials page of our website to view this month’s offers.