Juan in Sacramento, CA is having a few problems with the temperature of the air in his house, even though his AC seems to be fine. Juan asks:
“Man, I feel like I haven’t gotten a decent night’s sleep in a long while. A few weeks ago, my AC started getting louder and louder whenever I turned it on. I didn’t think much of it at first; honestly, I think I initially ignored it because I didn’t want to deal with any potential issues. However, after the noise started, the system also began to get less effective—which is a lot harder to ignore during the summer in Sacramento.
It sounds like the AC is working, though, and when I put my hand up to the vents I still feel some cold air coming out. So, my question then is, why is my house so hot with the AC on? To be quite honest with you, even before this noise issue started, my house was cooling unevenly. So I guess I also want to know if there’s something I can do to make my whole HVAC setup more efficient. Thank you for your time! – Juan”
Well, Juan, as a cooling and air professional, I know how frustrating it is for folks in the middle of a Sacramento summer when it seems like their AC is working, but their homes stay too warm. Sorry you’re going through this, and sorry that it’s messing with your sleep. I promise that we’ll do all that we can here today to get you the answers you need!
Two Reasons Why Your House Is Still So Hot with the AC On
There are two answers I usually give when I’m asked by a homeowner why their house is so hot with the AC on. The first is that your AC, even though it sounds like it’s working and some cool air is coming out of the vent, may have a problem that’s causing it to not work as efficiently as it should be.
…your AC, even though it sounds like it’s working and some cool air is coming out of the vent, may have a problem that’s causing it to not work as efficiently as it should be.
The specific AC noises you hear can tell you a lot about what’s going on. If your system is suddenly louder—like our friend Juan’s—then you should probably call a trained technician out to take a look, ASAP—especially if there’s been any drop in efficiency whatsoever. If, however, your system isn’t making any new or louder noises, the answer to why your house is so hot with the AC on could be something else.
Another reason that your house might stay warm despite your AC working is that you have a number of environmental inefficiencies, such as poor insulation or leaky ductwork.
Another reason that your house might stay warm despite your AC working is that you have a number of environmental inefficiencies, such as poor insulation or leaky ductwork. We’ve talked in the past about how to tell if your house is well insulated, as well as why it matters, but it’s relevant again in this situation.
Simply put, it doesn’t matter how well your AC unit is functioning if shoddy insulation is allowing all that cool air to just leak outside. The same can also be true of leaky ductwork, which allows cool air to escape into places like your attic, rather than being pushed out into your home.
Why Is My House So Hot With AC On? Why Insulation Matters
For those of you who suspect insulation problems may be the answer to why your house is so hot with the AC on, here are some of the most common signs that your house is suffering from poor insulation:
- High energy bills: Homeowners should know that their utility bills can provide great insight into potential heating and cooling problems. Take a look at your energy bills over the last few years, checking for any major increases that you can’t explain. Sometimes, heating and cooling costs rise after a home gets older and its insulation settles and becomes less effective. This happens slowly, so homeowners often don’t notice a change in comfort right away—but looking at your long-term utility bills can be a great clue.
- Water leaks in the winter: I know we’re talking about heat and AC now, but how your insulation performs in the winter can also be a clue. For example, do you find water leaking in your attic during Sacramento’s rainy winters? Or, do your windows leak when it rains? Poorly insulated walls and windows don’t just let cool air into your home, they also let in water. Simply put, any kind of water leaking through is a clear sign of poor insulation.
- The touch test: A basic touch test is another great resource to gauge the quality of your home’s insulation. If you find excessively hot or cold walls and paneling anywhere in your home, during any of the seasons, this is a clear indication that your insulation needs an upgrade.
How to Fix a House that Is Still Too Hot with the AC On
The best place to start fixing the dilemma of a too-hot house is by calling a trained HVAC professional. Whether you’re hearing new noises from your AC or suspect that there’s an issue with your insulation, don’t hesitate to call in a pro. These sort of situations are very tricky and almost impossible to gauge on your own. You really want to bring in someone with professional equipment and experience.
Calling in a professional not only gets you answers, but it also starts you on the path to having your issues repaired—and your home’s energy efficiency greatly improved.
A trained HVAC professional tech can quickly ascertain what the problem is. They can suggest ways to improve your AC efficiency, as well as how to fix your ductwork or insulation. Calling in a professional not only gets you answers, but it also starts you on the path to having your issues repaired—and your home’s energy efficiency greatly improved.
So, I hope Juan and anyone else suffering through warm days or nights found this helpful. In Juan’s situation, I suspect there is a combination between a problem with the AC and with his insulation. I should note, though, that every cooling trouble is different because each home is unique. The best solution is to have the trained HVAC professionals at Bell Brothers out to take a look. Our experience and expertise is just what you need to pinpoint where the troubles are coming from. So, call us today. Don’t spend another night awake, sweating through the heat!
At Bell Brothers, our trained HVAC professionals would be happy to help you fix an AC unit that has stopped efficiently cooling your house. We can also help make your home more energy-efficient by cleaning and sealing up your leaky ductwork or improving your insulation. Contact us today to schedule a free in-home consultation.
Wondering how to finance a new HVAC—or even a furnace or window upgrade? HERO is a unique financing option that helps California homeowners afford energy efficient upgrades to their home. Contact Bell Brothers, a HERO-approved contractor, to learn more. Our local HVAC, plumbing, and window specialists will walk you through the entire process, from applications to installation.
Image courtesy evgeny atamanenko