Central air conditioning systems are designed to suit the size of your home and the amount of air it needs to cool or heat. The size of the specific AC unit, the condenser, is chosen to be efficient for 98% of the typical high temperatures in your area (climate). So for that 2% extreme, like we are having this summer in Palm Desert and Palm Springs, your AC system may actually be undersized. But this is by design. Otherwise, if you went with a larger system that had no troubles pumping the volumes of cool air needed during these extremely hot days, your system would be quite inefficient 98% of the time. And that’s really, almost all the time – not a good thing.
The larger system costs more to install and it consumes more energy to run, all costing you more money. Because it pumps more air volume it cools the house much faster. You might think this was a good thing but instead it means the system is running through off and on cycles at a much higher rate. The shorter cooling cycles means it is not quite running long enough to be pulling humidity out of your home. Removing humidity is part of how an air conditioner works. The condensing coil condenses water out of the air and the heat exchange process during that activity is what creates the cooler air. Warmer air and moisture is then exited from your home. Dryer air, even when warmer, is more comfortable for the human body as it allows our own biological air conditioner, our sweat, to be more efficient. Not removing sufficient humidity from your home could also lead to mold problems.
These are some of the reasons an over-sized AC system is just an all around bad idea. But you can still make the system you have work for you in these 100+ degree conditions.
To make it easier for your AC system to reliably pump out cool air when it’s over 100 degrees outside you need to give it some help.
In a nutshell it comes down to reducing heat gains in the home. Some of the basics are;
Anything you can do to keep the house stay cooler, even a little bit, means the AC does not need to be running as long for each cooling cycle.
Your central air system should be getting a maintenance check-up at least once a year. Ideally the AC unit should be checked before peak demand during Palm Desert's summer heat, to ensure it’s running at its best when you need it most. It will be running hard through these multiple 100+ degrees days and may even need a check-up later on after all that heavy use.
The summer temperatures in Palm Desert, California are here and it's HOT outside. Many people have received their second or third summer electric bills – and they're literally breaking out in a sweat over the amount due!
When it's about 110 degrees in Palm Desert, Palm Springs, or Indio, California, it's hot enough for anyone and anything. Learn the best way for you to set your thermostat this summer – even if it's not exactly what you want to hear or you prefer a relatively chilly indoor air temperature.
Making “the case” for a warmer indoor air temperature during the summer rests on three truisms:
The California Energy Commission recommends that homeowners set their thermostat to 78 degrees when they're home and 85 degrees when they're away from home during the summer. Note that this is a better strategy than turning off your air conditioner on 100-degree days – so that you don't return home to indoor air that feels like a sauna, and so that your air conditioner won't have to run as long to cool your home upon your return.
The center's advice is based on the U.S. Department of Energy's often repeated mantra about thermostat controls and saving energy: when you can adjust your thermostat by between 10 and 15 degrees for eight hours at a stretch – higher during the summer and lower during the winter – you can save between 5 and 15 percent on your utility bill. This one adjustment can add up to considerable savings, though it might mean sticking with a minimalist wardrobe during the summer (and reaching for a sweater during the winter).
Admittedly, some people simply do not tolerate warm weather well. And some people suffer from health issues that make a cool indoor air temperature an absolute necessity.
Be sure to make allowances for such conditions and take proactive measures to help you stay cool indoors with or without air conditioning -- and even before the temperature soars to three digits outdoors:
When it's 100 degrees outdoors, you're likely to feel the heat indoors. Ensuring that your home is properly sealed and insulated against air leaks will mitigate your discomfort – and help keep your utility bills in check.