too cold AC

On a sweltering summer day, are there any downsides to a too cold AC? The fact is, any air conditioner is limited to the amount of heat it can remove from the house during a specific time period. Generally speaking, an air conditioner can only extract enough heat to reduce the indoor temperature 20 degrees below the outdoor temperature. Attempting to get more coolness from the system than the unit is designed to produce — aka a too cold AC — is likely to cause problems, including excess expense and costly damage to the system components.

The Environmental Protection Agency has identified 78 degrees as the optimum indoor temperature for AC performance while still maintaining comfort. This is also the temperature at which most central air conditioners operate most efficiently, thus keeping monthly costs as affordable as possible.

Here are some reasons why a too cold AC is not cool:

  • Excessively long cooling cycles consume more electricity, raising monthly bills considerably. Lowering your AC thermostat setting by just one degree can increase cooling costs by 1 to 3 percent.
  • Instead of normal on/off cycles, an excessively low AC setting may cause the unit to run almost nonstop. This inflicts extreme wear and tear on the AC components — especially the compressor, which is generally the most expensive part of the system.
  • Overheating critical components like the compressor may also trigger an automatic shutdown of the system or trip a circuit breaker, leaving you without any coolness at all.
  • Excessively low thermostat settings below 70 degrees may cause ice to form on the indoor evaporator coil. This blocks air circulation through the coil. Damage to other components, in addition to causing the air conditioner to shut down, are possible results.

For experienced professional advice to avoid a too cool AC while still staying comfortable at the lowest cost, contact the experts at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.