Does The Outside Temperature Affect My AC?

It’s no secret that your air conditioner is meant to cool you off, but did you know that the unit itself is affected by hot temperatures? Here’s how the exterior temperature impacts your air conditioning system.

Energy Consumption

In the hot summer months, the AC unit needs to drastically change the temperature of your living spaces from hot to cool. This is a much bigger jump than from warm to cool. Because more work needs to be done, the unit consumes more energy. As you know, the lower the setting of your AC, the more electricity is required to get the job done. Moreover, this increase happens on an exponential scale, so sweltering temperatures really take a toll on your electric bill.

Problems and Remedies

Essentially, your air conditioner sends cool refrigerant into your house, where a fan blows warm air over the coils. Heat is absorbed by the refrigerant and transferred outside, and then your compressor takes over. If the refrigerant is the same temperature as the ambient air, the heat won’t be expelled. Your compressor has to heat it about 25 degrees hotter than the air outside. You can see how this would be much more difficult on a day when the temperature was 95 degrees than it would be on an afternoon that only reached 75 degrees. Faulty compressors probably account for the majority of service calls in the summer. You can try to avoid this situation by performing regular maintenance. The coils should be kept clean, the filters need to be replaced, and the refrigerant should be topped off.


In the worst-case scenario, your cooling system is prone to overheating. This occurs when the temperature is extreme and the user tries to make the unit work extra hard. That combination could be a recipe for disaster. The AC unit might overheat due to the sheer amount of energy required to accomplish the goal. This scenario could lead to a mechanical failure. At the very least, the circuit breaker would be tripped. In either case, you’d be without cooling equipment until the problem was corrected.

If you find yourself in this dilemma, reach out to Butler Heating & Air Conditioning in Dayton, OH, for assistance. Our experts perform a full range of cooling equipment maintenance, repair, and installation. In fact, we do the same for heating equipment and plumbing systems. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.