Just How Cold Is Too Cold?

Properly operating your home’s HVAC system isn’t always as straightforward as it seems. Unpredictable weather with wide temperature swings can complicate things further. The month of October in Ruston, LA, is a prime example.

The average high October temperature in Ruston is 76.5°F, with the average low October temperature checking in at 51.8°F. This wide swing presents a conundrum for HVAC systems in that area.

It helps to know how cold temperatures affect AC units so that you can make sure you’re properly running your AC in cold weather. This article will answer some FAQs about air conditioning and the cold.

At what temperature is it too cold outside to run the air conditioning?

Most HVAC experts state that when the weather outside is 60°F or lower, you shouldn’t turn on your air conditioning. In HVAC terms, the outdoor temperature is known as the ambient temperature. There are certain modifications you can make to your air conditioner to run it at a lower ambient temperature.

Why would someone need to run the air conditioning at a lower ambient temperature, and is there a way to safely do that?

In certain industrial applications where there are many workers indoors and machines giving off heat, there may be a need to cool the interior of a structure despite the lower ambient temperature outside. If you’ve ever been to a large social gathering in a small home, you may have noticed how warm it can get inside, regardless of the ambient temperature.

There’s something called a low ambient kit that is a specially-designed component that can be added to your air conditioner and is meant to save the compressor. This allows you to properly run your AC in cold weather.

Is running your air conditioning in cold weather bad for your HVAC system?

If you don’t have a low ambient kit installed, then yes. Cold temperatures affect AC units in a negative way. This is because air conditioners and their accompanying components are designed to function in warm weather. The problem in cold weather is usually the compressor.

Oil is used to lubricate the compressor and ensure its proper function. This oil tends to get thicker in cold temperatures, and this diminishes its lubrication capabilities. In addition to that, any condensation from the air conditioner that forms on the cooling coil is at risk of freezing, and this could damage the air conditioning unit.

If the air inside my home is getting stuffy, what can I do?

Being cooped up inside all winter is made worse when your home’s interior air becomes stuffy. We’ve already established that it’s best not to run the AC in cold weather, but there are two things you can do to remedy this problem. You can run your air conditioner in fan only mode which should circulate air without using the cooling function and damaging the system’s components—or you can simply open a window.

Call to have your air conditioner inspected today

Understanding how cold temperatures affect AC units can help you properly run your AC in cold weather. If you need air conditioning inspection, repair or replacement, call us at J & B Air Conditioning, Heating and Gutters. We offer a vast array of HVAC services, from diagnostics to installation, so call us for your free estimate.

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