Know How to Safeguard Your AC Unit From a Heat Wave

Heat waves are unpleasant for humans and very hard on air conditioners too. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, about three-quarters of states in the U.S. will experience at least one period during the summer in which high temperatures exceed historical averages for more than two days. Stay safe and comfortable during a heat wave by making sure your air conditioner is protected from disabling damage that might leave you without cooling at the worst possible time.

Do the basics.

If you haven’t scheduled annual professional preventive maintenance on your AC yet, get it done now. You’ll be glad you did when temperatures spike. Also, make sure you change the system air filter every month without fail. Low system airflow due to a dirty filter is bad anytime. During heat waves, it’s worse.

Don’t push the limits.

A typical residential AC can only reduce indoor temperatures approximately 20 degrees below the outdoor temperature, no matter how long the unit runs. Unrealistically low thermostat settings will only inflict extreme stress on the unit and perhaps overload critical components like the compressor, triggering a total system shutdown.

Be patient.

You can’t force an air conditioner to cool a house any faster than it’s rated BTU capacity permits. An AC extracts a fixed amount of BTUs of heat per a specific time frame, whether the indoor temperature’s only moderately warm or way up in the heat wave zone. Pushing the thermostat setting very low in extremely hot weather won’t make the cooldown quicker. In fact, it may result in overcooling the house, which will needlessly consume excess energy.

Let it run.

Instead of shutting the AC off completely when you leave the house, set a higher “unoccupied” thermostat setting and let the unit cycle on and off normally while you’re gone. This avoids a severely overheated house during a heat wave, not to mention that it actually conserves energy and reduces system wear and tear.

Ask the Paitson Bros. cooling pros for more info about efficient, effective AC operation during heat waves. We’ve helped keep Terre Haute comfortable every summer since 1922.

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    By Jeff Paitson
  • About Jeff

    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

    Jeff’s belief is that the business belongs to Jesus Christ; therefore 10 percent of the company’s profits go toward the Maryland Community Church.

    Jeff is a Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce member and in his spare time, he enjoys photography.
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  • About Ethan


    Ethan Ethan Rayburn is a lifelong resident of Terre Haute and a 2005 graduate of Purdue University.

    An Eagle Scout, Ethan spent four years as a non-profit executive with the Boy Scouts of America before joining Paitson Bros. as a comfort advisor and later General Manager. In that role, Ethan has brought a renewed enthusiasm for customer care, integrity, value, and service to Paitson Bros. Heating & Air Conditioning.

    Ethan enjoys singing and was a member of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club. He also enjoys playing and coaching soccer, spending time with his family and two young boys, and volunteering his time and resources with his church, Terre Haute First Baptist Church, which he has attended from a very young age.
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