Air Conditioning 101: How Does Outside Temperature Affect Your Air Conditioner?


Does outside temperature affect your air conditioner? The answer is: yes. After all, the unbearably hot temperature outdoors is the reason why you got an air conditioner in the first place. Now, when the temperature begins to rise, your air conditioner has to work extra hard to combat the heat. This does not only impact your house’s temperature but also adversely impacts the appliance. But the good thing is that a furnace heat exchanger helps the job in keeping the indoor air quality good and it also contributes reduction of energy costs.  

You will need periodic professional servicing to maintain the AC’s performance and lifespan. However, before that, you need to understand how exactly the outside temperature affects your AC. 

If you want your air conditioner to run smoothly without hampering its lifespan even under extreme atmospheric temperature, then the appliance’s quality plays the biggest role here. If you are looking for advice, you can connect with a reliable air conditioning company in Phoenix

How much does outside air temperature affect your air conditioner? In this article, we will discuss the details. 

How The Outside Air Temperature Affects the Temperature Indoors

How does outside temperature affect your air conditioner?

Air conditioners are designed to bring down the temperature by 15 to 20 degrees from the atmospheric temperature.

So if the temperature outside is 95 degrees Fahrenheit and your room’s temperature has been brought down to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, your air conditioner is certainly doing its job even if you don’t feel the ambiance has cooled much. 

In general, air conditioners can handle a maximum temperature of 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In this scenario, it can bring down the temperature indoors to 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature level, even if the thermostat is lowered, the temperature will not go down.  

How The Outside Temperature Affects Your Air Conditioner

The indoor temperature is not the only thing that is affected by rising atmospheric temperature. Here is how your air conditioner is actually affected.

1. Effect on its Performance

When the temperature outside is within a moderate range, your AC uses the heat exchanger to keep the temperature indoors under check. In this case, the heat exchanger uses a chemical called the refrigerant to transfer the heat indoors outside.

However, when the temperature outside rises too high, the air conditioner cannot rely on the heat exchanger alone. It then uses the compressor to pump cool air. The compressor also uses the refrigerant, which is compressed under pressure to cool down the hot and humid air. 

However, when the temperature goes up exponentially, the compressor has to work harder, which affects the air conditioner’s durability in the long run. In fact, if an old and dilapidated air conditioner is forced to work this hard for a prolonged period, it might even face total system failure. 

2. Energy Efficiency 

Since the compressor has to work a lot harder to cool the air inside when the atmospheric temperature is intolerably high, the appliance’s efficiency is also affected. The efficiency of an air conditioner is determined by Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)

A system with a SEER above 14 is considered to be efficient, whereas a system with a SEER above 18 is considered to be high-efficiency. So if your region experiences sweltering summers, you should opt for a high-efficiency system. 

Also, if the extremely high atmospheric temperature makes your compressor work extra hard, it will subsequently lead to higher electricity consumption. In this case, an air conditioner with a higher SEER rating will deliver the desired temperature without escalating your electricity bills. 

How To Protect Your Air Conditioner During Hot Summers

While there is nothing you can do to control the weather outside, you need to figure out how to protect your air conditioner from damage during hot summers. So here is a list of 4 ways to protect your AC and prolong its life.

1. Don’t Set The Thermostat Too Low

Your AC can only lower the central air conditioning temperature by 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit from the outside temperature. Hence your thermostat should be set accordingly. If you set your thermostat any lower than that, your air conditioner will have to work really hard to reach that level. In most cases, it won’t be able to produce your desired temperature no matter how hard it tries. However, all the extra hard work that your AC has to do will lead to wear and tear and will ultimately lead to heavy damage. 

2. Keep the Air Filters Clean

Clean air filters facilitate smooth air circulation. If the air filters are clogged, the air conditioners will have to exert extra pressure to maintain the air circulation. This unnecessary load on your AC is the number one factor contributing to its poor performance and system malfunctioning. Hence, clean your AC’s air filters at least once a month to enhance the appliance’s lifespan. 

3. Use the Fan Along With the AC

Air conditioners shouldn’t be seen as the alternative to fans when the weather gets too hot. Instead, both these appliances should be used together. The problem with cool air is it does not circulate well. You can obviously wait for a manual heat transfer that establishes a uniform temperature in the room. 

However, the process is really slow and adds to the work of your air conditioner. Hence, a faster alternative is to switch on the fan along with the AC and let it circulate the cool air. This reduces the load on the AC and cools your room faster. 

4. Shut The Doors and Windows Tightly

When people talk about shutting the doors and windows of an air-conditioned room, they are primarily concerned about maintaining the room temperature. However, the appliance has to bear the maximum adverse effect if the room is heavily ventilated. 

Open doors and windows allow the cool air to constantly flow out, making it harder for the air conditioner to maintain your desired temperature. It has to work harder, which puts unnecessary pressure on the system and leads to early malfunctioning and damage.


Your air conditioner needs a little extra care during hot summers. The only key to enhancing an air conditioner’s durability is proper care and maintenance followed by timely servicing by experts. After all, air conditioners require a substantial investment and, to get your money’s worth, you will definitely want it to last long. 

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