Finding Duct Leaks

Is Your Home's Air Conditioning Sufficient?

Air conditioning is one of the greatest comforts of modern life. There is more to providing comfort than installing an AC unit. The setup needs to be sufficient to meet the space's needs. If you're not confident that your home's system is up to the job, here is how you can tell.

Running Time

Under normal conditions and in a house with sufficient insulation, the AC should not run all of the time. Notably, there is another potential suspect. You do want to conduct a thermal imaging survey of the house to verify that the insulation isn't leaky. Even in extreme heat, the insulation should cut the AC system's running time down enough to not be on constantly.

Once you've ruled insulation out, it's time to suspect that your home doesn't have enough air conditioning capacity. Bear in mind it may be able to cool every space that you want. An underpowered system can sometimes work overtime to do the job. However, this runs up the electricity bill. Also, it will wear the unit out faster because its moving parts will experience more heat and friction.

Wobbly Temperatures

Temperature stability is a sign that an AC setup and a house are well-matched. If the temperature wobbles up and down or just keeps slowly creeping up, then the air conditioning isn't doing the job well enough. Once more, you should rule out the insulation as a potential culprit.

In the case of wobbling temperatures, there could also be an issue with just one of the AC's components. The thermostat could be buggy. A technician may need to replace it if the system appears to otherwise be sufficient.


Drying the air is critical to the system's efficient operation. Cooling humid air costs more power. Also, it just won't be as comfortable. Likewise, the relative humidity needs to stay down to avoid promoting mold growth.

If the air feels sticky when you sit in one spot for too long, the AC might not be extracting enough water from the air. You might also detect musty smells in living spaces if mold is growing. Even if the humidity level is only higher at the periphery of a house, that's enough to get mold.


Noise is the final factor. Even a fairly noisy unit shouldn't emit crunching or squealing sounds. Also, any uptick in the noise level is a sign that the system is aging and likely becoming less efficient. Prolonged running times also can make the AC noisier. These are signs that you should consider a higher-capacity setup.

Contact an air conditioning contractor for more information.