Does Outside Temperature Affect My Air Conditioner

Does outside temperature affect the air conditioner? The answer is: yes. But exactly how?

Ideally, the AC unit should cool your home when the temperatures get high. However, when the outdoor temperature reaches 95 F to 100 F, the unit starts getting overworked, and this can cause problems.

Your air conditioner might also start malfunctioning, as it is overworking and consuming a lot of energy. Generally, at very high temperatures, your air conditioner stops cooling the home. Instead, it starts removing heat, which can interfere with the normal performance.

Apart from extreme heat, cold can also affect your air conditioning unit. When temperatures go below 60 F, most manufacturers recommend that you do not try running your AC. It is likely to cause damage because it can cause the parts to freeze.

Also, it will take a lot of power for the air conditioning unit to start running. It is advisable you wait until the temperatures go above 64 F.

How Does High Outside Temperature Affect Air Conditioner?

If the outside air temperature is high and your AC is running, here are some issues that might occur:

1. Fast Clogging of Air Filters

During hot summer months, the AC is forced to work overtime. Since the AC is always working to cool the home, it is collecting dirt and debris in the process. This results in fast clogging of air filters compared to other months.

It is always advisable to replace your air filters before the summer months begin. Dirty air filters can cause damage to the entire AC unit so make sure that you do not ignore this step.

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2. Debris Accumulation on Exterior Fan

You might notice an accumulation of debris on your exterior AC fan. Usually, the burning of oil and dirt from outside during the hot months will make your fan dirty fast. And, dirt in your exterior fan can affect the performance of your air conditioning unit.

The best thing is to clean the fan regularly, or if you cannot do it yourself, hire an AC technician to service and clean the unit.

3. Fast Damage of Your AC Unit

When the outside temperatures are very high, the unit works harder to keep the heat away. The result is that all the parts of the air conditioning unit will be overworked.

This will lead to fast damage to your AC unit. Eventually, you will need to do more repairs and might even need to replace the AC.

How do Extreme Low Temperatures Affect your Air Conditioner?

Even low temperatures can affect your AC in the following ways:

1. Inner Coils Freeze

At extremely low temperatures, the inner coils start to freeze. Freezing of the coils is normal, and during this time, you are supposed to keep the unit off until the temperatures start rising.

You are likely to damage the coils when you try to use them while frozen.

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2. The Lubricating Fluid Becomes Thick

The lubricating fluid will become thick to the extent that it becomes difficult to use your air conditioning unit. If you try using it, you will be exposing it to more friction. This can subsequently lead to damage to the moving parts.

Therefore, it is advised to wait until the temperatures go up before you start using the air conditioning unit again.

3. Some Air Conditioning Units Won’t Work

Fortunately, modern air conditioning units come with sensors. If your air conditioning unit is fairly new, it will not go on when the temperatures are low.

This is a useful feature because it protects the units from damage.

How to Protect your AC from Extreme Outside Temperatures

As we have seen, extreme cold or heat can have negative effects on your air conditioning unit. Fortunately, it is possible to protect your AC from damage during extreme outdoor temperatures.

Modern air conditioning units have protective mechanisms that shield them from extreme temperatures. With such units, you will not be able to turn them on or off, which is a good protective mechanism.

However, if you have an older unit, here are some tips to keep your AC protected from extreme outside temperatures:

1. Service Your Air Conditioning Unit Before Winter and Summer

Servicing your air conditioning unit right before winter and summer can be beneficial in protecting your unit before the temperatures become too extreme.

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The technician will change the lubricating fluid and the air filters, and do some fan cleaning. This is necessary to make sure that everything is running well.

2. Monitor the Temperatures

Monitoring the outdoor temperatures is important to protect your AC from damage. If the outdoor temperatures fall below 60 F, avoid turning the unit on. Also, if you notice that the outdoor temperature is extremely high, you should also avoid putting the AC on.

This is the only way to avoid damage to your unit in case it does not have a modern sensor. You can use your thermostat to monitor the outside temperature.

3. Look for Alternative Methods of Heating or Cooling

You do not have to use your air conditioning unit to cool or heat your home all the time. When the temperatures are harsh, you can switch to alternative methods to protect your AC.


So, does outside temperature affect air conditioners? Yes, it does.

However, running your air conditioning unit at optimal temperatures is the best way to enhance durability.

Temperatures below 60 F are not ideal for running the AC because most of the parts are frozen, and running the unit will risk damage.

Extremely high temperatures are also not ideal because the air conditioning unit will be struggling to keep the home cool.

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