As the weather in Ohio gets warmer and spring begins to approach summer, it may seem tempting to turn your air conditioning on and avoid the slightest hint of heat. In fact, sometimes people like to turn it on the second it gets up to 65 degrees on that early April day and then try to keep it running throughout the night when the temperatures drop back into the 50s. However, the air conditioner should only be on if the temperature outside is 65 degrees or above, and the idea is to only use it if the thermostat starts hitting 70 degrees. There are several reasons not to run an air conditioner when it is below this temperature or too early in the season:
Air conditioners have a part called a compressor, which — true to its name — compresses the refrigerant, a substance that is used to cool down the air in your home. This allows the refrigerant to circulate through tubes inside the air conditioner, and drives the heat-transfer process that leads to the cold temperature you expect from an air conditioner. However, the oil in the compressor is very thick, which means that when it is too cold, the oil can congeal, damaging the compressor and preventing the air conditioner from working when you actually need it.
During the cooling process, the refrigerant enters the evaporator coil and absorbs heat from the surrounding air, thus removing heat from inside your home and lowering its temperature. However, because these coils rely on a steady stream of warmer air to keep them operating, coils can freeze if it is too cold and the air that is blowing through doesn’t actually transfer any heat, leading to malfunctions.
In order to avoid these problems, you should check the weather forecast to see overnight temperatures and switch off the air conditioner if it drops below 70 degrees. Or, to make things easier on yourself, just make it a habit to turn it off after the sun goes down in those in-between months when it’s warm during the day but cool at night. Then, once the temperatures break permanently into summer, you can keep the air conditioner set at a certain temperature all the time and not have to worry about the issues listed above.