When the temperature ramps up in San Diego, we feel it in heat and humidity. We all know how hard it is to work when the temperature soars, and your HVAC system will feel the strain, too. During the summer months, your AC system works harder than ever to keep you cool. This extra pressure on your system can have an impact on the components inside and on your energy bills. In this article, we’ll take a look at the impact the San Diego weather has on your HVAC system and what measures you can take to help your system cope.

The Effects of Heat and Humidity on Your AC System

Here, at Tarpy Plumbing, Heating & Air, we’re no strangers to AC problems during the summer. During the mid-year warm wave, we deal with a host of problems, from aging systems breaking down to AC leaks and problems with indoor air quality. The good news is that we can deal with all of these problems and more, and will carry out repairs swiftly and to the highest standard. The effects of heat and humidity can vary and we see it during the summer months. Let’s take a look.


On a normal summer day, your unit swaps warm air from inside your home with cooler air on the outside. During extreme temperatures, your AC system needs to work overtime to cool this hotter air and keep you cool. A well-maintained system may not feel the strain as much as one that isn’t tuned regularly, but the workload will still be greater. 


July in San Diego is our most humid month. With an average humidity level of 75% we beat many other US cities hands down. This damp and moist air can also make your air conditioning work harder than usual.

Continuous Operation

During the hottest days when your AC system is running continuously, the components inside can start to deteriorate. Your air conditioner is a warmth exchanger, sucking in the warm air from your home and cooling it before pumping it back out again. It’s a clever system but not infallible especially when under so much pressure. When your system is working constantly, it’s more likely to experience faults.

Problems With Components

Most parts inside your air conditioning unit will work perfectly well when put under strain. They’re designed to withstand constant use. However, there are some parts that may experience difficulties as they struggle to keep up with demand. Capacitors, for example, can wear out in extreme temperatures. These components are responsible to providing voltage to the engines. If you notice clicking sounds when your AC starts up, this could signify a problem with the capacitors.

Airflow Problems

Many people think that it’s only humidity and heat that can compromise their cooling system in the summer. In fact, problems with airflow can also have a negative impact. Proper circulation is essential for your system to operate efficiently. If there are blockages in the circulation, your air conditioner will have to work even harder than it is already. If your home is still hot and humid when your AC is running, there could be a problem with airflow somewhere.

Easy ways to check your airflow are to make sure there is no furniture or upholstery covering your air vents. Plants and shrubbery growing over your outside condenser can also block critical airflow. We recommend that you leave at least one foot of clearance around the whole system. If there are no obvious signs of trouble, we can carry out an inspection of your system to identify where the airflow problems lie.

A Spike in Your Energy Bills

With all that hard work going on with your AC system, there’s going to be higher energy consumption and higher energy bills. An efficient system will work hard, but will use energy in a way that is much more economical. If you think that your system is costing you more than in years gone by, or it’s starting to fail more and more often, it could be wise to upgrade to a more efficient model. We can give you advice on how to save money and get through the summers without gasping every time you open an energy bill.

How to Ease the Strain on Your HVAC

There is absolutely no way you can get through a San Diego summer without your air conditioning. So, you need to find ways you can use your system without it going into overdrive and breaking down. There are many ways you can do this.

Invest in a Dehumidifier

As we’ve already discussed, humidity can cause your AC to work harder during the summer months. While an AC system can cool your home, it doesn’t have the ability to balance humidity levels. But a dehumidifier does. Dehumidifiers are highly effective at removing excess humidity, which in turn will help your HVAC system to cope better with cooling your home. Dehumdifiers don’t technically cool your home, but they can have a cooling effect thanks to the reduction in humidity. And when you invest in a whole-home system, you can enjoy these benefits in every room.

Keep Up to Date With HVAC Maintenance

Regular maintenance is a must for making sure your AC has the best chance to thrive and survive during the summer months. Arranging a tune-up before the summer begins will help your system to work more effectively and efficiently and to manage on those hotter days. We recommend that you have your HVAC unit maintained twice a year. A little TLC can prevent major repairs from being required down the road.

Don’t Switch Off Your AC When You Leave Home

Many homeowners believe that turning off their AC system before heading out can help them to save money. Therefore, it might surprise you to learn that the opposite is true. Shutting off the AC causes the temperature to rise and your AC to work harder to achieve the set temperature when you switch it back on. Switching off your air conditioning will also increase humidity levels. This could cause condensation to build up on particular humid days.

Keep Windows and Doors Closed

When you leave your doors and windows open, it allows hot air to enter and circulate around your home. This in turn raises the temperature and makes more work for your HVAC system. Keeping doors and windows open can also allow contaminants, such as pollen and other allergens to enter.

Let Our Comfort Experts Help

At Tarpy Plumbing, Heating & Air, we’re here to help with all HVAC problems, especially on the hottest days of the year when your system is under more pressure. We can arrange regular maintenance that keeps your system running efficiently all season, and we can recommend and install the perfect dehumidifier. The more you can do to help your AC system to operate efficiently, the better your home comfort will be. A more efficient system also means lower energy bills.

Get ready for the heat and humidity by speaking to our team today. We can arrange an inspection of your system and carry out any necessary maintenance. Considering a new AC system? We offer a wide selection of dependable and energy-efficient systems designed to cope with a typical San Diego summer. From traditional AC systems to ductless mini-splits, we have you covered.

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