2018 Michigan Summer is coming! How hot weather affects your HVAC system


The hot season is upon us, and with temperatures rising, your HVAC system is going to be going into overdrive. A HVAC cooling unit works harder as outside temperatures climb because the air conditioning cycle needs outside temperatures to be lower than the heat being released from the unit. To understand, let’s look at how your HVAC works to keep your building cool.

The Basics

Your HVAC system operates on a continuous cycle which involves compression, condensation, expansion, and evaporation. Outside of your building, the HVAC unit compresses the refrigerant, increasing its temperature. A fan blows outside air across the unit’s coils containing the hot, high-pressure refrigerant. When the outside air is cooler than the fluid, heat energy flows from the refrigerant to the outside air. When the high-temperature gaseous refrigerant gives up energy, it turns back into a liquid.

The high-temperature, high-pressure liquid goes through an expander, which converts the refrigerant to a low-temperature, low-pressure liquid as it enters the inside of your house. There another fan blows inside air across the coils, where the warmer air sends heat into the cool coils, converting the liquid to a gas. The gaseous refrigerant enters the compressor and the cycle starts again.

Where summer heat comes in

You can see by now exactly how this system can fall apart due to extremely hot weather. The amount of heat and the rate at which it’s transferred depends upon the difference in temperature between the outside air and the refrigerant. The lower the outside temperatures, the more cooling work is done by the heat exchanger, a passive system, rather than the compressor, which is an active system. When the outside air temperatures go up, the HVAC system has to work harder overall to achieve the same temperatures because the compressor has more work to do—which increases wear and tear on your equipment.

How do you prepare?

The smartest thing you can do is take the time to ensure that your systems are in top shape after this past winter season. Different seasons pose different challenges, and impose different kinds of stresses upon your equipment. So what’s a smart business owner to do? Regular maintenance is good; new, updated equipment is even better; but the best option is to hire professionals. Specialized HVAC technicians are trained to spot gaps, flaws, and shortcomings in your HVAC system that aren’t immediately apparently from an untrained inspection. They can save you money on new gear, and certified techs will know better than anyone else how to make sure your cooling and heating systems can bear the brunt of a hot summer. Without this, in a worst-case scenario, you might have to repair or replace equipment right in the middle of the hottest part of the season. This kind of work is costly at best, and downright crippling at worst—having no AC for even one or two days when outside temperatures reach the 90s or 100s can send your productivity into a downward spiral. Let’s not even talk about how bad it would be if mission critical perishables went without refrigeration for a week or more! The losses could be staggering.

If you’re a business owner looking for an HVAC company to fulfill all of your summer preparation needs, Level One HVAC would be glad to help. We are a fully licensed, insured, and certified company specializing in commercial HVAC services all year round. We take our experience and training a notch further by ensuring that all necessary certifications are in place so you don’t have to worry about equipment and compliance issues. You can call us at 248-486-6500 or check out our on-line contact form on the website to know more about the different HVAC services we provide.

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