How Long Should It Take To Cool A House?

When you flip the switch on the air conditioning, it will start to cool your house, but it will take time to feel the effects. If you’re already sweaty, this isn’t ideal. How long will you have to wait for your house to be cool after you turn on the AC?

On average, a three to four-bedroom house 1500 – 2500 sq.ft will cool down within about three hours when using a central air conditioner. Of course, how long it takes to cool down a house depends on many different factors, like the size of the house, how hot it is outside, and the power of the air conditioner itself.  

There are two different air conditioners, central air and the individual unit, and each of them cools spaces at different rates. In this article, we will go through some factors of how long it should take for a central air conditioning system to cool a house and factors that will impact the cooling time. We’ll also explore some other great ways to cool down your house while you wait. For everything, you need to know about keeping your house cool, stick around and keep reading. 

How Long Does It Take to Cool A House the First Time the Air Conditioner is Started?

As previously stated, there are a lot of different variables that determine how long it should take for an air conditioner to cool down a house regardless if the air conditioner is new or used.

It typically takes about three hours to cool a house by 10 degrees Fahrenheit that contains three to four bedrooms. However, if your house only contains one or two bedrooms, then it would take roughly half an hour to one and a half hours for it to cool by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Factors Impact Cooling Time?

There could be a lot of different reasons your air conditioner is taking a long time to cool your house, so we will go through some of the basic issues, then explore ways to fix these issues.

Undersized Air Conditioner

If you are unsure whether your air conditioner is the proper size, there are a few easy ways to check.

  • If you notice your air conditioner never stops running, this can be due to having an air conditioner that does not have enough British Thermal Units (BTUs).
  • You may notice some temperature inconsistencies in your house if your air conditioner is too small, but if your air conditioner was the proper size, this should not happen.
  • An air conditioner that does not complete a full cooling cycle will cost you a lot of extra money, so if you notice your bill going up, but your house is still hot, then you know you have an undersized air conditioner.

If you suspect an undersized AC is making slowing up the cooling process, you can look into one of these solutions:

  • One surefire way to fix an undersized air conditioner is to replace it with the correct sized unit, but this can be pretty expensive.
  • Another option that may or may not work is to ensure your entire house is properly insulated throughout.

Dirty Air Filter

There are a few different ways to tell if your air conditioner has a dirty air filter, so here are three ways to tell.

  • High power bills can be caused by an air conditioner that does not shut off or run properly due to a dirty air filter.
  • You might experience increased allergies if you have a dirty air filter due to excessive airborne contaminants that are not being caught by the air filter.
  • Noticing there is lower airflow in your house than usual can be a sure sign of a dirty air filter.
Dirty hvac filters

Thankfully, dirty air filters are usually an easy fix. Here’s what you can do to take care of a dirty air filter and hopefully decrease your cooling time:

  • Some air conditioning systems contain filters that must be replaced instead of cleaned, so just swapping out the dirty air filter with a clean one every three months or so should keep your air conditioner running smoothly.
  • However, if you have an air conditioner with an air filter that can be cleaned and reused, then you can clean it one of two ways. First, you could vacuum the filter every time you vacuum, or you could wash the filter in your sink or bathtub with a mixture of water and vinegar every few months.

Refrigerant Leak

Unless there is a leak somewhere in your air conditioning system, your refrigerant should never become used up, so here are some ways to tell if your air conditioner leaks.

  • The air vents are blowing out warm air instead of cool air.
  • The evaporator coil may become covered with ice due to insufficient refrigerant circulation.
  • The indoor air conditioner might start to make a hissing or bubbling sound.

Even if you’re not an AC technician, there are a few ways you can fix a leak, here we have both short-term and long-term solutions:

Refrigerant refill: Depending on the severity of the refrigerant leak, a technician might consider it best to refill the system and address the leak at a later time, but this can cause some issues down the road.

Fix it yourself: You could try to fix a refrigerant leak yourself with sealant, but it may not do any good, and it could cause bigger problems with your air conditioner.

Hire a professional: You can either hire a professional to repair the leak in your air conditioner, or you can decide to purchase a whole new air conditioning system.

Dirty Condenser Coils

Condenser coils are found on the exterior of the air conditioning unit, which means they can become dirty often, so here are some ways to tell if the condenser coils are dirty:

  • Your air conditioner may not be blowing out enough cool air.
  • Your system might break down since it has to work harder.
  • Your electric bill will be higher than usual.

Once again, keeping it clean is the answer. Here are some ways to take care of dirty condenser coils:

  • Vacuum: You can use a shop vac or regular home vacuum to clean off some of the leaves and other debris accumulated on the condenser coils, but this will not remove all debris.
  • Water: After cleaning off the debris from the condenser coils, you can spray it down with a hose, but not too hard.
  • Cleaner: There are commercial coil cleaners available, or you can use a mild household detergent, then rinse off the cleaner with water depending on the manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Professional: If you are still unsure of how to clean your condenser coils or you do not have the time to do it yourself, then calling a professional can be a great option.

Not Cooling as Fast as You’d Like? Try One of These!

Sometimes your AC doesn’t do the trick as fast as you’d like. Or, maybe you’ve identified one of the issues above, but you just don’t have time to remedy the situation. Don’t worry. You don’t have to suffer in a hot home. Try one of these cooling techniques to help move things in a cooler direction. 

Buy Blackout Curtains

Using blackout curtains instead of regular curtains can keep your house cool because they reduce the amount of heat coming through your window by reflecting or blocking out sun rays.

When you use blackout curtains, your house should feel about 24 percent cooler than if you were using regular curtains.

Keep Doors Closed

If you have extra rooms in your house that are not being used, you should close them off, so you are not wasting money cooling down unused rooms.

When the nights are cooler, you can open up the doors and windows to cool down your house without spending a dime, just don’t forget to close the doors and windows early in the morning to keep the cool air in.

Use Ice and A Fan

Instead of turning on your air conditioner every time it gets warm out, you can put ice in a big bowl or use an ice pack and place it in front of a fan, so the air mixes with the cold of the ice or ice pack and produces some refreshingly chilly air.

Using this technique works well, but only for a certain length of time until you have to replace the ice or ice pack.

Switch The Ceiling Fans Direction

In the summer-time, your ceiling fans should be blowing air down or rotating counter-clockwise to create a wind-chill effect.

Many people don’t think the direction their fan is rotating matters, but it is super important because it can either make your house warmer or cooler.

Cook Outside

You can keep your house cool by cooking outside on the grill during hot days because if you cook in your house, your house can become unbearably hot.

Not only will cooking outside help keep your house cool but cooking on the grill typically takes less time, so after you are done cooking, you can enjoy your meal in your cool house.

Final Thoughts

With all of these things in mind, it is hard to determine exactly how long it should take to cool a house down with any of the methods stated in this article. However, at least you will not be hot this summer as long as you use just a few of the cheap methods discussed in this article.