How Cold Is the Air That Comes Out of the Air Conditioning Unit?

With summer temperatures going to higher extremes every year, you’ll have to start using your air conditioning unit more often. Air conditioning units can keep the indoor temperature moderate in hot weather or even turn your house into a freezer! So how cold is the air that comes out the air conditioning unit?

The air coming out of an air conditioning unit will be 15-22 degrees colder than the indoor air temperature. Most air conditioning units blast cool air until the room temperature is at 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.56 degrees Celsius), although you should always set the temperature slightly higher. 

This article will explore the cooling mechanism of air conditioning units and how much they can cool a room down. I’ll also discuss the optimal temperature range for setting an air conditioning unit and when you shouldn’t use the cooling function. 

The Air Temperature From an Average Air Conditioning Unit

Not all air conditioning units have the same cooling capacity, and the temperature of the air flowing out of the cooling vents will vary depending on the indoor temperature. The air that flows out of an HVAC unit is usually around 15-20 degrees lower than the air it takes. This may be as high as 30 degrees lower than external air temperature when an HVAC’s superfan is on. 

For example, if the room temperature is 90 degrees, the outlet air of the air conditioning unit will be around 70 degrees. This will gradually decrease as the room gets cooler, and most HVAC systems will maintain a maximum low temperature of 60 degrees. 

Some air conditioning units come with a superfan feature which allows for more rapid cooling. In these models, the air from the HVAC vents can be as much as 30 degrees lower than the inlet air temperature. This often depends on the design and size of the HVAC unit and the external temperature. 

If the external temperature is higher, you can expect more variation in the air from the HVAC’s inlet vs. its outlet vents. However, as the room cools down, the temperature variation will drop, and the HVAC will maintain a constant temperature. 

Another factor that affects the outlet temperature is the thermostat settings. When you set the thermostat to a lower temperature, the air coming out of the air conditioner will be noticeably cooler. Some air conditioners will operate at maximum cooling until the room reaches the desired temperature and then simply maintain the temperature.

Read: Can Black Mold Grow In Window Air Conditioners?  

How an Air Conditioning Unit Lowers Indoor Air Temperature?

Not all air conditioning units work the same way, but most are based on the same principles. Air conditioning units take in cold air from a room and move the air over coils with refrigerant. This refrigerant absorbs the heat and releases it through the outdoor compressor. The refrigerant is then recycled through the system to cool down more air. 

Despite the advanced cooling technology, there’s no specific temperature at which the air conditioning unit will release cold air. This depends on the air temperature flowing through the inlet vent and the refrigerant system’s capacity. Large air conditioning systems can cool hot air much faster, although they work on the same principles as smaller ones. 

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When choosing a new air conditioning system for your house, always look at the efficiency and performance rather than the maximum cooling capacity. Even larger air conditioners can only cool down a room to a maximum of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The only difference is that they offer much faster cooling than smaller units. 

If you’re unsure which type of air conditioning unit is best for your home, you can check this article to decide whether to choose a packaged or split unit HVAC. 

Read: Should You Give Your Air Conditioner A Break?

Why the Air Conditioner’s Outlet Temperature Matters?

Most people will ignore the air temperature from the air conditioner’s vents as long as the room cools down effectively. However, if the air conditioning unit blasts air that’s too cold or doesn’t have the desired cooling effect, then you’ll have to check the temperature of the vent air. 

If the air that comes out of the air conditioner is less than 15 degrees cooler than the air that goes in, then your air conditioning unit isn’t cooling effectively. This is usually a refrigerant problem but could also mean that the air duct or pipes are damaged. Poor outdoor airflow can also cause the air conditioning unit to release slightly warmer air than usual. 

A damaged pipe can cause the refrigerant to leak, and you’ll have to call an HVAC technician to repair the pipe and refill the refrigerant. This can be costly, so it’s important to monitor your HVAC’s performance and call a professional as soon as you realize that something’s off with the cooling. 

Read: Is It Cheaper To Run A Portable Air Conditioner Or Central Air?

Why Your Air Conditioning Unit Is Releasing Warmer Air?

If the air flowing out of your air conditioning unit isn’t cool enough, it’s a sign that something’s wrong with the unit. In most cases, it’s a refrigerant problem, but poor maintenance, wrong thermostat settings, and electrical problems can also cause inefficient cooling. 

Let’s look at each of these causes in detail: 

1. Low Refrigerant Levels

If the air coming out of the air conditioning unit isn’t at least 15 degrees cooler than the air going in, your unit may have a refrigerant problem. Sometimes the refrigerant may simply not be enough, but in most cases, it’s a sign of leakage. 

Replacing air conditioning refrigerant may be costly, but it’s important to repair leaks as soon as possible. It usually takes several weeks for the coolant to leak out completely, and if you repair the leakage soon enough, you’ll only have to add a little extra refrigerant. 

2. Maintenance Issues 

Not regularly maintaining your HVAC unit may result in a dirty filter or evaporator coils. In both cases, dust will restrict the airflow in the unit resulting in poor cooling. Air conditioning units that aren’t properly maintained will also be less efficient. 

Most experts recommend cleaning your air conditioning unit once every one or two months during the summer. However, you should clean the air filter more often if you live in a dusty area and service the air conditioning unit at least once a year. 

3. Electrical Problems

Sometimes, damage to the electrical wires that connect the outdoor and indoor units of an air conditioner may affect its cooling. If your air conditioning unit starts releasing warm air, check that the outdoor unit is working. 

Fortunately, electrical problems aren’t as expensive to fix as compared to other HVAC repairs, but this depends on the nature of the problem. 

Read: Why Window Air Conditioner All Lights Flashing And Beeping

The Optimal Temperature To Set an Air Conditioning Unit

The optimal temperature to set your thermostat is 78 degrees in the summer and around 68 degrees in the winter. While most air conditioning units can cool further than this, it’s not recommended from a health and energy-saving perspective. 

In fact, setting your thermostat to a comfortable but slightly higher temperature than you would usually set it can result in significantly lower cooling costs. While you may not feel much difference between 68 and 78 degrees, it may result in a 10% reduction in energy costs.

Read: Why Air Conditioner Is Not Heating? 

Final Thoughts 

While air conditioning units can keep your house at a comfortable temperature year-round, it’s important to check that the air coming out of your unit is cool enough. Call an HVAC technician to check the issue if the air conditioning unit isn’t cooling optimally.