Can the Summer Heat Lead to Damage to My AC?

Summers in Phoenix are among some of the hottest in the country. You can expect your air conditioning system to put in plenty of work over the season to maintain a comfortable indoors. The stress of all that work will take a toll on an air conditioner—one of the reasons you should sign up for regular maintenance through one of our savings plans, since it reduces the wear and tear. But people are often curious to know if the heat itself can cause damage to the AC. We’ll take a look at this below.

Outdoor Heat and Your AC

Simply put, an air conditioner is a device that exchanges heat, moving heat from inside your home to the outside. When it is extremely hot outdoors, the air conditioner’s job becomes more difficult: more heat enters your home, and it is harder for the air conditioner to exhaust heat to the outside. The bigger the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the harder the air conditioner must work. This is one of the reasons that you should try to keep your thermostat set as high as comfortably possible indoors (around 78°F is good) since it reduces the temperature difference between inside and outside.

If your air conditioner system was designed to operate to ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America) standards in the Phoenix, AZ area, it should be able to maintain 75 degrees Fahrenheit indoors when the outdoor temperatures reach up to 108 degrees. However, keep in mind that as components in your home age, so can the performance of these components, thereby reducing the air conditioners capability to maintain these temperatures. Example: If your home’s attic insulation had a rating of R38 when it was built, over time gravity does it’s job, the cable guy moves insulation out of his way, etc., the R-Value (R = Resistance to heat) decreases and now that 75 may become 78.


As Magic Touch Mechanical performs more home energy audits in Phoenix than most, we often discover the air conditioner is taking the blame for comfort problems when it is running per manufacturers specifications. Usually the solution is fixing other deficiencies in the home so the AC doesn’t have to work as hard. Things like sealing duct leaks, sealing air leaks from the attic to the conditioned space, adding solar shade screens, etc. will reduce the overall heat load on the home thereby allowing the HVAC System to do it’s job and not having to work as hard or as long to keep the home comfortable.

The Interior Components of an AC

What about the actual parts inside the air conditioner? Will they suffer from the baking heat?

For the most part, no, with a few exceptions listed below. Manufacturers design AC’s with high levels of heat in mind. As long as you keep the unit maintained, they should make it through the summer heat. It is important to note however that these components are not really designed to withstand some of the record-braking temperatures we have seen so far this year. When the air temperature reaches 115 degrees plus, it’s not unusual for many components sitting in the sun, with high voltage applied to them to have a surface temperature two to three times the ambient air temperature. And yes, unfortunately this extreme can cause components to fail.

There are some exceptions: capacitors can start to lose their ability to hold an electrical charge during hot weather, leading to them burning out. Replacing capacitors is a job we often handle during the summer. If the coils are dirty, the outdoor heat can lead to a rise in operating pressures. If this goes on long enough, the oil will overheat and may even cause the compressor to fail. Fan motors work non-stop when the air conditioner is running and another common component failure. If you suspect anything is going wrong with your AC, don’t hesitate to call our team for immediate AC repair – don’t suffer through the heat!

Whenever you’re looking for fast air conditioning repair in Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale or Phoenix, AZ call on Magic Touch Mechanical!