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Why Does My AC Take So Long To Cool?

Is your air conditioner taking too long to cool your home?

Is your AC struggling to cool your home even when the temperature is relatively mild? If so, your system could have a problem that needs to be addressed. The solution might be as simple as replacing a dirty air filter or as complicated as fixing a refrigerant leak.

To help you solve the problem, we’ll take a look at the four major causes for slow cooling times:

  • Need to Recharge Refrigerant
  • Need to Replace the Air Filter
  • Need to Clean the Outdoor Unit
  • Need to Seal Ductwork

We’ll also review proven professional solutions to tackle these causes so you can get back to enjoying your comfortable home.

Want a same-day AC inspection?

Contact Climate Design at (727) 295-1572 or schedule below. We provide same-day AC repairs for all brands and models all week long from 8am to 8pm. Our team provides 5-star service, to satisfy your AC system needs.

Schedule Service

Need to Recharge Refrigerant

Are your AC’s refrigerant lines frozen? You could have a refrigerant leak.

When your AC system doesn’t have enough refrigerant in it, it can’t function optimally. What is refrigerant? It’s a chemical agent within your AC’s indoor unit that absorbs the warmth from your home’s indoor air and then carries that warmth to the outdoor unit, which dumps the warm air outside.

Since refrigerant cycles through the two units in a closed loop, the refrigerant cannot be lost unless there is a leak in the system. A refrigerant leak prevents the system from being able to absorb enough indoor heat. Once the system cannot cool your home efficiently, it will compensate with longer run times in order to meet your set thermostat temperature.

Check for the following symptoms to see if you have a refrigerant leak:

  • Warm or hot air coming out of the AC vents
  • Hissing or bubbling sounds coming from the indoor or outdoor unit
  • Ice buildup on the units or the refrigerant lines
  • Extra humidity in your home


You should call a professional HVAC technician to repair the refrigerant leak and recharge the levels. Refrigerant is a toxic substance and should only be handled by a licensed professional.

Need to Replace the Air Filter

Replace your dirty air filter with a clean one.

We discussed above how the AC system absorbs warmth from indoor air to cool your home. When this warm air passes into the system, it first runs through a filter to remove any debris and dirt.

When the air filter gets clogged with a barrier of debris, the warm air is prevented from entering the system. And when a system doesn’t have enough warm air going in, it cannot cool sufficient amounts of airflow to meet your desired temperature so it must run longer to cool your home.


Check your AC filter to see if it’s dirty. If so, replace it with a clean one. Experts recommend replacing your filter at least every other month during Florida summers. Installing a smart thermostat to receive system alerts or enrolling in a maintenance plan can make regular air filter replacements easier to remember.

Need to Clean the Outdoor Unit

Is your home’s outdoor unit covered in leaves and dirt?

As we mentioned above, the AC refrigerant normally takes the heat absorbed from your home’s warm indoor air and then dumps it outside through the outdoor unit. However, a dirty outdoor unit can prevent your AC system from dumping heat outside.

When the outdoor unit is covered in debris or dirt, the refrigerant cannot dump out as much heat, slowing down the cooling process.


Try lightly cleaning your outdoor unit with a gentle spray of water. Another option is to schedule an AC tune-up, so a trained professional can replace the air filter and clean the outdoor unit for you. Enrolling in a maintenance plan is also a good idea for managing regular cleanings so that the system always functions at its best.

Need to Seal Ductwork

You might see excessive dust blowing out of your air vents if you have leaky ductwork.

Even with a perfectly functional AC system, it could take a long time for it to cool your house if you have leaky ductwork. Ductwork with disconnections or holes can leak 20-30% of cooled air.

If there are holes in the return ducts that help to push warm indoor air into your system, the AC can’t take in enough warm air to cool. Meanwhile, if there are holes in the supply ducts that push cooled air throughout your home, the AC will have to work harder to circulate the same amount of air.

Ultimately, leaks in your ducts will cause your AC system to work harder and longer to cool your home.


Have uneven temperatures inside your home or excessive dust blowing out of the supply air duct vents? If the answer is yes, these are two signs that your home has leaky ductwork. You should contact an air quality expert to inspect the ductwork and seal any leaks.

Installing blown-in attic insulation can also help your home leak less cooled air.

Want Your AC To Cool Your Home Faster?

Contact Climate Design! Since 1973, our knowledgeable and licensed HVAC technicians have helped Clearwater homeowners stay cool with optimal AC performance.

We’re the 5-star home services company you can call for an AC repair, tune-up, insulation installation, or duct sealing. Call us at (727) 295-1572 or schedule below for same-day service Monday through Sunday, 8am to 8pm.

Schedule Service

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