Much of the United States has been seeing very hot temperatures, with some areas having either high temperatures or heat indexes that were frightening. You bet everyone was trying to use their air conditioner, and if you were using yours only to find that it didn't seem to work that well, you may have wondered if the heat was the reason, somehow causing your air conditioner to malfunction. The heat is partially to blame, but it didn't kill your AC. You just had to deal with some normal issues that got amped up by the extraordinary conditions.
When you use air conditioning in very bad conditions -- temperatures like the 124 degrees Fahrenheit seen in Ocotillo Wells, in San Diego County, on June 20, 2017 -- you're not going to get the same response that you would if you were using the air conditioner in 90-degree temperatures. For one, the increased heat outside transfers more heat into your home, so your air conditioner is fighting against a lot more heat to begin with.
For another, air conditioners aren't meant to refrigerate your home at a consistently low temperature despite it being called refrigeration in some areas of the country. Air conditioning, once you are dealing with temperatures in those higher ranges, works to cool you down to a consistent ambient temperature that can actually change depending on how much the system has to deal with. In other words, if it's 90 out and you want your home to be 78 inside, your air conditioner will do that. If it's 124 out and you want your home to be 78 inside, that's likely not possible just because the system will be fending off a lot of heat. If you can get your home consistently into the 80s in those conditions, consider it a triumph.
Warm Air in, Cold Air Out
Unless you've just done some work on your home that involved making it better insulated, your house likely has drafts that allow cold air out and hot air in. This can happen at any point in your home and on any floor. You need to insulate your home so this air exchange doesn't happen. You can't make your house airtight (you still have to breathe), but you can insulate electrical outlets with foam gaskets, use draft stoppers to prevent cold air from rushing out from under the front door (in winter, use those same stoppers to keep cold air from coming in), and having your home's insulation replaced.
A Little Help
Also, as your AC struggles with extreme temperatures, give it some help. Turn on ceiling fans or circulating fans; use the whole house fan to occasionally whisk hot air in the upper story of the house outside. Rotate blinds so that they block sunlight rather than letting it seep into the room. Add window film, too, to reflect a lot of heat and UV rays.
Talk to an air conditioning company about additional ways to deal with excessive heat. Luckily, the temperatures seen in June don't repeat that often, but it's better to be prepared for the next time they do come around. Talk with a company like Air Time Heating & Cooling for more help.