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Okay, so I'll preface this by saying that I live in an apartment so I'm not doing the work myself, but I want to ask around to see if anyone has any idea what may be wrong with our A/C, because the symptoms are interesting and so far the maintenance guys haven't had any luck.

Our place has a central air system that uses the same vents and everything as the heater.

Here's the story:
Most of the spring I'd noticed that on the hotter days, if we forgot to turn the A/C on until it got a bit too warm, that turning on the A/C would keep the temperature where it was, but it wasn't really strong enough to cool it down any. And it would also cycle on and off even though the inside temp was still well above the setting.

On Monday it got pretty warm around here (mid/upper-80s) and we were out for a BBQ. We left the A/C on at probably about 74/75 because we have fish so we like to keep the temperature somewhat reasonable and not swinging too far. When we came back, our little internal thermometers said it was 80/81 in the apartment. All our efforts to kick in the air conditioning didn't work - turning it lower, turning it off and back on, even leaving it off for 10-15 minutes, etc.

In playing around with it, I discovered that the air coming out was cold, it was just coming out at at something more like a trickle.

I didn't cool off much that night, making it a pretty uncomfortable night. All open windows didn't cool off the place much below 79. I left AC on too, but it didn't do anything.

In response to our call, the maintenance guys came Tuesday morning and left a list of things they had done, including moving a chair away from the intake vent (it was at least 8-10 inches away already, so I'm skeptical if that matters), replacing the air filter, and some writig that I'm pretty sure said 'low charge' (I've been told that means low freon). Still though, by the time I got home after work it was 82 in the living room and 83 in the bedroom, despite the AC being on and set to the upper 60s.

Since it finally cooled off last night, we were able to turn it off for a while and put a window fan in the window. After the A/C had been off for a couple hours, I gave it another shot and while I wouldn't categorize it as good, it was definitely somewhat stronger.

Turning it off overnight, for probably 12 hours total, I gave it another shot this morning and it was yet stronger. Not terrific, but probably good this time.

Still, this is not acceptable as I don't want to find out 2 days into a heat wave that our A/C needs to rest every couple days. Or go away for a long weekend and come back to a 90 degree apartment and an 88 degree fish tank.

What about an A/C system could need to 'charge' or 'rest' overnight like that? Why would being off for a few to a dozen hours make it betteR? What's breaking or underperforming for that to be the case? What needs to be replaced?

Thanks so much,

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