Why is My Air Conditioner Running Constantly?
An air conditioner should cycle 2-3 times an hour and run for about 10-15 minutes. If your air conditioner seems to kick on more frequently than that or the temperature in your home never seems cool enough, then you might need a tune-up. Here are some troubleshooting tips you can use if you think your air conditioner is running constantly.
1. Check to make sure the unit is sized correctly.
Problems will occur if your central air conditioner is either too small or too large. If the unit is too small, it will not output enough cool air to keep your home at temperature. Because the room does not cool as it should, the unit cycles on more frequently and you will see higher utility bills. The unit will also fail sooner than it might otherwise.
If the air conditioner system is too large, it won’t cycle on often enough. This results in high humidity and makes your home feel clammy. Plus, believe it or not, too short of a cycle also results in excessive utility bills due to an inefficient use of electricity.
We estimate that 75% of air conditioning problems can be fixed just by installing the right-sized air conditioning system.
2. Change the air filter.
A dirty filter restricts the air flow to your unit. Less air into the system equals less air out. This creates the same problem you find with an undersized system. In order to keep the house cool with less air, the air conditioner has to cycle on more frequently.
Plus, one of the most common reasons an air conditioning system breaks down is a result of a dirty air filter. Straining the system can cause your unit to overheat. It’s important that you keep your HVAC system from debris. We suggest replacing your filters once a month, especially if you have indoor pets.
3. Clean the air conditioner coils.
Air blockage doesn’t just occur at the filter. Dirt around the air conditioner coils can also cause reduced air flow. During a maintenance visit, your HVAC technician will clean your air conditioner coils as part of their service. We recommend that you have an HVAC tuneup each Spring and Fall to make sure everything is cleaned and working as it should.
4. Check your thermostat.
Another reason it may seem that your air conditioner is constantly running (or not running at all) is if your thermostat is malfunctioning. If the thermostat is not measuring the correct temperature, then it will not signal the unit to stop the cycle.
You can check the thermostat by placing a thermometer nearby. After an hour, check to see if the two show the same temperature reading. If they differ, then you may want to replace your thermostat.
Keep in mind that battery operated thermostats need fresh batteries to operate correctly. You might want to change your thermostat batteries at the same time you change your smoke detector batteries each year
5. Do you need to seal your ductwork?
Leaky ductwork or insufficient insulation can also cause your air conditioner to run more often than it should. Consider having a professional service inspect and repair any leaks in your system. Your HVAC efficiency will improve and so will your overall air quality.
6. When was the last time you had your air conditioner checked?
HVAC systems need seasonal maintenance to keep them running smoothly. Keeping the unit clean and the proper amount of coolant in your system will increase its efficiency and prolong the life of your unit.
7. Is it time to replace your air conditioner?
If you have changed the filter and checked your thermostat, yet there is still a problem with the air temperature, you need to call your HVAC professional. They can give the unit a thorough cleaning and inspection and troubleshoot worn components. If the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the unit based on age and performance, then you may need to replace the whole unit.
A new energy-efficient air conditioner can lower your utility bills and pay for itself over time.