As we approach the summer months, it’s important to troubleshoot the common causes of your A/C running all day before you get too hot under the collar. Being hot and sticky in summer can be bothersome, so when your A/C runs constantly it can become costly and annoying.
If your air conditioner is running constantly, there are a few quick steps you can take to troubleshoot the problem and find its source. In this post, I’ll show you what to look for (many of these issues can be taken care of) and how to prevent them from happening.
There are several reasons why your A/C system may be running constantly. Some of these reasons may indicate a problem with your system, while others may suggest other issues in your home that you can take steps to correct.
Common Factors Why Your A/C Runs Non-Stop
Improper Size and Installation
Central air conditioners work most efficiently when they’re allowed to run at full capacity. In the summer, this usually means that they will be running continuously to maintain a desired temperature in your home.
Unit Too Small: If your central air conditioner is too small, it will have to work harder than necessary to cool your home. This can cause the unit to wear down more quickly and reduce its lifespan. You may also never achieve the desired level of cooling in your home, even with the system running often. In addition, breakdowns could be likely.
Unit Too Large: If your system is too large, it won’t effectively remove moisture from the air in your home, resulting in an output of moist, clammy air. This will negatively affect both the comfort and efficiency of your home – causing shorter run times and higher utility bills.
Wrong Duct Size: Making sure your ductwork is the right size for your air conditioning unit is crucial for ensuring efficient airflow and cool air distribution throughout your home. If you have any problems with your AC, 75% of them can be resolved by using the correct installation method in combination with the right-sized unit. Even if your ducts are not the wrong size
Check Your Air Filter for Immediate Relief
Your air filter may be dirty and need changing if it’s been a while since you last did so. This can restrict the amount of cool air your AC produces, making it seem like it runs more throughout the day.
Would you believe that the most common reason a HVAC breaks down is due to a dirty filter? A dirty filter makes your system work harder, causing it to overheat. Cleaning the debris that builds up on your filters will aid in the flow of air. Clean or replace your filters once a month or as recommended by the manufacturer.
Without enough air flowing over the coils, the system can’t remove humidity and cool the air to the set temperature, so it keeps running when it shouldn’t. This brings us to another possibility…
Air Conditioner Coils Covered in Dirt?
Dirt, in the form of grass clippings, pet hair or mud can block air flow and reduce energy efficiency. Homeowners should have a service technician perform an annual system check-up to inspect condenser and evaporator coils.
Condenser coils need to be cleaned because they are exposed to the outdoor elements. You can maintain condenser coil efficiency by simply hosing down the unit. Turn off any electrical power first to your system.
The evaporator coils are harder to get at. The visual check is not as simple as the condenser coils. But they need maintenance as well.
Because the evaporator coil is continuously exposed to airflow circulated by the blower, it’s susceptible to build-up of dust or dirt. When airborne particles form a layer on coil surfaces, efficiency of the all-important heat transfer from the air to the refrigerant is diminished. This can result in poor cooling performance and higher operating costs as the system runs longer “on” cycles to meet thermostat settings.
Annual maintenance is the key to removing this unwanted dirt and dust.
Thermostat Not Working – Here’s What to Do
If your system is on all the time, there may be something wrong with your thermostat. It might not be registering that your home has reached the right temperature, so your A/C unit keeps running unnecessarily.
If you’re having trouble getting your home to the temperature you want, there may be a problem with your thermostat. One way to check is by placing another thermometer near the location of the thermostat and checking after an hour or two. If it’s at or near your desired temperature, then there might be something wrong with the thermostat.
There are a couple of steps you can take to fix this:
- If your home’s air conditioning isn’t working, try setting the thermostat around 5 degrees higher or lower than usual to fix the issue.
- If that doesn’t work, turn off the power for the AC system at its circuit breaker and continue troubleshooting using home guides.
Air Leaks or Poor Insulation – Time to Seal
If your home is not properly sealed while your AC system is in use, you may be losing cool air through small holes or non-insulated walls or roof. This can cause your unit to run constantly and inefficiently.
If you are losing cool air in your home, it may never reach the desired temperature, causing the A/C unit to run more than needed. Our related article “8 No Cost Ways to Improve Air Conditioning Efficiency” gives you some background on why sealing and insulating your home is so important for A/C efficiency.
One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating explains how basement air leaks can negatively impact your summer cooling bills. The theory is based on the law that “cold air is denser and heavier than warm air.”
When there are air leaks in your basement, you can negatively impact your summer cooling bills because the air is forced out.
Air Conditioning Unit Needs Maintenance
It’s important to maintain your air conditioning unit regularly, just like any other appliance in your home. Ideally, you should do maintenance twice a year – once in the spring before it gets warm outside and again in the early fall after things have cooled off. If your system is not clean (including ducts, coils, and filters), your system will have to work harder, which costs you more money.
Regular maintenance is crucial to remove all this unwanted dust and dirt.
Thermostat Not Working – Here’s What to Do
If your system is always on, there might be something wrong with your thermostat. It might not be registering that you’ve turned off the heating/cooling in your home.
A professional technician can check to make sure everything is clean and lubricated, as well as replace worn parts and confirm that the thermostat is working properly.
Your Unit is Old and Needs to be Replaced
When your air conditioner starts to wear out, it might be time for a replacement. Replacing an old unit with a new one can save you money in the long run due to its increased efficiency.
If you’re in the market for a new air conditioning system, make sure to check the SEER ratings. The higher the rating, the more efficient the system will be. Newer, high-efficiency systems use about half the electricity of older models. This can lead to significant savings on your energy bill.
If you’re noticing that your air conditioner is running more often than it needs to, there may be a problem. Addressing issues before they become bigger problems can save you money in the long run.
Contacting a professional if you have any concerns is always the best course of action. It’s possible that the issue is something simple, but even if it’s more significant, taking care of it now can prevent costly repairs down the road.