It’s the middle of summer, and your air conditioning unit is constantly running. Should you worry? Though it’s normal for your AC to continuously run when the temperature hits 95 to 100 degrees, your system is likely working overtime to keep pace with the heat intake.
To do this, your AC will operate longer to sustain a constant, comfortable temperature throughout your house. Yet if your AC continuously runs, there may be a problem that needs fixing. Try these tips to avoid pricey power bills and excess wear on your unit.
What Are Some Reasons for My Constantly Running AC Unit?
An air conditioner that continues running even after the temperature drops or is turned off will increase your power bill and lead to excess wear on your unit. Here are some of the more common reasons your AC could be malfunctioning:
Dirty Evaporator or Condenser Coil
Your evaporator coil is continually exposed to moving air circulated by your AC unit’s blower. As a result, hair, dirt, and debris from the air can build up on the coil surfaces, impairing efficiency and making it difficult for your refrigerant to absorb from the air.
This causes your system to run longer to meet thermostat settings, resulting in higher operating costs and poor cooling performance.
The same is true for grime buildup on your outdoor AC unit’s condenser coils. When your condenser is dirty, it prevents absorbed heat from being released from the refrigerant. Essentially, both conditions can cause your system to constantly run as it strains to remove the hot air from your home.
If you feel warm air or air that’s beneath your desired temperature coming from your vents, this could be the reason. To fix this issue yourself, use quality cleaning products and tools to clean the evaporator or condenser.
Lower Blower Speed or Restricted Airflow
Your AC system needs unrestricted airflow to cool down your home. Your system will run longer and struggle more if the airflow is blocked.
If the air coming from your vents is cool but weak, this could indicate the problem. Open the air vents in all of your rooms, clear away window drapes or furniture from your vents, and check for:
- Fan and blower motor issues: If your fan is running at a slower speed or your blower motor can’t push enough air through your system, your system loses efficiency and keeps running. To solve the problem, adjust the fan speed or clean the dirt from your fan blades.
- A clogged filter: If your HVAC’s filter is loaded with dust and debris, it can interrupt airflow. Your system will have a hard time removing humidity and cooling your home if the air cannot flow over the coils. This may cause it to constantly run when it shouldn’t.
- Air filters that are too restrictive: You should change your air filter every one to three months or anytime they’re dirty. However, even if your filter is brand new, you may have installed one that restricts the airflow in your system (i.e., one intended to remove allergens and pollen). To increase your airflow, try installing a filter with a lower minimum efficiency reporting (MERV) rating.
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Improperly Sized Air Conditioner
If your AC is incorrectly sized for your house or apartment, contact a certified air conditioning technician to perform a heat load calculation on your living space. This report will account for the size, design, and needs and include insulation, sun exposure, windows, and more.
- Your AC unit is too small: If your HVAC is too small, then it’ll likely struggle to cool your house. This strain may cause your system to wear out sooner than it should, and you won’t reach the coolness level you prefer no matter how long it runs.
- Your AC unit is too large: If you have an oversized AC unit, it probably won’t pull moisture from the air from your home, giving you an output of clammy, moist air. Additionally, an oversized unit will use excess electricity amounts, costing you more money when your bill arrives.
- Your ductwork is the wrong size relative to your AC unit. If your air ducts are incorrectly sized, they may not be able to distribute cool air to every part of your home or handle the airflow. Your ducting system should be sized relative to your air conditioner.
Low on Refrigerant
If you hear hissing or bubbling sounds, encounter ice buildup on the refrigerant line or outside the unit, or the AC air coming out of the vents is warm, there may be an issue.
If your AC unit struggles to reach the set temperature, the refrigerant in the system could be low, which can cause it to constantly run. You may have a leak in the coils. Have a professional AC technician check your refrigerant level and repair the leak.
Your thermostat could be to blame if your AC doesn’t shut off when a temperature is reached. To check this:
- Place a thermometer near your thermostat’s location. Wait an hour or two and take a reading. If the temperature is below your set point, you should check your thermostat.
- You should also ensure your thermostat is correctly set to “cool” or “heat.” Find the main circuit breaker for your AC and make sure it’s set to “on.”
If these steps did not fix the issue, call a licensed technician to check your HVAC system, including your thermostat.
If your ductwork is older, you could be losing some of your chilled air through leaks. If the insulation is missing or the joints are not sealed, cool air can escape, and your system could continue running to try and reach the set point.
Call an AC specialist to inspect your ductwork, locate the leak, apply a special sealant, and retest the ducts.
Your AC Unit Is Old and Needs to Be Replaced
Every HVAC unit wears out eventually, no matter the brand or how well you maintain it. So if your AC is more than 20 years old and constantly runs or doesn’t cool the way it once did, you should consider replacing it with a new energy-efficient model.
Replacing your old unit will save you money on energy bills in the long run. Plus, the relief of having a unit that cools your house to the temperature you want could mean it’s better to replace your AC unit. Newer, higher efficiency systems need about half the electricity of an older unit.
Call Ambient Edge to Repair or Replace Your Constantly Running AC
Regular equipment maintenance can take care of many of the issues that lead to a constantly running AC unit. To have your system thoroughly inspected by one of our technicians, call Ambient Edge. Once on site, our team members will:
- Check your filters and ensure there’s no buildup of dirt and debris
- Look for breakage or wear and tear in your AC’s fan motor and other components
- Inspect electrical systems to ensure power distribution is occurring at adequate levels
At Ambient Edge, satisfying our customers and providing quality service is our highest priority. Fill out our contact form to schedule a service appointment with one of our licensed and insured technicians today!