The summers in Maryland can be extremely hot and humid, which means it’s not uncommon for your air conditioner to run throughout most of the day. This leads many people to question just how long their AC can run without causing it any harm. The answer to this question is slightly complicated because it is completely fine for you to leave your AC switched on 24 hours a day all summer long.
However, this doesn’t mean that the air conditioning should run constantly. If it does, this indicates an issue with your cooling system and could potentially cause your condenser to burn out. To better understand this, it is important to look at cooling cycles and how long the AC should run at any one time.
How Long Should a Cooling Cycle Take?
Your air conditioning system runs in cycles, and each cycle typically lasts for at least 15 minutes. The system will then continue to run until the thermostat registers that the home has cooled enough and signals the AC to shut off. In milder weather, the system will usually perform two 15- to 20-minute cycles per hour.
However, in extremely hot or humid conditions, the condenser may need to run for up to a few hours at a time to cool the home down to the desired temperature. This is completely normal and usually nothing to worry about even if it will increase the wear and tear on your AC equipment and possibly shorten the lifespan of the system. That being said, the system should still never run constantly even on the hottest days of the year.
If you notice that your AC is running constantly, this indicates that the system isn’t functioning effectively. The same is also true if your condenser switches back on immediately after completing a cycle or if it runs for more than 30 minutes to an hour at a time on days when the weather isn’t as hot or humid. In these situations, it is vital that you have the system inspected and repaired or maintained. If not, your comfort will suffer, and you’ll end up spending far more to cool your home than you should. It could also lead to you having to replace your AC long before you had expected. With these factors in mind, here are some of the potential issues that may be causing your AC to run constantly.
Clogged Air Filter
If your AC is running constantly, the first thing you should do is make sure that your air filter isn’t overly dirty or clogged. A clogged air filter severely restricts the airflow coming into the system and can prevent it from properly cooling the home. As a result, the temperature will never drop below what you have the thermostat set to and so the AC will run continuously as a result.
Dirty Condenser or Evaporator Coil
Similar issues can also occur if the condenser coil in the outdoor condenser unit or the evaporator coil in the air handler is dirty. In this situation, it is common for the coils to freeze up. When this happens, the system will continue running but won’t be able to properly absorb heat from the air. If the system runs for too long in this situation, it will usually cause the condenser motor to burn out.
Improperly Sized Condenser Unit
If your AC is running constantly even in milder weather, it can also indicate the system is undersized and not powerful enough to properly cool the home. On the other hand, if your condenser constantly turns on and off before completing a full cycle, it can be a sign that your AC is too large for the home. In either case, the only way to overcome these issues is to replace the unit with one that is the proper size for your home.
Thermostat and Ductwork Issues
Your AC running constantly could also indicate problems with your thermostat or ductwork. For instance, it might be that the thermostat is either not getting accurate temperature readings or is malfunctioning and not signaling the system to turn off. It may also be that your ductwork is leaking and allowing much of the conditioned air to escape before it can properly cool the entire home.
Professional Cooling Repairs and Service in Frederick
If you’re concerned that your AC is running longer than it should, the expert technicians at Weather Masters Corp. are always on hand to diagnose and repair any cooling problems. We work on all brands and models of HVAC equipment, and our team is available 24/7 to handle any emergency repairs. Our technicians can also repair and maintain your home’s heating system. When it comes time to replace your furnace or AC, we can help you choose the best model and size for your home. If you have any questions or need to schedule AC or heating service, give us a call today.