If you’re like many people, you might be wondering how long your air conditioner can run without getting damaged. The answer is simple. Your AC could theoretically run for 24 hours a day all summer long without issue. Of course, the longer it runs, the more wear and tear it will experience. This means an increased chance of it eventually breaking down and needing to be repaired. All that being said, just because your AC could run 24 hours a day doesn’t mean it should. In fact, if it is constantly running like this, it indicates that something isn’t working properly.
How Long Does an AC Usually Run in a Day?
It is important to note the difference between keeping your AC turned on 24 hours a day and your compressor running constantly. The compressor should generally never run constantly, even if you always have your AC turned on.
Typically, the compressor will run for a total of anywhere from 8 to 20 hours a day, depending on how hot the weather is. Most of the time, the AC will complete two or possibly three cycles per hour, with each cycle usually lasting for around 15 to 20 minutes.
In extremely hot or humid conditions, the unit might start the next cycle almost immediately, which means it will run nearly constantly during the hottest parts of the day. However, if you find that your condenser is constantly running even on days that aren’t quite as hot, this can be a sign that you’re experiencing one of the following issues.
Compressor Unit Is Undersized
The most common reason that an air conditioner will run constantly is that it is too small to properly cool the building. If the compressor is undersized, it simply won’t be able to keep up and thus will need to run almost constantly. In this situation, you can either choose to upgrade to a larger unit or use another system to supplement your cooling, such as a window AC or mini-split.
The compressor will only ever turn on when the temperature inside the building rises above what you have the thermostat set to. The system relies on your thermostat to accurately measure the temperature inside the home in order to signal the compressor when to turn on. If the thermostat is malfunctioning for any reason, it can signal the compressor to turn on more frequently than necessary. This is a fairly easy problem to spot since it will usually result in the house being much colder. A similar issue can occur if your thermostat is located in an area that tends to be warmer than the rest of the home or in an area where it is exposed to direct sunlight.
Frozen Evaporator Coil
There are several potential issues that can cause the evaporator coil inside the home to freeze up. When this happens, the system will no longer be able to properly cool the air. This results in rising indoor temperatures and can cause the compressor to run constantly without any effect. In this situation, it is essential that you turn off the air conditioning until the evaporator coil has fully thawed out. Otherwise, you can burn out the motor in the compressor. If this happens, the entire unit will need to be replaced.
Most commonly, the evaporator coil will freeze due to the air filter being too dirty or clogged. This restricts the amount of hot air being brought into the system. When this happens, the coil can quickly freeze since it is no longer absorbing heat from the air. The same issue can also result if the compressor itself gets too dirty. This issue is especially common in areas with poplar trees as the large amount of cotton they produce can quickly collect inside the compressor.
Expert Air Conditioning Services
If you’re experiencing any problems with your air conditioning system, Bash Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. is ready to help you overcome them. Our experienced technicians can service and repair all brands and models of air conditioners and can quickly diagnose and repair most any issue. If this issue can’t be repaired, we can also help you replace or upgrade your AC. We work on all types of heating and cooling equipment, including furnaces, heat pumps, central air conditioning, and mini-splits. Bash Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. has been proudly serving residents of Champaign since 1952. No matter what type of HVAC service you need, contact us today to see how we can help.