Some people worry their air conditioner runs too much.
Others are worried it’s not enough.
With so many different air conditioners on the market, and so many different homes, how do you know what’s ‘normal’ for an air conditioner cycle?
An Air Conditioner Should Run for 15-20 Minutes at a Time
In a perfect situation, an air conditioner should run for 15-20 minutes at a time in mild temperatures. Any less than that and your AC could be too large for your home – more on that below.
Obviously, if you hear your air conditioner run constantly, it is taking a toll on your electricity bill. With annual maintenance and a properly sized air conditioner, it’s easy to stay ahead of preventable issues with your AC.
But we live in the GTA – mild temperatures aren’t very common in the summer.
Why Is My Air Conditioner Running All the Time?
There are a lot of factors that impact how long your air conditioner runs, including:
1. The Temperature Outside
The hotter it is, the longer your air conditioner has to run to reach your desired temperature. This is especially true when the humidity is high.
You shouldn’t be alarmed if your air conditioner runs more on extra hot days. As long as you feel comfortable with the temperature inside and cool air is coming out of your vents, you can rest easy.
2. The Setting on Your Thermostat
The lower you set your thermostat in summer, the longer your air conditioner will have to run to reach it.
While you may like it as cool as possible, adjusting your thermostat by even a couple of degrees will decrease your air conditioner’s run time and save you a little on your electricity while still keeping your home cool.
You can keep your cooling costs down by using more of these tips >
3. The Size of Your Air Conditioner
The biggest factor in air conditioner run times is the size of your air conditioning.
An air conditioner that is too big will decrease your run time to less than ten minutes. This is called short-cycling, and it means your air conditioner cools your home too quickly.
Short cycling also impacts the percentage of humidity in your home. A big air conditioner would cool the air but it wouldn’t dehumidify your home. That means you still feel hot and sticky even with cold air coming out of your ac.
An air conditioner that is too small will do the opposite. It doesn’t have the ability to cool your house adequately, so it keeps constantly turning. Anything over 20 minutes with little to no change in temperature means that your air conditioner might be too small. It not being the right size means your ac unit will have a shorter lifespan due and require an HVAC technician more frequently.
4. The State of Your AC
Air conditioners age just like everything else.
When you take good care of your AC, it will continue operating efficiently – it’ll even have a longer lifespan. How long your AC will last depends on how well you maintain it.
However, a neglected air conditioner does the opposite. It won’t cool your home as well, so it has to run longer to reach your desired temperature. As we said, an air conditioner should run for about fifteen minutes- if your ac runs all day long, especially on hot days, it’s time for some maintenance!
This is bad for your air conditioner and bad for your electricity bills. That’s why we recommend an annual tune-up to keep your AC in tip-top shape.
5. The Size of Your Home
A larger home will take a little longer to cool, especially if the air conditioner unit is on the small size.
One way you can decrease run time for your air conditioner is to strategically cool only the rooms you’re using. For example, you don’t need to spend time cooling a guest room. Instead, close off the dampers and doors, and redirect that air into your family room.
If your AC is running less than ten minutes, it is short cycling and is not the right size. You need an HVAC professional to recommend the proper size to give you an efficient ac system.
6. The Quality of Your Insulation
Your home needs insulation all year round. It’s what helps keep the air in your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
A lack of insulation means that much of the air you spend your hard-earned money on cooling is actually leaking into the outside world. This means it takes much longer to cool your home, and your air conditioner will run longer to compensate for the loss.
7. Blocked Air Flow
It is possible your air conditioning unit has a clogged air filter. Most air conditioners are forgotten for filter cleaning- it’s hard enough to remember to change the furnace filter!
It’s important for cooling efficiency to make sure the filter is kept clean, so air can circulate and cycle through the system.
8. Dirty Evaporator Coils
If your ac filter was clogged and dirty, your evaporator coils may be as well. Skipping tune-ups will miss issues like this and cause issues that will make your air conditioning system less efficient. With the dirt and debris that blows around outside, it is a common issue. When your coils are covered in dust and dirt, the air blowing over them won’t cool enough in its normal cycle.
9. Air Conditioner Is Leaking
If you have a refrigerant leak, it could be the answer to all your problems. Your AC unit should never run out of refrigerant. When it does, there is an icy buildup in your AC, and instead of needing to cycle about fifteen minutes or so, it will take much longer to cool your home, leaving you in the heat until it does. If you can see ice formation or a puddle under your AC, or it is hissing or bubbling at you- you most likely have a refrigerant leak and should have it fixed by a professional immediately. Husky offers emergency air conditioner repair services you can count on.
Have Husky Size Your New Air Conditioner
Long story short? Don’t panic about your air conditioner’s run time. It’ll fluctuate – and you can always ask us to inspect it if you’re really worried something’s wrong.
That being said, you want your air conditioner to be the perfect fit for your home when it’s time to upgrade. Buying the wrong sized air conditioner will waste your money, lead to more repairs, and impact your comfort in your own home.