A properly sized air conditioner unit is crucial to keep your home feeling comfortable during the long and hot summer days. Most of us take our air conditioners for granted, giving it the bare minimum of attention, but even if you are diligent about scheduling regular tune ups and maintenance, your equipment may still have performance issues this summer. One of the most common air conditioning problems is when your AC unit runs continuously. So, here we’ll explore some guidance to help you fix this issue.
Why is a Constant Running Air Conditioner a Problem?
While it may not seem to be a big issue, when your air conditioner is running constantly, it can actually have some serious consequences. Not only will an over running air conditioner create cooling issues inside your home, but it can also increase your energy bills and place your system under undue stress. This can lead to premature wear on the components that could eventually lead to cascade failure, compromising the lifespan of your equipment.
Although a well functioning and efficient system is likely to run frequently during the hottest months of the year, you’ll be able to tell if your system is over-running if you notice that there is uneven cooling inside your home, the air conditioner is running for an extended period with little effect on your home’s temperature or there is an unexpected increase in your energy bill. These symptoms are all signs that your system is not running at optimal performance, which requires the attention of an HVAC specialist to diagnose the problem.
The Causes of a Constantly Running Air Conditioner Unit
There are a few issues that can cause your air conditioner to constantly run, but these problems tend to fall into five broad categories. These includes:
- Improperly Sized Equipment: If you want to maximize efficiency, it is vital that your central air conditioner unit is fitted according to the specific size and characteristics of your home. If your air conditioner unit is too large or too small, it will cause issues with inefficiency, uneven cooling or increased energy bills.
If your air conditioner is too small, it will be forced to work harder for longer to keep your home cool. This will not only increase the wear and tear on your equipment, shortening its lifespan, but also cause your costs to rise, due to the added runtime that is necessary to cool your home.
If your equipment is too large, it will run for a shorter period of time, but this is also a problem. This is because the system will not run for sufficient amounts of time to remove moisture from your indoor air. As a result, the air inside your home will feel damp and clammy. Additionally, since the equipment is running for shorter periods, it will turn on and off frequently, prompting more considerable wear and tear.
In either scenario, you will need professional assistance to assess your equipment to determine if it is properly sized and what is needed to correct the problem.
- A Lack of Maintenance: One of the most common causes of air conditioner inefficiency is irregular maintenance. It is recommended that you have your HVAC system maintained twice each year; once before winter and once in spring before the hot weather arrives. Regular maintenance will ensure that the coils, air filters, and ducts are clean to maximize cooling power and airflow.
A few common issues include a dirty condenser, clogged air filters, dirty evaporator coils, or low refrigerant charge. An experienced HVAC technician will check your system to diagnose any underlying issues that could be compromising performance.
- Thermostat Issues: The thermostat acts as the brain for your HVAC system, telling the air conditioner unit or furnace the current temperature inside your home to trigger heating or cooling. If your thermostat develops a fault, it will not be able to register the current temperature properly, causing your air conditioner to run for longer. This typically causes increased energy bills and uneven cooling inside your home.
You can easily test your thermostat by using a thermostat near the unit. After approximately an hour, the readouts should be very close. If not, there is likely to be an issue with your thermostat, which needs professional attention.
- Leaky Ductwork: Well sealed and insulated ductwork provides a massive contribution to the efficiency of your air conditioning system. If your home is drafty or has improperly sealed, old ductwork, the cool air will “leak” out. This forces your air conditioner to work harder to compensate for this. Improving the insulation of your windows, attic spaces and ductwork can improve the overall efficiency of your HVAC system.
- An Old Air Conditioning Unit: As air conditioners get older, they will become less efficient, and they will be forced to work longer and harder to maintain your desired comfort level. This results in longer run times creating more considerable wear and ballooning energy costs. Upgrading to a new air conditioning unit with greater energy efficiency will not only reduce run times and electricity costs, but can also help to provide more even cooling.
Correcting the Problem
If you suspect your air conditioner is over running, it is a good idea to call in a professional HVAC technician. An experienced heating and cooling expert will be able to check your system for any underlying issues that could be causing an over running problem and provide an effective solution. In many cases, this may be a simple repair, such as clearing a clogged filter or cleaning evaporator coils, but even for more serious issues, an experienced technician can guide you through the options that are best suited to your specific requirements.
If you are having difficulties with your air conditioning system, you can rely on a professional HVAC technician for effective and rapid solutions to restore functionality and comfort in your home. So, don’t wait for your energy bills to skyrocket and call in an HVAC technician for a system inspection.