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Why Does My Air Conditioner Run So Often?

Why Does My Air Conditioner Run So Often?

Central Air Conditioner

If you’re noticing that your air conditioner is running much longer than usual, it’s important to consider all the factors that determine the length of a cooling cycle. The air temperature outside, the size and condition of air ducts, the amount of insulation, and the condition of the weather stripping around windows and doors are just a few of the factors that will determine the length of the cooling cycle.

How Long Should a Central Air Conditioner Run?

Outside Temperature
The cooling cycle will last until the temperature set at the thermostat is reached. It shuts off at that point and starts again when the house begins to warm up again. If it is just a few degrees warmer outside, it may run for a few minutes. If it is very hot and humid, with a 30 degree difference between the thermostat setting and outside temperature, it may need to run much longer to reach the desired temperature.

Air Ducts and Circulation
Because a central air conditioner performs best when cooling the entire house, it’s important to keep all vents and doors open in every room when possible. Closing off rooms will not save energy, it will only make the AC work harder. Keeping your AC properly maintained, including changing the filter regularly, will also ensure that it’s performing at peak efficiency.

AC Sizing
Air conditioners perform best when they are properly sized for the space they are cooling. The size of an air conditioner is measured in BTUs. One BTU is equal to the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. If your air conditioner has more BTUs than necessary, it will cycle more frequently. If it has too few BTUs, it will run much longer per cycle.

Assuming your central air conditioner is properly sized for your home, it should be able to cool and remove moisture from the air in 7- to 10-minute cycles. If not there could be a problem.

Have questions about your central air conditioner? Call Hickey Plumbing, Air & Electrical. We’re here to help.