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5 Reasons Your AC Is Continually Running

Summer is here, school is out, and vacation plans are in full swing – and your air conditioner probably is too. Unfortunately with summertime comes triple digit temperatures, and your air conditioner unit is pressed into service to keep your home cool and comfortable. If your unit seems to be constantly running, however, you could end up paying higher utility bills. Here are 5 reasons your AC could be constantly running.

It's Too Old and Needs to be Replaced


All air conditioners eventually wear out after so many years of use, and yours is no different. Even with proper maintenance, a well-built system that lasts over 25 years will eventually need to be replaced. You might think you're saving money by sticking with the ancient unit in your basement to avoid replacing it. So what if it runs constantly?

However, with great age comes great inefficiency and older models are simply not very efficient.  Air conditioners are becoming more and more energy efficient, and investing in a new, energy-efficient model will save you 20% to 40% on your cooling costs each year.


It's Too Small for Your Home


Whether the wrong size unit was installed in your home or you later added square footage to your home, your air conditioner unit will run constantly if it is too small for your home size.  By working overtime that smaller unit might be able to cool your home properly, but it comes at a cost. Over time your unit is subjected to extra wear and tear which shortens its life or causes frequent breakdowns.

On average, one ton of air conditioner is needed for every 1,000 square feet of home. If yours does not meet this formula, it may be too small. In this case, upgrading to the correct air conditioner tonnage will prevent your unit from running all day and night.


Air Filters Need to be Replaced


Air filters that are full of dust and dirt restrict the air flow, forcing your unit to work harder to compensate. If your filters need to be changed, your air conditioner will run continually, putting it at risk for overheating. With less air flowing over the evaporator coils, your unit is also not functioning properly as the system isn't removing humidity from the air or cooling it down.

Check your air filter for dust and dirt buildup. If it's full, vacuum off the dust or replace it with a new filter. This needs to be done monthly or more often during the summer to keep the maximum amount of air flowing.


Your Thermostat is not Functioning


The reason for a continually running air conditioner may rest at the thermostat. First, verify it is set at cool and the fan is set at auto instead of manual. A manual setting continually runs the fan but does not necessarily mean the home is being cooled.

If your home has reached the desired temperature but the thermostat does not register this condition in your home, the unit will continue to run. Hold a small thermometer next to the thermostat and check the reading in an hour. If the thermometer registers right at or near your chosen temperature, the thermostat is not functioning properly and needs to be replaced.


It Needs to be Serviced


An air conditioner needs regular maintenance to keep it running properly. If it's been a while since you had it checked, it may be time to get it serviced. Problems with the evaporator, compressor or other major components could make your unit run constantly. An AC system that is cleaned, lubed and inspected twice a year will run more efficiently and last longer.

If your AC is running constantly during those hot summer months, there may be a reason behind it. For more information about how to keep your AC running smoothly, visit Heald Mechanical.