Have you ever felt that your home is too hot and you cannot even realize that your AC unity has been running all day long—without stopping? Although you might consider this as a normal thing that happens in many homes, it’s not.
Your air conditioning unit should only run for a few minutes and then kick back again when the temperatures in your home go past what you’ve set in the thermostat. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
So, when should I allow my AC unit to run for longer?
It’s important to understand that your AC unit will run longer when the temperatures outside are extremely high. Mostly, this will happen whenever your AC unit cannot keep up with cooling your home because of the hot temperatures outside.
However, homeowners are advised to do their best to prevent their AC units from running for long. You should note running your AC unit will not only increase your utility bills, but it can also cause your unit to breakdown.
Here are a few things that you should consider doing if you don’t want your AC unit to run for long.
- Close your window drapes or blinds – closing your drapes or blinds whenever your AC unit is running can shorten its run time since they will prevent sunlight from getting into your house, which can bring additional heat.
- Keep your windows and doors closed – always makes sure that your windows or doors are not cracked, as they will prevent cold air from escaping.
- Schedule regular maintenance for your AC unit – your AC unit should be inspected at least twice a year to check for any fault.
- Don’t keep your furniture close to the vents – check to ensure that your tables and chairs are not blocking the vents, as they can prevent cool air from circulating to the entire room. This might appear insignificant, but it something that can help in regulating the temperatures in your home.
When your AC unit is in a perfect condition, it should always run for around 15 to 20 minutes each time—when the temperatures are mild. In case the time is less than that, then the AC might be larger for your home, and if it takes more than that, then it’s smaller. If you own an AC system, it’s important to note that several factors will determine the run time of your AC unit.
These factors include:
The External Temperature
If the outside temperature is too high, then your air conditioning unit might take longer to reach the set temperature—and this is a common occurrence in humid conditions. However, you shouldn’t be worried in case your AC unit runs for long when it’s too hot. As long as you are comfortable and the unit is cooling your home, there is no cause for alarm.
The higher the thermostat settings in summer, the shorter your AC unit will need to run to reach the desired temperature and vice versa. While many people like their homes to be as cool as possible, making small adjustments to your AC unit, even by several degrees and reduce the run time for your AC, it can save you a significant amount of utility bills.
The Size of Your AC Unit
The size of your air conditioner is the biggest determinant of the unit’s run time. If your AC unit is too big, it can reduce the run time by 10 minutes or less. This is known as short-cycling, which means that your AC unit will cool your home in a short period of time.
Also, you need to understand that short cycling can affect the humidity percentage in your home. If your AC unit is big, it can cool the air, but it will not dehumidify the house—meaning, it will still feel sticky and hot. However, a smaller air conditioning unit will do the opposite. Since it cannot cool your home adequately, it will keep running for extended periods of time. If your AC unit runs for more than 20 minutes, with no or little change in temperature, it’s an indication that the AC unit is too small.
The Condition of Your Air Conditioning Unit
It’s important to understand that your air conditioner has a set lifespan, just like other appliances in your home. If you take good care of your air conditioning unit, it will operate efficiently—and for longer. However, your air conditioner will not last long if you neglect to service and maintain it. Besides, it will not cool your home efficiently—which means it will run for longer periods to reach the set temperature at the thermostat.
This is too bad for your AC unit as well as utility bills. Therefore, it’s advisable to make sure that you schedule annual maintenance and servicing if you want your AC unit to remain in good condition.
The Size of Your House
It usually takes a bit longer to cool larger homes, particularly when you have a smaller AC unit. However, you can still reduce the run time for your AC unit, even when you have a large home—and this can happen by cooling the rooms you are using. For instance, there is no need for cooling guest rooms when they are not in use. Rather, you can consider redirecting the cooled air to the family room.
Your house needs good insulation throughout the entire year, as this is what will keep the house cool during summer seasons and warm in the winter. If your home doesn’t have good insulation, it means that your AC unit will have a longer run time since conditioned air will be leaking out of the house.
When the air conditioning unit takes longer to cool your home, your bills will also increase, and it also reduces the lifespan of your AC unit.
Common problems encountered by HVAC technicians during regular inspections
Most technicians say that they encounter blockages in most of the AC units they service. Blockages are mostly caused by clogged or dirty filters, blocked vents, ductwork leaks, closed vents, or when the motor is faulty.
For your AC unit to run efficiently, the refrigerant needs to flow evenly in the evaporator coils. If the coils are dirty or broken or the refrigerant is low, it can be an issue to the AC unit.
If you have an old AC unit, which has already finished its lifespan, there is a possibility that it’s the main cause of all your AC problems. Whenever a technician diagnoses your AC unit and gives you a quotation to repair, inquire to see if it would be cheaper to replace the unit or to repair it. Although it might cost you a significant amount of money to install a new unit, it can save you the recurrent costs of repairing your old AC unit. In addition, it can also save you utility bills since it can be efficient with power consumption.
Some AC units have faulty thermostats, and they don’t function correctly. At times, you find that most of these AC units cannot turn off or on as they are programmed to do. In such cases, the thermostat needs to be replaced.
Old ductwork is prone to leak cooled air, especially when the insulation is gone or when the joints are not sealed. This is another issue encountered by HVAC technicians, and addressing it can reduce the run time of your AC unit, as well as your utility bills.
AC units are essential appliances in our homes, and we should always make sure that we keep them in good condition if we want to benefit from them. Therefore, you should always make sure that you schedule regular maintenance and consult AC technicians so that you can keep your unit in good condition.