When the weather gets hot, there’s nothing like a cold air conditioning unit to cool things down. But how long should you run your AC each day to keep your home comfortable?
There’s no one definitive answer to this question. It depends on a variety of factors, including the size and insulation of your home, the outdoor temperature, and the number of people living in your house.
Most experts recommend running your AC for about eight hours per day during the summer months. This will keep you comfortable while avoiding unnecessarily high energy bills.
How Many Hours Should Your AC Run Per Day?
When trying to contemplate how long is a “normal range” to let an air conditioner run, you should know there are several factors included.
On humid days, you may notice you have to let it run longer or if you have poor insulation.
Usually, an air conditioning system will actively run for about 15-20 minute cycles, but most experts can agree this can be over an eight-hour time frame.
If you have a big house or the weather is very hot, you might need to increase that time.
If you’re not sure, it’s best to consult with your air conditioning technician about what the ideal settings are for your home and climate.
But as a general rule, running your AC for eight hours per day should keep you comfortable without breaking the bank with your electricity bill.
Is it OK for Your AC Unit to Run All Day?
If you step out for an errand, definitely don’t shut it off until you return. If you live in a humid climate – or if your area just has so much hot air – your air conditioner will end up working extra hard when you get back home.
After being shut off for hours, you will get home and turn it back on, and then you will have to work overtime just to get to your desired temperature.
If you leave it on, it wouldn’t have to run constantly; only when it needs to achieve the temperature inside you put on the settings.
Even if you are home, it’s okay for your air conditioner to run all day, as long as it is going through the cooling cycle properly.
If it’s steadily staying on and not cycling off as it reaches your desired temperature, something may be wrong.
5 Reasons Why Your Air Conditioner Is Running Constantly
1. Air Conditioning Unit Too Small
If your home is too large for the air conditioner, it will run constantly trying to cool the entire house.
In this case, you need to either get a bigger air conditioner or install a whole-house air conditioning unit.
2. Thermostat May Need to be Adjusted
If your thermostat is set too low, your air conditioner will run consistently trying to reach the desired temperature.
It won’t go through the normal air conditioner cycle. You need to adjust the thermostat to a higher setting so the AC doesn’t have to work as hard.
3. Dirty Coils
If the coils on your AC unit are dirty, the unit will have to work harder to produce cooling air.
This will cause the AC to consistently run and can lead to higher energy bills. Be sure to clean the coils on your AC unit every year.
4. Dirty Air Filter
A dirty air filter will prevent the AC unit from cooling your home properly.
This will cause the AC to stay on all the time, or more than normal, in an effort to achieve the desired temperature. Be sure to change your air filter every month.
If you have allergies, you may want to look into the best ac filters for allergies to help with that.
5. Other Heat Sources
If your home has other heat sources nearby your air conditioning unit, such as an oven or a dryer, the AC will have to work harder to counteract the extra heat.
Even having the unit near boiling water on the stove can cause it to run more.
It’s important that you find and address the source of the extra heat in order to make your AC unit more effective.
If your air conditioner is sitting directly in the sun, it can cause it to run continuously.
When to Call an HVAC Technician
If your AC unit is running constantly and you have ruled out all of the above reasons, it’s time to call an HVAC technician.
There may be a problem with the unit that needs to be fixed. Ignoring the problem could lead to higher energy bills and an ineffective AC unit.
Even if you do know what’s causing the problem but air conditioners aren’t your area of expertise, having an HVAC technician help you figure out how to solve the problem can help you save money in the end.