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How Long Should An Air Conditioner (AC) Run?

How Long Should An Air Conditioner (AC) Run?

Not sure how long your air conditioner (AC) should run? You’re not alone. An AC that runs too long uses more energy and spikes your monthly electricity bill. On the other hand, an air conditioner that cycles too quickly doesn’t adequately cool your home. How can you find that cooling cycle sweet spot?

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To save money on utility bills, it’s important to invest in an energy-efficient AC system. In addition, installing a system that is sized correctly will help ensure your air conditioner does not perform short cycles or run continuously. View our tips to get a better understanding of what makes air conditioners run longer than they should.

What Is a Standard Cooling Cycle?

If you’re wondering how long your AC should run on a normal day, we’re here to help. While a typical cooling cycle lasts between 15 and 20 minutes, the length of any cooling cycle depends on a few factors such as system type, size, and age. In addition, the total size of your home will impact the length of a cooling cycle.

Reasons Why Your Air Conditioning System Runs Constantly

1. Outdoor Temperature

The warmer it gets outside, the harder your AC system works to cool your home. It’s normal for your AC to run longer, more frequent cycles during the summer months. However, if the cycles seem too frequent or too long, contact a professional technician.

2. Thermostat Settings

If you think bumping the thermostat setting down a few degrees in the summer won’t affect cooling cycle length or monthly energy bills, think again. The lower the thermostat setting, the more time, energy, and money your AC system uses to cool your home.

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3. System Size

Choosing an air conditioner that is too big or small for your home will negatively impact the amount of time the system runs throughout the day. For example, a unit that is too big for your home will perform short cycles. Each cycle will end too quickly and won’t provide lasting comfort. A unit that is too small for your home doesn’t produce enough cool air and suffers from premature wear and tear.

4. State of Your System

The age, energy efficiency, and condition of your AC system affect cooling cycle length. While a well-maintained system works better and lasts longer, a poorly maintained system requires more time and energy to operate.

5. House Size

AC systems take longer and use more energy to cool larger homes.

6. Insulation

Every home needs proper insulation to lock in the cool air its AC system produces. If your air conditioner is running constantly on hot days, the source of the issue may be poor insulation. Does your house have minimal insulation? This will cause cool air to leak outside. To ensure you do not waste energy and money, it’s important to invest in proper insulation to prevent cold air from escaping.


7. Poor Air Flow

Dirt, dander, and other contaminants gradually build up in your AC system’s filter and block airflow. When this happens, your system works harder and longer to reach the desired indoor temperature.

8. Dirty Evaporator Coils

Air passes over evaporator coils during the cooling process. As dust accumulates on these coils, the air isn’t cooled adequately and energy efficiency plummets. That’s why routine maintenance is crucial.

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9. Refrigerant Leak

Refrigerant is a fluid that makes the entire cooling process possible. Without it, your AC system can’t produce cool air. Refrigerant can leak through minor cracks in your equipment and impede the cooling process. Here are some telltale signs that your unit is leaking refrigerant:

  • Ice has formed inside the system
  • A liquid puddle has formed outside the unit

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Air Conditioning Repair & Installation Services

When you need fast and reliable HVAC solutions, give our team a call by phone at (703) 543-9649 to receive assistance Our professionals offer superior air conditioning repair and air conditioning installation services for homes in areas of Virginia such as Arlington, Reston, Centreville, Alexandria, and Ashburn. We offer upfront pricing and 24/7 emergency services to meet your requirements. In addition, our staff provides other types of HVAC services including furnace replacement, boiler maintenance, and furnace repair. Don’t wait to get the reliable home comfort you need. Request an appointment today.