During the last heat wave here in Battle Creek, I'm sure you were thankful but maybe concerned about how long it was running. For some homeowners it may seem like it's running non-stop.
Is this normal? Well, because it’s hotter outside, it’s normal for a central air conditioner to run without cycling on and off as often. Also, running with fewer cycles (turning on and off) is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, running longer can be positive because it helps dehumidify your home
It can decrease wear and tear on your system from less starting and stopping. When the electric motors of your air conditioner start up, it uses the greatest amount of electricity.
IMPORTANT: An air conditioner is a "big whole house dehumidifier"; which needs to run long enough to remove the moisture; it needs long run-times. How long? It takes about 15 minutes of run-time before you start getting serious dehumidification of the air, so over-sized systems will not dehumidify well. If the AC comes on, runs 10 minutes or less, and then shuts off, the house may be cool, but when it comes to high humidity levels, in a humid climate, the indoor humidity levels will stay high, probably over 60%.
Here's a rule of thumb:
Under normal conditions at average summertime highs and a correctly sized system, 2-3 cycles/hour would be good. At extreme outside temps, it is possible to see system running continuous for hours. Not an ideal situation especially if system is not maintaining your inside comfort temperature. You will never get good dehumidification with 3-5 cycles/hour.
When you should be concerned if it's running constantly:
You may have a problem if your air conditioner runs constantly, you’re never comfortable and your thermostat temp is never satisfied. These are signs something is wrong and needs correcting.
If that’s you, here are few things that could be causing your air conditioner to run constantly.
- Undersized air conditioner (pretty rare)
- A frozen evaporator coil
Air conditioners must be sized correctly for each home. An undersized system struggles to cool your home, which is why it’s running constantly. This constant running will reduce pressure in the evaporator (cooling) coil until it freezes over.
Call us if you have concerns!