Homeowner Articles AC Constantly Running

South Carolina gets some pretty hot summers, so your AC might be working overtime. However, an AC running constantly can significantly increase your summer cooling bills. You may also get annoyed at the constant droning noise in the background.

Today, Upstate Home Maintenance is here to talk about what to do when your air conditioner is running constantly, even when it shouldn’t.

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Why Is My AC System Running Constantly?

First, we need to talk about why your AC won’t shut off properly. Below are some common reasons why your central air system might run constantly.

Air Conditioner Size Is Wrong

The most common reason for an air conditioner constantly running is that it’s the wrong size for your home. A central air conditioner that is the right size should be able to run without worry.

If your air conditioners are too small, they’ll have to work harder to keep your thermostat temp at the desired temperature. The result is more breakdowns and your AC blowing clammy air.

If your AC is too large, it will constantly shut on and off, increasing electricity usage and energy bills. Your unit won’t distribute enough cool air, and your HVAC system will be less effective.

Clogged Air Filter

If you notice a lack of air flow, then the problem could be a dirty air filter. Dirty filters don’t let enough air through, so your evaporator and cooling coil can’t do their job. If your air filter is dirty, it will reduce air flow, and your AC has to work harder to supply sufficient air.

The result is your air conditioner runs constantly, causing spikes in electrical power and breakdowns. Your AC may also struggle with blowing cold or hot air. The good thing is you can replace your dirty filter to stop it from blocking air.

An outside unit is more prone to clogged filters, so you will need to change those filters more often than an indoor unit.

Dirt Covering Evaporator Coils

The evaporator coil and condenser coils make contact with the external environment, so the air handler can pick up dust and dirt, lowering condenser coil efficiency. A dirty evaporator coil or condenser coil doesn’t absorb heat properly and produces only hot air.

A clogged or frozen evaporator coil prevents refrigerant from cooling the air, meaning your AC constantly blows warm air and can’t maintain a consistent temperature. Clogged coils may also cause a liquid refrigerant leak.

The solution is regularly cleaning your cooling system coils. Experts recommend you clean your system at least once per year to keep air conditioner coils covered in dirt clean, but you should clean an outdoor unit more frequently.

Thermostat Placement

Your thermostat controls temperatures through heat load calculation and will turn your air conditioning system on and off. If the thermostat is in the wrong place, such as next to supply vents, it won’t detect the right temperature. The result is it can get stuck and run fairly continuously.

You can check the thermostat by placing a thermometer near it to read the temperature. If the reading is not near your desired temperature, it could be a problem with your thermostat.

If you have a thermostat problem, have a service technician perform repairs. Newer efficient thermostats use about half the electricity as older models.

Broken Compressor

The compressor plays a crucial role and works to compress the refrigerant fluid for absorbing heat. The compressor also controls your evaporator and condenser coils cycling. The result is that your air conditioning unit may run too frequently or switch on and off too quickly.

A broken compressor could lead to other air conditioning problems, like blowing warm air only or a refrigerant leak.

Poor Insulation

Another explanation for your air conditioning running constantly is air leaks from poor sealing. Bad sealing means your home is losing all that cool air for your home. The outdoors absorb heat more than your home, so you can lose air quickly.

Hot air during the summer creates high pressures and forces cold air outside. Losing air means your air conditioner runs constantly to replace it, working harder to keep up with temperature demands.

Bad insulation prevents that all-important heat transfer, so the best solution is to replace it with modern insulation.

AC Unit Is Old

The last reason your AC may run constantly is its age. An old unit prevents heat transfer and has trouble distributing air flowing into your home. The typical outside unit can last for about 15 years on average, and regular maintenance can extend its lifespan by about five years.

Replaced air conditioners will help get your cooling system back to optimal performance. Our experienced team at Upstate Home Maintenance can help you choose a replacement central air conditioner that meets your needs and budget.

Should I Repair or Replace My AC Unit?

In some cases, you can just repair the AC problem, and things will go back to normal. Other times, an AC that runs constantly might need replacement.

The choice between repairs or replacement largely depends on cost. If repair costs are at least 50% of the price of installing a new unit, we recommend replacement over repair.

Below are some common signs you may need to replace your air conditioner.

  • Frequent repairs (about once per six months)
  • Spiking electricity bills even with repairs
  • Loss of motor power
  • The unit won’t turn off/on
  • Strange odors or smells

If you experience persistent AC problems, contact an expert as quickly as possible to address the issue.

AC Repair in Spartanburg SC

Contact an AC Professional Today!

AC units that run constantly can cause significant performance problems during the spring and summer, so it’s essential to make sure it is working in top condition. Our air conditioning repair and maintenance services can help your system run for years to come.

Contact Upstate Home Maintenance online or give us a call today at (864) 529-7310 to schedule an appointment!

This article was written by Morgan Loch

Owner of Upstate Home Maintenance Services LLC and Local HVAC Guru

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