A reliable air conditioner in the summer heat is a Floridian’s best friend. So, when your AC is running nonstop and your home still isn’t cooling, it can be very disconcerting. To add insult to injury, it’s likely that your utility bills are also going up. What’s causing your AC to run constantly, and what can you do to get it working properly again?
Why Does My AC Keep Running?
1. Blower Fan Is On Wrong Setting
The simplest place to start troubleshooting an AC that’s constantly running is to check the fan settings. For most occasions, you’ll want the fan set to Auto. This means that the fan only runs when your unit is performing a heating or cooling cycle. As the air is conditioned, the fan blows it throughout your home, bringing the temperature to the appropriate levels. If the fan is set to on, however, it will run nonstop, whether the AC is in a cooling cycle or not. If this is the case, you’re in luck, and your AC is not malfunctioning. You simply need to adjust the fan setting to Auto. If the problem persists, however, you’ll need to continue troubleshooting the issue.
2. Clogged Air Filter
Another tried and true starting point for addressing AC problems is to check the air filters. Dirty or clogged air filters are often behind most issues people face with their AC systems. If the air filters are clogged, it can hinder your unit’s ability to cool efficiently, making the cooling cycles take longer to complete. If the filters become overly dirty or are not replaced in a timely manner, this can cause more long-term damage to your unit. Air filters should be changed every 30-90 days, depending on a number of factors, such as:
- Square footage of home
- Number of pets
- Number of allergy sufferers
- Number of smokers
- Workload of air conditioner
3. Dirty Evaporator Coils
The evaporator coils inside your indoor air handler unit play a vital role in your AC’s ability to cool air. If they become clogged with dirt, debris, mold, or other contaminants, it can keep your AC from cooling properly, resulting in prolonged cooling cycles and blowing warm air throughout your home. If the cause of your problem is dirty evaporator coils, it’s best to entrust the job to a professional technician. However, for someone with more AC know-how, they can be cleaned by following these steps:
- Turn off power completely to your AC system.
- Locate the coils inside the air handler.
- Using a spray bottle of warm water mixed with regular household cleaning detergent, spray the coils and let sit for up to 10 minutes.
- Gently wipe the debris from the coils with a soft cloth.
4. Extreme Weather Conditions
In Florida and throughout the Southeast, it’s not uncommon for heat waves to send the temperatures into triple digits. When this happens, even the best AC units can struggle to keep up with the heat. If you’ve inspected the filter and the AC seems to be functioning normally otherwise, it may not be any cause for panic. Pay attention at the coolest parts of the day to see if the system cuts off like normal. If indoor temps keep climbing, or if you need a second opinion, it’s always a good idea to call an experienced professional technician to inspect and service the unit.
5. Air Conditioner Is Too Small
An air conditioner works by absorbing the warm air from inside your home, separating the moisture from humidity in it, and cooling it, before sending it back out through the air vents. It will keep doing that until the temperature reaches the number you set on the thermostat. Once it does, the AC shuts off. This is called an AC cycle, and it typically lasts between 20 and 30 minutes. When the indoor temperature starts rising, the AC will start another cycle.
However, if you install an air conditioner that’s too small for your home, it will work on overdrive in attempts to reach the desired temperature to no avail. And because it never shuts off, the energy consumption will be reflected in your energy bills.
Buying an AC in the Right Size
In order to eliminate all the heat in your home, an air conditioner needs to have a specific BTU capacity (British Thermal Units), which will vary depending on the size of your home. For each ton of heat that has to be removed from your house, an air conditioner needs to have 12,000 BTUs. The larger your home, the more heat your air conditioner will have to remove. Therefore, the bigger the home, the higher the BTU number you’ll need.
But size isn’t the only thing that matters. In addition to square footage, you have to keep in mind the following factors:
- Construction materials
- Type of insulation in your home
- Ceiling height
- How much sunlight comes in
- How many people live in your home
To verify whether this is the reason why your air conditioner never cycles off, check its BTU capacity. Go to the condenser unit (If you live in a single family home, it’s the big box sitting outside your house. If you live in a condo, it’s in the furnace closet). At the top of the unit, you’ll see the model number (M/N), which includes a mix of letters and numbers separated by dashes. The BTU capacity is the three-digit number after the first dash.
6. AC Needs Repair/Replacement
Faulty parts can cause your AC to malfunction in a variety of ways, including not turning off. Likewise, most AC units won’t last more than 15 years — especially in hot climates like Florida. At some point, even the most trustworthy AC will give out and require replacement. Fortunately, newer air conditioners are more energy efficient and will save you money on your monthly energy bill, even if the initial investment seems like a large chunk of change you’d rather not spend. But whether you need HVAC repair or installation, you can trust the experts at Complete Air Mechanical to get the job done right.
Contact Complete Air Mechanical for AC Repair Services
At Complete Air Mechanical, we have experienced HVAC professionals who can inspect your AC and install a unit that’s right for your home or business. We provide service in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia counties, and we offer financing options.
Call us at (407) 915-0144 and let us make your home comfortable.