How Long Can an AC Run Continuously?

AC Running in O'fallon, MO

Whether you own your home or you’re renting, odds are that your air conditioner is one of the most important appliances in your home during the hot summer months in O’Fallon, MO. Not only does it keep the indoor temperature comfortable, but it also helps to remove humidity from the air.

However, some air conditioning systems have a limit on how long they can run continuously. This begs the question: How long can an air conditioner unit run continuously before it needs to be shut off? The answer depends on the type of unit.

How Long Can a Wall AC Unit Run Continuously?

You may have heard that air conditioning systems need to be rested periodically in order to prevent overheating and damage. Exactly how long the air conditioner can run continuously without causing problems, however, varies depending on factors such as the unit’s size, age, and cooling capacity. In some cases, you may not need to turn your home’s air conditioner off at all!

The biggest determinant in how long you should run your AC is whether your home uses central air or a wall/window unit. In general, wall and window air conditioning units with smaller capacities can typically run for up to eight hours at a time before they need to rest. Larger wall and window units have a longer running time of around 10 to 12 hours, depending on their cooling power.

Furthermore, the length of continuous use also depends on how often the unit is turned on and off throughout the day. This is because switching off and starting up can take a bit of a toll on the unit.

Ultimately, when it comes to knowing how long an air conditioning unit can run continuously without damage or overheating, there is no simple answer. However, in most cases, it should be carefully monitored and rested regularly in order to maintain optimal performance.

How Long Can Central AC Run Continuously?

Hot summers often require the central air conditioning system to be on more often than it’s not. While you may have been cautioned against this by well-meaning friends or family, in most cases it’s perfectly fine to keep your home’s central AC system running continuously.

Because central air conditioners have more power, the maintenance needs of central air conditioning systems vary slightly from wall and window units. Running your central AC system for longer periods can be beneficial in dehumidifying your home and reducing wear and tear on the system caused by frequent on/off cycling.

As long as your central air conditioning system is keeping you comfortable and you don’t notice any significant increases in your energy bills from this time last year, you likely can continue running your home’s central air conditioner without worry.

How to Tell If Your AC Is Overworking

There are some signs to look out for that may indicate that your home’s air conditioner is overworking. These signs apply to both central AC and wall/window AC units.

The most obvious sign that your home’s air conditioning system might be working too hard is an increase in your energy bills compared to the same time last year. When the air conditioning system is struggling to keep your home cool and comfortable, it has to work harder, which can end up costing you extra dollars on your monthly utility bill.

Additionally, if you notice that the inside temperature of your home feels warmer than usual despite having the thermostat set at a normal temperature, this could be a sign of overworking.

Another sign that something is amiss with your home’s air conditioning unit is if it begins to make loud or unusual noises, such as banging or grinding noises. By identifying these potential warning signs early on and addressing any potential issues, you can help extend the life of your air conditioning unit and avoid having to spend additional money on costly repairs down the road.

Possible Causes of an Overworking AC

There are several possible causes of an overworking air conditioning unit. If you suspect that your home’s AC unit is overworking, it is important to have it inspected by a professional at Hoff Heating & AC to determine the root cause of the problem.

One common cause is restricted airflow due to factors like a dirty air filter. When the air filter is clogged, the air conditioner has to work harder to circulate air, causing it to run for longer periods of time.

Another possible cause of restricted airflow is a blockage in the ductwork. A blockage can limit the amount of airflow in the system, and blocked vents may cause the unit to work harder than necessary in order to flow air effectively through them and reach the desired temperature. Leaks in the ductwork can also cause an increase in run time, as this decreases the overall efficiency of the system.

There is another possible cause that’s surprisingly simple: an undersized air conditioner. An undersized air conditioning system most commonly manifests as an air conditioner that never stops running. When this occurs, cooling coil pressure will start to drop before freezing over, which could damage your AC’s compressor. If you suspect your air conditioning system is not the proper size for your home, you should contact a trusted AC technician at Hoff Heating & AC to get it inspected.

Other potential issues causing your home’s air conditioning system to overwork may include low refrigerant or a dirty evaporator. A qualified air conditioning tech at our company will be well-equipped to inspect your system, diagnose the cause, and map out a solution to get your home’s air conditioning system in top shape again.

Tips for Conserving Energy and Keeping Your Home Cool This Summer

Running an air conditioner can be a significant source of energy consumption in your home. Even if your home’s air conditioning system is working well, it’s still a good idea to maximize its efficiency.

One way to do this is to have it serviced regularly by a qualified technician. Additionally, you can improve efficiency by periodically checking that there are no leaks in the ductwork and that the filters are clean. By taking these simple steps, you can help to keep your air conditioner running smoothly while also reducing your energy usage.

Whether your air conditioning unit is overworking or simply requires proactive maintenance, Hoff Heating & AC is at your service. As a family-oriented business, we’ve been serving homeowners in the Missouri counties of St. Charles, Lincoln, Warren, and St. Louis since 1983. From furnace repair to AC maintenance to air purification, we are committed to meeting all of your home’s heating and cooling needs. Contact us today at our O’Fallon office to learn more and schedule an appointment with one of our qualified technicians.