Should An Air Conditioner Run All Day & Night?

If you live in a place like Phoenix, Arizona, the summer heat can make your home pretty stuffy and unbearable. Especially for those spending a large part of their day indoors, it’s tempting to allow the AC to run 24/7. Is it the best practice, and what can result from allowing the AC to operate continuously?

How Your Air Conditioner Works

Your air conditioner works by removing heat energy from your home. It does so by exchanging the hot air in the building with cooler air that it draws from outdoors. However, it isn’t as simple as an air exchange.

In a split AC system, a compressor condenses and circulates the refrigerant through your indoor unit. This compression changes it from a gas to a liquid. The liquid is then pumped through evaporator coils. This is how the trade of cool air for hot air happens, with thermal energy being removed and sent outdoors.

Is it OK to Run Your AC all Day?

Some electrical appliances are built to run continuously. For instance, a computer server needs to be running throughout the year to facilitate user transactions. Thus, servers are equipped with adequate ventilation systems to keep excess heat from destroying the system.

Air conditioners, on the other hand, should not run 24/7. Not only is there a risk of damage to the unit, but also concerns that can affect your family budget.


Keep Your Energy Bill In Check

An air conditioner that runs 24/7 ends up operating at an inefficient rate. Even if your AC were to maintain the same electricity consumption during constant operation, the fact that you can keep your home comfortable with the AC running a fraction of the day should be considered.

Wear and Tear

Air conditioners tend to break down when they are overburdened. This can happen because of a variety of factors. Failing to change air filters and top up refrigerant when necessary can lead to inefficient operation and subsequent breakdown.

Also, adopting best practices like properly insulating your home by plugging air leaks and using fans can help. The less work your air conditioner has to do, and the greater longevity it will have.

How Long Should Your AC Run Before Shutting Off?

Ideally, air conditioners should run for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. The strength of your AC unit should be such so that it cools your home to a comfortable temperature within that spurt of time. If your AC takes longer to achieve this goal, you may need a more potent AC.

This isn’t a steadfast rule as some extremely hot days will require your AC to run for longer and even continuously for periods of time. However, if you find that your air conditioner is struggling to cool your space even on mild days without running constantly, you may need to replace it with a better option.

How Long Should You Keep Your AC Off Between Cycles?

On mild days, your AC should be taking three to four breaks per hour. This equates to approximately 15 minutes of off time throughout the hour. This will vary depending on how hot the weather is.

Is it Better to Run the AC All Day or Just at Night?

Air conditioners are at their most efficient when they are running at full blast. When an air conditioner operates non-stop at a lesser speed, this is where inefficiencies appear. Therefore, your AC should be set to run at spurts and cool your space down to your preferred temperature.

Also, regarding night-time operation, keep in mind that your body tolerates warmer temperatures when you are asleep. Therefore, there is no need to have the AC running throughout the night, especially considering that temperatures are generally cooler after dark.

Installing a Smart Thermostat

Because you shouldn’t run your air conditioner continuously, it doesn’t mean you have to suffer in the summer heat. Installing a smart thermostat can help you keep your home cooled to your preferred temperature. It will also keep your AC running efficiently as it will make sure the unit runs at full speed in short blasts. As we described earlier, this makes the unit consume energy efficiently.

Reasons Your Air Conditioner’s Fan Won’t Turn Off

One of the more common issues an AC might face is that the fan won’t turn off. This can be due to a stuck relay that keeps the circuit closed. If not because of the relay, it could be that your thermostat may need to be replaced.

Before you get too stressed and think that the worst case is playing out, take a look at your thermostat settings. Try setting the desired temperature above your current room temperature. This will cause the AC to turn off.

If the AC fan is still blowing, check to see that the fan setting on the thermostat is not set to ‘on’ and that it still runs when you switch it to ‘off’ or ‘auto.’ After you’ve made sure that the settings are correct, get in contact with a knowledgeable technician.

Taking a Proactive Approach

There are measures you can take to ensure that you help your air conditioner do its job correctly. Try and keep your house as cool as possible so that the AC can function as efficiently as it can. Using curtains that are made out of reflective material will help mitigate the heating effects of the sun. By finding and plugging any air leaks, your home’s temperature won’t be affected by heat energy creeping in from outdoors.

Finally, make sure you have an air conditioner that is big enough to cool your indoor space without being too powerful to force it to operate at sub-optimal capacity. If you need your air conditioner repaired, Icon Mechanical will help you decide on the best option for your needs and resolve any issues you have with an inefficient home cooling system.