AC running constantly? Deal with it, or it’s going to cost you
When was the last time you experienced the blissful silence when your air conditioner finally shuts off?
If your answer is “sometime in April” then you’ve definitely got a problem on your hands. Even in the heat of the summer, your AC should not be running constantly. If it does, failing to address the issue can seriously cost you.
Why you can’t afford to ignore your AC running constantly
When your air conditioner runs throughout the day and night without shutting off, or if it cycles on and off continuously, there are several causes for concern:
When your AC’s running constantly, it’s also running up your electric bill. And that’s just one way the problem is costing you.
WEAR & TEAR ON YOUR AIR CONDITIONER’S PARTS
If your sanity is being strained by the noise of your AC running constantly, just imagine what it’s doing to your air conditioner’s parts. All that extra work causes unnecessary wear on the system’s critical parts, which increases the likelihood of breakdowns and decreases the life span of your system.
IMPENDING SYSTEM FAILURE
Your AC running constantly tells you that something is not working right, and the problem will get worse if you don’t take care of it. Eventually the noise will stop, but so will your air conditioning. To avoid the impending breakdown, you need to figure out the cause of your AC problem.
Most common causes of your AC running constantly
To help you do a little AC troubleshooting and estimate the urgency of the problem, here are some of the most common causes of your AC running constantly:
1. Frozen coils
Is your unit is blowing warm air from the supply vents? If it’s doing this as well as running constantly, the coil has probably frozen up. This often happens when the system has not been serviced in a while. If you suspect it’s frozen, turn the air conditioner completely off immediately to prevent further damage! Then call in a professional right away to diagnose the cause.
Related article: AC Troubleshooting: FROZEN HVAC System? Don’t “Let it Go!”.
2. Condenser and/or evaporator coils need cleaning
Have you had your air conditioner serviced yet this spring? If not, the coils may be covered with dirt and debris, impeding the cooling process and making the unit work harder to cool your space. Which means you’ll hear the AC running constantly.
If you can access the coils, take a look at the condition. Nasty, right? Especially with NYC’s air quality issues, the coils get grimed up in a hurry when you neglect maintenance.
The evaporator coils in your indoor unit as well as the condenser coils in your outdoor unit need to be cleaned regularly to remove pollution, dust and contaminants. The coils can’t do their jobs when airflow is impeded by dirt and debris, accumulated leaves or even animal or insect nests. To take care of this problem, bring is a professional to do a good cleaning with safe cleaning products and the right tools.
(Grab a copy of our helpful guide to learn more about cleaning your coils: A Guide to Air Conditioner Coil Cleaning: Why, How, and How Often.)
3. Air filter issues
Have you changed your air filter lately? During peak season (a.k.a NOW) you should be doing that once a month. If your system’s air filter is clogged with dirt and debris, the unit is not getting the right amount of air flow to function effectively. The result? Your AC running constantly. Change the filter (or clean a reusable one) to remedy this problem.
It’s also possible that you’re using a filter that’s too restrictive for your system. If so, the system is also deprived of air air. Without enough air flow, it can’t remove humidity and cool the air to the set temperature, so your AC’s running constantly when it shouldn’t.
Related article: Crippling Air Conditioning Problems Caused by Poor Air Flow.
4. Refrigerant leaks
The refrigerant is the substance flowing through the AC’s coils that actually removes the heat and humidity from the air in your space. When your unit’s coils or refrigerant lines develop holes or cracks, refrigerant leaks out of the system. As the refrigerant charge decreases, it becomes harder and harder for your system to cool the space. The next thing you know, you’ll hear your AC running constantly and also not cooling your space as effectively.
To correct this problem, you need an experienced HVAC service professional to find and repair any leaks and recharge the refrigerant to restore the correct level.
5. Faulty controls
Is your space too cold? If your AC is running constantly and the space is colder than it should be, you might have a faulty thermostat. If that’s the case, your AC unit doesn’t get a signal to turn off even when the desired temperature is reached.
Check your thermostat to see if the actual temperature in the space is below the set point. If it is, there’s a good chance that the thermostat may need replacing. You could also try replacing the battery.
6. Fan or blower motor problems
Your blower motor might be running sluggishly and not producing enough air for your system. Or, the fan might be running at a speed that’s too slow. Either way, your system isn’t working efficiency enough to cool your space, so it keeps the AC running constantly.
Your HVAC technician can fix these problems by replacing the motor or simply adjusting the fan speed. It’s also possible (if you’ve neglected service) that a layer of grime on the fan blades is slowing it down. A good cleaning might just take care of the problem.
7. Leaky ducts
If you have holes in your ductwork, the cool air gets lost in the crawl spaces and never reaches the spaces where it’s needed. That keeps your AC running constantly, fighting a losing battle to get the air down to set temperature. Have your HVAC tech check the condition of your ducts.
8. Load changes and wrong-sized systems
Have you recently renovated your space, rearranged the layout, or changed the usage of the space? If you’ve done so without updating your air conditioning and ventilation systems, it’s possible that your AC’s running constantly because it’s no longer adequately sized for the needs of your space.
Bring in a certified HVAC professional to do a load calculation, taking into account the design, size and cooling requirements of your space, as well as windows and sun exposure, insulation and more.
If you’re in the NYC Metro area, contact Arista for expert help!