Why Is My Air Conditioner Constantly Running?

Central air conditioning can be a real blessing during our hot, humid summers in Southern Ontario. The last thing you want is for something to go wrong with your air conditioner on the hottest day of the year, but unfortunately, it happens.

If you notice your air conditioner constantly running  this summer, it might be due to one or more of these causes:

Dirty Or Frozen Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil in your air conditioner turns compressed cooling chemicals from liquid to gas so they can evaporate, and the soil absorbs heat in the process. It’s an essential part of your air conditioner.

If you skipped your air conditioner maintenance this spring, you may find your evaporator coil is covered with dirt and debris, which makes it harder for the unit to cool your home.

If your air conditioner is also blowing warm air as it’s running constantly, the evaporator coil may have frozen. In this case, you’ll want to turn your air conditioner off and call an HVAC technician as soon as possible — otherwise, the running unit may cause even more damage.

Dirty Or Clogged Air Filters

Cleaning or replacing your air conditioner filters is one of the simplest and most crucial maintenance tasks you can do for your air conditioner.

When the filters become full of dirt and debris, your air conditioner has to work harder to push the cool air through. A clogged or dirty filter will prevent your air conditioner from removing humidity from the air and maintaining your set temperature.

You can also check to see if you are using a filter that is too restrictive for your unit. Filters with lower MERV values ensure better air flow. If you’re unsure, check your unit’s recommended air filter.

Not Enough Refrigerant

There are a number of reasons you may not have enough refrigerant in your air conditioner, the most common of which is a leak in the coils. Without the required amount of refrigerant, your air conditioner can’t cool your home. If you suspect this is the problem, call your HVAC technician immediately.

Thermostat Isn’t Working

A faulty thermostat can wreak havoc with your air conditioner unit. If the thermostat isn’t working, it can’t properly communicate to your air conditioner when the set temperature has been reached, so the air conditioner will just keep running. Check your thermostat to see if the actual temperature is below the set temperature and, if it is, you should look into replacing your thermostat.

Leaking Ducts

Do you have old ductwork in your home? You may be losing cool air through the ducts if the joints have become unsealed or if the insulation has deteriorated. If the leaks are significant, your home will never reach the desired temperature and your air conditioner will continue to run.

Dirty Or Clogged Condenser

As with the evaporator coils in your air conditioner, the condenser coils also have to be cleaned every season. Condenser coils are located on the exterior unit of your air conditioner, so a build up of debris, dirt, leaves and other matter is common. Check your outside unit to make sure the flow of air isn’t being disrupted by debris.

Broken Motor Or Fan

The blower motor in your air conditioner needs to run at a certain speed to produce enough air for your system. If you do not have the required amount of air moving through your system, your air conditioner will work overtime. Check to see if you can adjust the fan speed yourself (after turning off your air conditioner), and make sure the fan blades are clean and in good condition.

Your Air Conditioner Is Too Small

If you recently purchased a new air conditioner and it’s been running constantly since you first turned it on, chances are you purchased the wrong size for your home.

If you recently renovated and changed the layout of your home, but chose to leave the existing air conditioner, you may also have trouble getting to the set temperature.

Your air conditioner needs to be appropriately sized for the size and needs of your home — this includes taking into account your windows, sun exposure and insulation. Your HVAC technician can do a load calculation to determine the appropriate size for your home.
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