How Long Should An AC Run After Reaching The Right Temperature

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Hot summer months can be unbearable if your air conditioner isn't running. Air conditioners come with thermostats to set the temperature. You could be in limbo as to how long an AC can run after reaching the right temperature. Well, we've inquired from experts, and they provided us with answers.

When your air conditioning is running as it should in mild weather, it could run for another 15 to 20 minutes after reaching the right temperature. Sometimes, an air conditioner can run continuously during hot months.

Does this sound scary or worrisome? Read on as we explore if the air conditioner can handle this without issues.

White Air Conditioner Blowing Cold Air On Brick Wall In Living Room, How Long Should An AC Run After Reaching The Right Temperature

How Long An AC Runs After Reaching The Desired Temperature

Once the air conditioner reaches the temperature set on the thermostat, it will run for a while longer before switching off. It's never more than 15 to 20 minutes. Of course, the unit will be on, but the compressor will not be running.

Sometimes your AC could have short or long cycles. The cycles are dictated by the running time of the compressor. Shorter or longer than normal cycles could be pointing to issues in your air conditioning unit.

Air conditioner with blue ribbons flying over the air stream produced by the fan

Air Conditioner Cycles

The cycles your AC is experiencing diagnose its condition. They are just three, and they will tell you what action to take next.

Long Cycles

If your AC is running longer than indicated in the manual, you need to be cautious. It could indicate that it's low on refrigerant or it has dirty filters. However, if the outdoor temperatures are too high, don't panic just yet.

Short Cycles

An AC should not shut off after just running for 10 minutes or less. If this happens multiple times in an hour, invite a professional to check it out. The issues could be dirty filters, leaking compressor, or thermostat errors.

Perfect Cycles

Ideally, your air conditioner should cycle three or four times in an hour. The cycle duration shouldn't be more than 20 minutes or less than 15 minutes. Ironically, more energy-efficient systems could run for longer periods. It will all depend on the model of your AC.

Hand with remote control directed on air conditioner. Home air conditioning concept

How Many Hours Can An AC Run

Air conditioners can run for 24 hours straight! Do not panic! The appliance will not melt nor get damaged. Some surveys claim that you can run your device for an entire week non-stop.

You might have high electric bills if the AC is not energy efficient. To be on the safe side, consult a professional concerning the particular unit you own.

How Is An AC Able To Run Long

Your air conditioner is running when the compressor is running. Moreover, the compressor goes OFF when the needed temperature is reached. The cooling cycle starts again when the room gets warmer.

In mild weather, the compressor will run up to 80% of the time. However, hotter days will make the compressor run the entire time the AC is on. The condenser unit houses the compressor.

young man electrician installer working on outdoor compressor unit air conditioner at a client's home

What Affects The Running Time Of AC Compressors

Several things could make your air conditioner compressor run longer. The running time could be increased by:

  • Unusually hot summer days. The hotter it is, the longer the compressor runs to cool the home. The AC will run as per the temperature indicated on the thermostat.
  • Low temperatures set on the thermostat will make it impossible for the compressor to stop running.
  • The size of your AC will play a part too! An undersized AC will need more time to cool the room. Subsequently, this prolongs the running time of the compressor.

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  • If your home is poorly insulated, warm air will easily find its way into your home during the hot months. Again the compressor will be forced to work overtime.
  • Leaks in the system don't make the job easier for the compressor either. 
  • Dirty evaporator coils will block any cool air from getting to your rooms.

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  • Faulty electrical details will interfere with the running cycles of your AC. Have a technician check and repair them to avoid a short circuit.

Lowest Temperature You Can Run An AC

Manufacturers have ensured that all models and brands of air conditioning units have a temperature limit. You can not run your AC when outside temperatures are below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Low temperatures can cause damage to the air conditioners:

  • Lubricant- It will congeal, and the thick fluid won't allow the unit to function properly.
  • Coils- Frozen coils will tamper with their functionality.

Wait for the outdoor temperatures to stabilize at 60 degrees Fahrenheit and above during season changes. Although, the ideal outdoor temperature for you to turn on your AC is 75 degrees and above. 

Why Do Coils In The AC Freeze-What To Do

A doctor can never prescribe medicine without knowledge of the sickness he's curing. The same applies to air conditioners. Once you notice that the evaporator coils on your AC are freezing, you have a problem.

When the evaporator coils cannot suck the warmth from the air in the home, condensation builds upon them. Moreover, the lack of air via the air filters could also cause the coils to freeze. On the other hand, your air conditioner shouldn't be oversize for your home.

To rectify the problem, you should:

  1. Invite a professional to thoroughly check the unit and diagnose the problem.
  2. In the case of a large condenser unit, you should replace it with the right size one. A technician should handle the replacement of the unit.
  3. Replace the old evaporator coils with new ones. They should be the same size as the condenser unit on the outside.
  4. Ensure that the suction line is insulated. Have a condensate drain connected to collect and drain any trapped humidity.

The following video will make the solutions mentioned clear.

How Cold Can You Set The Thermostat On Your AC

For the ideal temperature in your home, set the thermostat to not less than 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The Department of Energy recommends setting your AC at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. It is the most comfortable temperature whilst being cost-efficient.

Generally, your AC should drop the temperatures in your home by 20 degrees Fahrenheit. These are recommendations to guide you when using your AC. During hot months you can set the temperatures accordingly.

What Mistakes To Avoid When Setting A Thermostat

Man is Adjusting a temperature in modern living room

To get the temperature in your home right, you'll need to set the thermostat. It might take a while for you to find the perfect setting. Nevertheless, there are some mistakes to avoid along the way.

Too High Or Low Settings

Sometimes the heat can be unbearable, and homeowners might resort to setting the lowest possible temperature for express results. Such maneuvers could wreck your AC unit and reduce its lifespan.

Changing Temperatures Too Quickly

If you suddenly feel too hot or too cold, don't rush to change the temperature on your thermostat. You should first check your wardrobe. Dress more suitably to save energy.

Wrong Temperature

If your thermostat is set too low, it might be effective. Your home won't be as cool as you want it. Therefore, check the temperature settings on the thermostat.

Turning The Unit Off

An air conditioner takes some time to cool your home. It isn't advisable to completely turn it off once the needed temperature is reached. Most ACs have a setback feature to use. 

When these mistakes are avoided, your AC will run and reach the ideal temperature without strain. The unit will experience minimum wear and tear over the course of its use.

How Long Does An AC Take To Cool The House

One woman, Asian female turning on air conditioner with remote controller at home.

Your AC should take about three hours to cool your home if it's in good working order. The size of your home, the air conditioner, and the age of the unit will determine the cooling speed. 

Should The AC Thermostat Be On Auto Or Fan 

The mode you set your AC is a matter of personal preference, but there are some pros and cons.

First, the auto mode turns the fan on automatically. Otherwise, the whole system shuts off if you have the desired temperature.

Second, the fan mode leaves the fan on whether the system or not. You don't have to stick to a particular setting. You could interchange the settings depending on the outdoor temperatures and energy consumption.

The Last Word

Hand with remote control directed on the conditioner

Your AC shouldn't run for more than 25 minutes or less than 15 minutes when it has reached the desired temperature. Ensure that it has a perfect cycle.

However, AC can run for long durations without breaking down. Keep an eye on your air conditioner and adhere to maintenance procedures.

You can get some interesting information from these posts.

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