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Why is My Air Conditioner Constantly Running? 7 Common Causes

why-air-conditioner-constantly-runningAn air conditioner running constantly sounds like money going down the drain, so it is understandable that this would be a reason for concern. From the air filter to the thermostat, there are a number of parts that could be the cause. Regular maintenance is the best way to ensure that your air conditioner works properly all season long, but here are the 7 most likely culprits to check.

1.The air filter needs to be replaced.

When the air filter gets dirty it restricts air flow which makes the air conditioner work harder. A dirty air filter is the most common cause of HVAC problems, but it is also the easiest to fix. Simply change the air filter every 30-60 days to help keep your system clean and running smoothly.

2. The thermostat isn’t working.

To check if the thermostat is the problem, set the temperature 5 degrees lower than normal to see if A/C comes on. If it doesn’t, the thermostat is most likely the issue. Make sure that it is set to “cool.” If those don’t correct the problem, check the power sources. Replace the batteries and check that the main circuit breaker for system is in the “on” position. Try flipping the breaker switch off and back on to reset it.

3. There are air leaks or insufficient insulation.

If your cool air is escaping through air leaks or as a result of poor insulation, your air conditioner has to run constantly in order to keep your home at the desired temperature. Check around doors and windows and seal any leaks. Add more insulation.

4. The air conditioner coils are dirty.

The condenser coils are part of the outdoor unit and are exposed to dirt and debris in the environment. Soil, mud, leaves, grass clippings, and even pet hair can block airflow which diminishes performance and can result in the air conditioner running continuously. The evaporator coils can also get dirty. Have an HVAC technician inspect and maintain your system to ensure that your system is ready to go in the heat of summer.

5. The unit is too small and/or was installed improperly.

An improperly sized unit will be inefficient, and will have to work harder to cool your home. Similarly, incorrectly sized ductwork may not be able to handle the airflow or distribute cool air efficiently. Improper installation can also cause the unit to malfunction.

6. The air conditioner needs maintenance.

All manufacturers recommend annual maintenance by an HVAC professional to prevent avoidable repairs and extend the life of your system. Ideally, maintenance is scheduled in the spring so you know your A/C will work properly throughout the summer. A professional technician will do a thorough check of all the components and make sure the whole system is clean and lubricated, replace worn parts before they create bigger problems, and make sure the thermostat is working properly.

7. The air conditioner is old and needs to be replaced.

The average life span of an air conditioner is 10-15 years. If your unit is approaching or has passed that upper end, it could simply be wearing out, even if it has been well maintained.

Contact IAQ today for any air conditioner issues or to schedule a maintenance appointment for your Denver home.

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