How long should the AC run during summer?

Summer is air conditioner season and almost every household with a unit is using one, which is why knowing how long to use an air conditioner is important.

The main reason people buy air conditioning units is to have a cooling system in their homes or spaces when the temperatures are too hot and humid to bear with. Summer is the peak season for air conditioner cooling, both day and night.

With some regions in America experiencing extremely hot temperatures, an air conditioner is crucial, and an efficient one at that. Heatwaves can last throughout the daytime and remain at night, but how long can an air conditioner be run in the summer?

Running air conditioners in summer

Running an air conditioner in the summer, if you have one, is inevitable as this is when cooling is most needed.

The heat and humidity that comes with some warm climates can be unbearable to live through and it can be an unpleasant feeling being uncomfortable in your own home or space.

With these temperatures lasting all day and into the night, people may want to run their units continuously, but is this recommended?

How long should the AC be on during summer?

People who live in regions where the heat can last all the way into the night may often wonder how long they should be using their air conditioners.

They may wonder if running their units continuously and even throughout the night is safe and what it could mean for the air conditioner.

Generally, on a hot and humid day, an air conditioner should be left to run for about 15 to 20 minutes, on average. After the 20 minutes, the temperature indoors should have reached the desired setting and the unit will likely switch itself off.

The air conditioner should then rest until the temperature rises again past the temperature setting. The air conditioner then turns itself on again, repeating the cycle, day and night.

In regions where temperatures are consistently over 80 or 90 degrees throughout the day, your air conditioner will run more often to keep up with maintaining the desired indoor temperature.

In the most extreme cases, the unit might not even turn off and that can be okay, but one needs to bear in mind that this will cause increased energy bills from long periods of operation.

This can also overwork your air conditioner which could result in more rapid wear and tear, decreasing the AC unit’s lifespan.

When cycling is delayed or failing

If after 20 minutes, the air conditioner has not adjusted the indoor temperature to the desired temperature, then it may not be the right fit for your home or the space you are trying to cool.

When you set your unit to a lower temperature, it is normal for it to take longer to reach that desired temperature sometimes, but if it takes more than half an hour to cool down a room, then you should check if the unit is working efficiently.

Can the AC be left on while you are out?

Coming home to a cooler inside temperature can be quite satisfying, but can an air conditioner be left on while you are out? This can be safe if you do not mind the electricity costs accruing while you are out.

If you are going to be stepping out for just a couple of minutes to an hour, leaving the unit running is better. Any longer than that could be problematic.

Issues that cause the unit to run all day when it should not

Having an air conditioner that runs longer than it should in the summer can be an indication of bigger issues. It could be that the air filters are clogged up and are forcing your unit to work harder to cool the space.

In this case, you need to replace the filters. Your ductwork could need to be cleaned or patched up where airflow may be leaking.

This makes it harder for the air flow to reach the room and cool it properly. Poor insulation can also lead to hot air entering and increasing the room’s temperatures.

Issues causing a unit to overwork
Wrong thermostat setting
AC size
Ineffective insulation
Dirty air filters
Dirty coils
Lack of maintenance or service
Dirty or leaking ductwork
AC competing against other heat sources

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