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My AC Is Running All the Time—What’s Wrong?

air-conditioning-compressorWe may joke about how during our hot and humid Louisiana summers the air conditioners have to be running nonstop. Of course, there are cooler spells and evenings when ACs power down, and no air conditioner needs to power the compressor constantly to meet a home’s cooling demands. (At least, not if it was correctly sized for the space when it was installed.)

If you do notice that your air conditioner’s compressor is running constantly rather than cycling down as it’s supposed to, you may have a malfunctioning cooling system. Below we’re going to look at some of the reasons you’ve got a runaway air conditioner.

1. The AC is too small

We mentioned this above: if an air conditioner was sized incorrectly at its installation, it may be too underpowered to ever cool a house down to a comfortable level. The compressor will run continually as the system tries to reach the setting on the thermostat, never making it. This is one of the many reasons why you should only allow professionals to install an air conditioner, since they will perform a load calculation to determine the ideal size of AC to meet cooling demands. (Unfortunately, the only way to fix a badly sized system is to replace it.)

2. There is excess dirt on the outdoor coil

The outside cabinet is exposed to the elements—as well as the effects of gardening and mowing—which leads to grass, mulch, dirt, etc. getting inside and across the coil. Dirt and grime along the coil will restrict how much heat the coil can release to the outside. Too much restriction means the refrigerant in the coil won’t cool down enough to effectively remove heat when it goes through the indoor coil. The AC will start running overtime to make up the difference. Coil cleaning is a basic part of routine professional maintenance, but it’s also something professionals can do as a repair.

3. The thermostat is broken

The issue may be with the thermostat—if it sensing the wrong indoor temperatures, it may never register to shut off the AC. An HVAC professional can fix this by recalibrating the unit. The thermostat may also have lost its connection to shut off the compressor, another issue a professional can correct for you.

4. Loss of cool air due to ducts leaks

Problems with ductwork or ductwork insulation will allow the temperature of the air inside the ducts to rise before it reaches the rooms. (It also will lead to a humidity increase, one of the warnings that you’ve got duct leakage.) The air conditioner will struggle to replace the lost cool air, resulting in the nonstop operation.

5. The AC is too old

Finally, the trouble may be that age has caught up with the system and it can’t keep pace with your summer cooling demands. Your HVAC experts can help you determine when it’s a wise idea to replace the system rather than keep repairing it.

If you’ve got an overactive air conditioner that sounds like it’s doing back-to-back marathons each day, get in touch with us for HVAC Service in Bossier City, LA or elsewhere in the Shreveport area.

Stop that runaway AC with a call to the Doctor of Home Comfort: Hall’s Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration.

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