What is The Normal Air Conditioner Cycle?

Learn about the typical air conditioner cycle, including cooling and heating processes. Discover how it works and optimize your HVAC system.

Updated on Oct 22, 2023
5 min read
What is The Normal Air Conditioner Cycle?

A lot of people worry that their AC runs too much while others are concerned that it has short cycles. An air conditioner should not run for more than 15 to 20 minutes in mild temperatures. The unit could be too large for your space if it runs less than that. However, if you hear the air conditioner running constantly, there is something wrong. This could also take a toll on your Bay Area utility bill.

These are a few factors that impact the normal running of an air conditioner.

1. Outside Temperature

Your AC will run longer when it is hot outside to reach the desired indoor temperature. It will run longer even when the humidity is high. You shouldn’t be alarmed if the unit runs more on particularly hot days. You can rest easy as long as there is cool air coming out of the vents and you feel comfortable.

2. Thermostat Setting

The AC will run longer when you have the thermostat set to low temperatures. Increasing the thermostat by a few degrees can reduce the run time and save you significantly on electricity bills. This is while your house remains cool.

3. AC Unit’s Sizing

The size of the air conditioner is the biggest factor in the run time of the air conditioner. Systems that are too big will not run for more than 10 minutes in a process called short cycling. This means the air conditioner is cooling your home too quickly. Short cycling can have a major impact on humidity. The unit may cool the house but will not prove beneficial in dehumidifying it.

4. Air Conditioner’s Current State

Air conditioners that are taken care of will continue to operate efficiently. They will also have a longer lifespan. Neglected air conditioners won't cool your home and may need to run longer for reaching the desired temperature. An AC unit should run for 15 minutes. It may require maintenance if it runs all day long, even on hot days.

5. Size of Your House

Larger homes take longer to cool if the air conditioner is of a smaller size. You can reduce the run time by strategically cooling those areas of the house that you are using. For instance, you can close the doors and dampers in the guest room if it is not in use. This will redirect the air to your family room.

6. Insulation Quality

Insulation is needed in a house year-round. This keeps the air warm during winter and cool in the summer months. Lack of insulation means that conditioned air is leaking out. Your home will take longer to cool, and the air conditioner will need to run longer so as to compensate for the loss.

7. Clogged Air Filter

Your air conditioning unit may have a clogged air filter. You need to make sure that the air filter that is clean if you want to improve the cooling efficiency. Clean filters allow adequate amounts of air to circulate and cycle through the system.

8. Dirty Coils

It is quite possible for the evaporator and condenser coil to be dirty and clogged if the air filter was clogged. You can miss such issues if you skin regular tune-ups and maintenance.

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