Summers in Austin, Texas, can be scorching. Thankfully, most homes and businesses have an air conditioning system. During the hottest parts of the summer, you may run your air conditioning unit for 12 hours or more each day. This begs the question, how many hours should an air conditioner run per day?
How Many Hours Should I Run My Air Conditioning Unit Each Day?
Modern air conditioning units are designed to run 24 hours a day. There is no harm in having it run to keep your home cool all day long. If you wanted to, you could have your AC unit running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If your thermostat is set on “auto”, your AC compressor does not run 24 hours a day. The AC unit cycles off with most non-inverter air conditioners after reaching the desired room temperature. Your unit is only cooling your home when the compressor is running. The compressor is what consumes up to 95% of your AC unit’s power.
As long as your air conditioner is properly sized for the room or home and summer temperatures are moderate, your compressor may only run 70% of the time. This means that every 24 hours, your compressor is running for about 16 hours. This is true whether you have central air, a window unit, or a mini-split. However, during the parts of the year when the outdoor temperatures are extremely high, your compressor may run between 90 to 100% of the day.
Factors That Could Impact Compressor Runtime
A factor that will impact runtime is an undersized air conditioner. One that is too small will have a lower cooling capacity than your home’s requirements. If that is the case, the compressor will burn continuously because it struggles to compensate for the larger room size. It will never reach the desired temperature. Using an undersized air conditioner increases your energy bill and puts more strain on the unit, increasing the chances of a premature malfunction.
When outdoor temperatures are especially high, as is typical during the end of July and the start of August in Austin, your air conditioning unit will struggle with a higher load for cooling. The compressor will need to run continuously to reach the desired room temperature.
If you set your thermostat too low, your AC will have to run longer to achieve the set temperature. For example, suppose the outdoor temperatures are over 100 degrees, and you set your AC unit at 62 degrees. It will struggle to reach the desired indoor temperature, and the compressor will run continuously.
The Downside of Your Air Conditioner Running 24 Hours a Day
Your air conditioner consumes a lot of power. True, advancements in AC technology, including inverters, have lowered energy consumption. But they are still an energy-consuming beast. The longer your unit runs, the more power it will pull and the higher your electric bill will be.
Your air conditioning unit has an expected operating life. Once that operating life is reached, it will become defective and inoperational. Increased usage means that filters will need to be cleaned or changed frequently. The more the unit is used, the more dust will accumulate on the condenser. Dust will also get in the condenser coils, causing them to degrade faster.
The more you use your AC unit, the more frequently it will need to be serviced. This will increase the cost of maintenance. At Quality Cooling & Heating, we recommend having your AC unit professionally serviced once a year. We will check your AC unit’s electrical system, coils, refrigerant levels, filters, and fan during our annual inspection. Our goal is to ensure that your AC unit is functioning at peak efficiency for a long time.
Reliable HVAC Service in the Greater Austin Area
At Quality Cooling & Heating, we understand how important your home’s air conditioning system is for you. Our technicians will use our years of experience to install, repair, and maintain your air conditioning and furnace system. You can count on us when you need experts to find the right solution.
Our team looks forward to helping you by giving you the service you deserve. Whether you need an HVAC inspection, maintenance, or repair, contact Quality Cooling & Heating. We look forward to making your home a more comfortable space.