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5 Causes of a Constantly Running Air Conditioner

1. Dirty Air Filter

Clogged air filters impede the necessary airflow to keep an HVAC system running properly. Make sure you have a clean filter by replacing your air filter every 30-90 days.

2. Dirty Coils

If you haven’t had your A/C serviced in a long time, you could have very dirty evaporator (inside) and condenser coils (outside). Make sure you schedule professional HVAC maintenance every fall for your heating system and every spring for your cooling.

If your evaporator coils are dirty, you risk clogging your A/C condensate drain line and causing damage to your system. If you suspect a dirty air filter or your evaporator coil is frozen, turn the unit off and call your HVAC professional.

This is not a job we recommend you do yourself; however, you can help keep your system clean by remembering to replace your air filter and clear away debris from your outdoor unit. After any large storm or heavy winds, check the outdoor unit to make sure it is clear of debris. You should always maintain a 2-foot clearance around the entire unit. In order to maintain airflow, do not place anything on top of the unit either.

If indoor air quality is a problem, ask your technician about your improving the air filtration and purification in your home. We recommend the Air Scrubber Plus® System, which “scrubs,” or disinfect, the air (up to 99%).

3. Extreme Heat and Humidity

We are all familiar with extreme temperature in Phoenix, so a constantly running air conditioner tends to be the norm. You should expect your A/C to run more than normal on hot and humid days. If you’re new to Phoenix, don’t let this alarm you. If the air conditioner doesn’t go back to regular cooling cycles when it gets cooler, that’s when you should think about calling for professional service.

If high humidity is a problem in your home, talk to your technician about installing a whole-home humidification system.

4. Blower Motors and Faulty Components

When your HVAC system ages, as with anything else, the mechanical components eventually need cleaning, servicing, repairs or replacements. There comes a point in any HVAC system’s life when it eventually needs to be replaced. If your air conditioner is over 15 years old, the time’s ripe. The good news is that a new energy-efficient A/C will consume less energy, significantly lowering your HVAC bill (about 50-60% of your total energy consumption).

If you have a blower motor that isn’t working properly, or not enough air is being produced for whatever reason, call a technician for assistance. It may be as simple as adjusting the fan speed, however, a full replacement is sometimes necessary. Most HVAC tune-ups will include a cleaning of the entire system so grim and dirt won’t accumulate inside your HVAC components.

5. Air Conditioner is Too Large or Small

The most common mistake for HVAC installers is getting the size right. Many “technicians” will simply replace the unit you have with a similarly sized one. That is a mistake. In order to properly size a new HVAC system, the entire home must be measured, including square footage, volume, insulation, and ventilation.

If your A/C is too small, it will run much more than it should, constantly cycling on and off. When you have an air conditioner that is too large, then it will be inefficient, cause airflow problems, and cost you a lot more money.

More than half of all HVAC systems are improperly installed in the United States (ENERGY STAR)! This can cause inefficiencies (by as much as 30%) at the least and expensive repairs and replacements at the most. Not only will your bills be affected, but your health and comfort also will too, including “insufficient dehumidification, dust from leaking ductwork, and poor air distribution.”

Most of these problems can be prevented with regular HVAC maintenance. We recommend signing up for a professional home maintenance plan, such as our Penguin Protection Plan.


At Penguin Air and Plumbing, we want to help make your Phoenix-area home safe and efficient for years to come

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