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AllTech Services, Inc. Blog

How Long Each Day Can I Run My Air Conditioner?


A common question that our customers ask about their air conditioning use is, “How long can I actually run my air conditioner each day?” When you live somewhere that has long, hot summers, it’s natural that you want to know this. Is there a limit? What happens when your cooling system hits that limit? Will it break down?

We’re going to answer these questions and address more about your air conditioner below. But to answer the main question right away, you could technically run your air conditioner 24/7. And, depending on how long you do so, how often you have your system maintained, and how long our summer lasts, this may be fine. But, it’s not always recommended. Read on to learn more!

“Does My Air Conditioner Have Its Limits?”

Yes, but perhaps not in the way you think.

First off, when homeowners ask us how long they can run their air conditioners, and we say “technically, 24/7” we don’t mean running the compressor of the air conditioner. The compressor is the most important, and expensive, component of an air conditioner, and it makes the cooling process possible. If your compressor runs 24/7, it will surely wear down much faster than it’s meant to, plus it can and probably will cause a complete AC breakdown.

If you’re using your air conditioner reasonably, then the compressor is never going to run 24/7. When we say “reasonably,” we mean setting the thermostat to a realistic temperature. A reasonable temperature for comfort for most people is 78°F.

Your air conditioner will also struggle to cool any more than 20°F below what the temperature is outside. So if it’s a 90°F day and you’re trying to cool your home to 68°F, you can bet the compressor is going to keep running—because it will never be able to reach the desired temperature setting.

And yes, the more frequently or longer your compressor runs, the more wear and tear the entire system will accumulate, which will cause it to break down far sooner than it would have otherwise.

So the real answer to the question posed in the title of this blog post is: “You can have your air conditioner on 24/7, but, on average, it’s best for your air conditioner if the compressor only runs about 16 hours a day.”

How to Fend Off Premature Breakdown

The best way to fend off a premature air conditioner breakdown is with routine professional maintenance. Maintenance allows our technicians to thoroughly inspect, clean, and adjust the components that need it. This reduces repair needs by as much as 85%, helps the air conditioner last longer, and helps the system work as efficiently as possible, too.

In fact, every year that you skip AC maintenance, the AC loses about 5% of its original efficiency rating (SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). But with annual maintenance, your air conditioner can retain up to 95% of its original SEER. Reach out today to schedule your next maintenance tune-up!

For professional Fairfax, VA air conditioning services, look no further than AllTech Services, Inc. Contact us today!

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