How Long Should My Air Conditioner Run in A Cycle?

Do you ever hear your air conditioner shut off and think, “should it be doing that?”

In the dog days of summer, AC is a necessity. But it can be a complicated necessity. Maybe you know that your air conditioner is meant to turn on and off sometimes, but you’re not quite sure about the specifics. Or maybe your AC never turns off, and you’re concerned about that. No matter what, if you are wondering how long your air conditioner should run in a cycle, you’re in the right place.

How frequent and how long your AC cycle runs will depend on four things:

  • The efficiency of your home’s insulation
  • The weather
  • The size of your AC 
  • If your AC is working correctly

How Long Should My AC Cycle Last?

It might seem obvious, but the hotter it is outside, the more your air conditioner should be running. If we’re in a sweltering New England summer and the temperature is climbing, your AC should run almost constantly. It needs to work much harder than usual in order to keep your home cool. On days that are warm, but not unbearably hot, your AC should run less. In warm weather, your AC cycle should run every 15 minutes or so.

Signs to Look Out for on Hot Days

On a very hot day, your AC should run a lot. But if it is literally always running, you might have a problem. The same goes for if your home isn’t staying cool, or never gets cool in the first place. The air conditioner is probably too small for your home, or it is not working properly. You might have a refrigerant leak or an airflow issue.

Signs to Look Out for on Mild Days

When it’s not incredibly hot out, your AC should run for a shorter period of time. But if it runs for too short a period of time—say, for about 10 minutes at time—you might have an oversized AC. If your air conditioner is too big for your home, it isn’t as efficient as a properly sized one. Plus, if it turns on and off more frequently, the parts will wear out quickly, and that means more frequent repairs and a shorter lifespan. Plus, an oversized AC doesn’t dehumidify your home very well.

Most of the Time, Aim for A 15 Minute Cycle

Ideally, your AC should run for 15 minutes on nice, warm days. Only on those rare triple-digit temperature days should your air conditioner be running almost all the time. If your AC isn’t following this pattern, you could have a problem. 

To find out if your AC is the right size for your home or if it needs a repair, call Evolved Mechanical today. Our expert licensed HVAC technician will help you find the perfect cooling solution.