How Long Can AC Run Continuously?

Your air conditioning system is an important appliance in your home, making sure that the indoor temperature remains comfortable even on the hottest days. Homeowners often wonder if they can run the AC continuously, but for optimal AC performance, this is not recommended.  

Air conditioning systems can run continuously for 24 hours, but doing this should be avoided. An AC running continuously can increase energy consumption, lead to wear and tear of the AC system, cause the need for more frequent repairs, and ultimately reduce its lifespan.

Understanding more about your air conditioner and how it functions as well as what could lead to it running continuously is important to ensure that you can count on this system when you need it most.

Worker Checking On Thermostat

Understanding How an Air Conditioning Unit Functions

Your air conditioner has a running cycle that uses periods of active cooling with the compressor on. This is followed by periods of rest when the compressor is off.

These cycles of your air conditioner will depend on many factors. The size of your AC unit, the outdoor temperature, and your desired indoor temperature all impact how it functions.

Even though your air conditioner could technically run longer, the longer an air conditioner runs, the more wear and tear it incurs. In other words, an AC continuously running is a sign of concern, and you’ll want an HVAC professional to see what is causing the issue.

How Long Can an Air Conditioner Blow Cold Air?

Your AC unit is designed to be durable through the years. An AC unit can run 24 hours a day, but this doesn’t mean that it should. It will still blow out cool air, but the longer it keeps running to maintain your desired temperature, the more likely it will be to break down.

The greater the run time of your air conditioner, the greater the toll it takes. You need your air conditioner to take regular rests to avoid this type of damage and allow it to reach its lifespan.

What Is Causing Your AC Unit to Run Constantly?

While air conditioners tend to run in longer cycles during the hot summer months, your AC running continuously is not a good sign. You may need to call for maintenance as certain parts may be wearing out in your AC unit.

Most air conditioners that continue to run non-stop may be experiencing a problem. This comprehensive guide details the most common causes that make an air conditioner run overtime.

Thermostat Settings

When you notice your air conditioner continuing to run, you should first check your thermostat. A faulty thermostat could mean it isn’t reporting the correct temperature in your home. It may never reach your desired temperature on the thermostat and simply struggle to keep up, all the while increasing your electricity bill.

Undersized Compressor

The compressor in your air conditioner is designed to regulate the cool air in your home. If it is not the right size, it cannot keep up with the demand on hot days.

Frozen Evaporator Coil

An air conditioner that can’t keep your home cool may have a frozen evaporator coil. This means your home won’t be at a comfortable temperature. When your air conditioner isn’t cooling the air, this is a likely cause that you will want to have repaired by an HVAC company immediately.

Blocked Airflow

If something is blocking the airflow to your air conditioner, this could cause it to run 24/7. Make sure you check your supply vents and change your air filter. A dirty air filter can cause your AC to work harder than necessary to keep you cool.

Outside Temperature

When it’s hot outdoors, your air conditioner will naturally run for longer periods. However, if it never stops or is short cycling, this is a major issue that signals the need for repair.

Wrong Size Air Conditioner

The type and size of your AC are important factors. When your AC is too big or too small, it cannot provide the comfort you need.


Proper insulation is the key to a harmonious AC. Your insulation may have deteriorated over the years and require a refresh. Well-insulated spaces help prevent the cooled air from escaping your home. Additionally, it is important to consider the insulation of the wires because when it wears down, it could create unpleasant sounds.

What Could Happen If You Run Your AC All the Time?

For efficient cooling, you should not run your AC all the time. It could lead to increased energy consumption and higher energy bills. Running your AC for long periods also reduces the system’s lifespan. The parts will wear out much more quickly when you allow very long cycles.

Frequent repairs are also a common result of running your AC constantly. The parts may fail, leading to the need for emergency repairs fast. The longer this goes on, the more likely you are to experience discomfort as your AC struggles to cool your home.

Technician Checking Pressure Gauges Of The AC

How to Get Your AC Running Right

Save energy by reducing heat-generating activities inside when it’s hot outdoors. You should also be sure to have regular maintenance to keep your air conditioner thriving no matter the weather. Learning to recognize what the normal conditions are for your AC as it runs will help you spot when it is having problems.

Prolonged continuous running of your AC can expend more energy, reduce the lifespan of your system, require more repairs, and decrease your comfort. The way to maintain optimal performance, even in the heat, is to schedule regular maintenance. In Las Vegas, Active Plumbing and Air Conditioning has been keeping the area cool for over 25 years.

You can schedule an appointment to maintain your system, which is recommended before the weather gets too hot. If you have an emergency, we are available 24/7 to provide the expert HVAC repair you need anytime. 

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