How Many Hours Should AC Run Per Day? +3 Reasons Your Unit Keeps Cooling

AC units make our homes comfortable regardless of the weather conditions. But if you’re worried about your electricity bill or simply about the efficiency of your unit, you may be wondering how many hours should AC run per day. In this article, we’ll outline some common guidelines for AC users and give you the low-down on various usage strategies, so stick around.

Generally, you can let your AC run all day. The amount of time you run your AC unit depends on the climate in your area and your personal preferences. Many central or even ductless AC units are made with a built-in thermostat that controls when the AC runs based on the desired temperature of the room you’re trying to cool.

Read on for more information on the number of hours AC should run per day.

how many hours should AC run per day

Is It Okay To Run AC 24/7?

So how many hours should AC run per day, exactly? Running your Air Conditioner 24/7 is completely safe. If you keep the air conditioner running all day, no part of it should get hot or melt. If you forget to turn it off, its performance should not be harmed. The amount of time you run your AC unit depends mostly on the climatic conditions, as there are times when there’s no need to let it run for long. Also, this depends on how effective the AC unit is. If it takes a shorter time to achieve the desired temperature, there’s no need to keep running as it will be a waste of energy. 

Remember that an AC will not work continuously, even if it runs all day long. For example, on a humid day, the AC can operate for an average of 15 to 20 minutes as it tries to make the room favorable to stay in. After that, it goes off, as its built-in thermostat senses that the room is already at the desired temperature. This is normal with the non-inverter ACs

Note that the cooling process happens only when the compressor is on. So, when it keeps going on and off, the unit isn’t actually running. Also, the compressor consumes a higher percentage of power, about 90% of what the whole AC system requires to operate. 

If you’ve got the right ac that’s ideal for your room’s size, it means your ac will run for between 70 and 80% of the time. This means in a day, the compressor will operate for at least 16 hours per day during average hot days. But during the scorching days, it will run for around 90-100% in a day, or 22-24 hours a day.

What Causes your AC unit’s compressor to run longer on a given day?

The following causes are common reasons why your AC unit’s compressor may be running more in a given period of time. Look through this list and see which cause applies to your situation. If you’re trying to save money, addressing any of these issues may help.

Using The Wrong Size AC unit

If you’ve got a bigger room and use a smaller AC unit, it will have to operate longer to help you achieve the desired temperature. This is because the cooling demands of the room are higher than what the AC can achieve. Due to this fact, it will keep working for longer in a bid to make the room favorable to stay in.

If this is the case with your unit, in the end, you’ll end up spending more money on electricity bills as the AC will consume extra power. It may also not help you reach the desired temperature, which might prompt you to let it operate throughout the day. 

This is mostly relevant if you’re using a ductless, mini-split AC unit rather than a central heating and cooling system. Ductless units are installed against a wall in a particular room and are best for cooling one room at a time.

The table below shows the number of BTUs required to cool rooms of different sizes. Of course, this is always dependent upon the temperature of the rooms prior to cooling, but it should give you a general idea of the proper sized AC unit for your space.

Room Size (SQ. FT.)Required # of BTUs
400 11,500

Higher Temperatures from The Surrounding Environment

Another reason that can make your AC run all through the day is when there are extremely high temperatures outside. This is, of course, the reason you’re using an AC unit, to begin with, but higher temperatures will require the compressor to run longer and work harder to cool the rooms in your house.

Additionally, if there are other heat sources indoors that increase the temperatures, it will force your AC to run continuously to cool the room down. This can be equipment like ovens, dryers, or cookers that release heat to the house, forcing your AC to work extra hard to make the rooms comfortable to stay in.

Wrong Thermostat Settings

Furthermore, if you set your thermostat to a low setting, it will take the AC unit more time to make the room favorable to stay in. This will cause the AC to run longer trying to meet the desired temperature.

For example, if you set the thermostat at 50 degrees, but the outdoor temperature is 80, it will struggle to decrease the temperature and may even malfunction. So, check on the thermostat settings and adjust them accordingly to avoid overworking your AC.

Different people have different preferences when it comes to the temperature of a given room. That said, 50° is way too low. The average person sets their AC unit between 69° and 71°. So the answer to the question, “how many hours should AC run per day,” really depends on the user. For some people it may require more time to get to the setting they prefer than others.

You May Also Like: Thermostat Reads Higher Than Actual Temperature – 6 Causes & Solution

How many hours should AC run per day? (What are the Risks)

So how many hours should AC run per day, exactly? And what are the risks of running it all day long? The answer is it really depends on your family’s individual circumstances.

That being said, you can typically run an AC unit all day with no issues. However, there may be a few risks to running it this way in the long run. Check out the headings below to learn more.

It’s parts will wear out faster

Having your AC run all through the day will, of course, engage each of its component parts for longer periods of time, which, in the long run, will strain them more than if you only used the unit occasionally. This will affect its components and make them wear out faster than they otherwise would have.

You will, in this case, spend more money repairing or replacing the worn-out parts as they’ll degrade more quickly. For example, the filter will have higher levels of dirt accumulation because of continuous use, forcing you to replace or clean it more often.

High Energy Consumption Rate

When you allow your AC to run longer in a day, you’ll pay more for each of your electricity bills. This can inconvenience your budget. So, if you’re working on a tight budget, it’s advisable to let it run for specific hours and then turn off the device during times you won’t be in the home. Running a central AC unit typically uses between 3000 and 3500 watts per hour. This comes out to an average cost of about $0.36 or $0.42 per hour of usage.

Regular Maintenance 

When your AC works without a break, its vital elements will struggle to keep working. In the end, some might stop running, forcing you to do repairs. If this goes on for long, you’ll have to do frequent maintenance, which can be costly and time-consuming. 

Though maintenance will be required for all AC units, if you run yours more frequently, it will inevitably require maintenance more often. The least invasive form of maintenance a consistently used unit will need is a filter replacement or cleaning. You should clean or replace the filter on your AC unit every month.

Summary of How many hours should AC run per day?

So, for how many hours should AC run per day? There’s no harm in allowing your AC to run for 24 hours per day. However, be ready to pay more electricity bills when you do this.

Also, you’ll have to do more frequent maintenance and repairs to have your AC unit in tip-top shape. If you choose to run your unit 24/7, ensure you have the right thermostat settings and use the ideal size of AC for your rooms.

How many hours should your AC run per day?

The answer to the question of how many hours should AC run per day depends on a number of different factors. In general, it’s pretty safe to run your AC unit 24/7, so long as it has a built-in thermostat to regulate the time your compressor will be running.

how many hours should an AC run per day?

If you’re wondering how many hours should AC run per day, you’ll need to look at the temperature of your area, as well as figure out what kind of internal temperature is best for you. The answer to this question is the compromise you’re willing to make between the cost of electricity and your own comfort level.

What’s the best air conditioner size for my room?

This depends on the size of your room, the height of the ceilings, and the type of insulation your room has. There are many great resources online that will allow you to calculate the number of BTUs needed to cool off rooms of varying sizes efficiently.

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