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The AC That Won’t Shut Off—Why Is This Happening?

Posted on: June 25, 2018

How much do you run your air conditioner during the summer? You might say, “All the time,” but you know that’s an exaggeration. On hot days it may feel like you have to keep the air conditioner’s compressor running continually to keep you cool, but the compressor of an air conditioner is designed to go through cycles as it lowers the indoor temperature to meet the setting on the thermostat. You should hear the compressor turn on and off a few times during a hot day.

If the air conditioning compressor really is running nonstop, then there’s something wrong with it. There are a range of possibilities, and we’ll look at a few of the most common. If you do need air conditioning repair in Chapel Hill, NC, you can reach our professionals 24/7 for the fast service necessary to get you cool again.

  • The air conditioner is undersized: We mentioned that the air conditioner cycles off during the day as it reaches the temperature on the thermostat. But what if the AC can’t reach that temperature because it’s just not powerful enough? This can happen if amateurs installed the AC in the first place without accurately sizing the unit. The only way to fix this problem is to replace the air conditioner—and make sure licensed professionals size the new AC so it can cool your home.
  • The thermostat is miscalibrated: If the thermostat doesn’t register that the air conditioner has cooled the house down to the set temperature, the AC won’t cycle down. A miscalibrated thermostat that is reading temperatures higher than normal can cause this to happen. Fortunately, this is a simple problem for a professional to correct.
  • The ductwork is leaking: Air leaks inside the ductwork can allow up to 30% of the air moving through the ventilation system to escape. If too much cool air gets out, the AC’s compressor will not be able to keep up and it will be forced to continue to work. Professional duct sealing can restore the ventilation system to resolve this.
  • There is dirt along the coils: Either the indoor or outdoor coils of the AC can pick up dust and dirt. Any layer of grime on the coils restricts the heat exchange that removes heat from inside the house and exhausts it outside, leading to an air conditioner that must keep running. (Please don’t try to clean the coils on your own. This requires special cleaning chemicals, not blasting water into the unit.)
  • The air filter is clogged: Sometimes an air filter can become so congested that the restriction of cool air moving across the indoor coil will be as bad as if the coil itself were covered with dirt. Remember to change the filter regularly to prevent this. (We recommend every 1 to 3 months.)
  • The system is too old: A nonstop compressor can be a warning that the AC is near the end of its service life. An HVAC technician can tell you if it’s better to replace the unit or repair it.

Find the AC repair work you need. Bud Matthews Services is here for all your home service needs in the Durham area.

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