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Australia's scorching summers bring with them the reliance on air conditioning systems to seek refuge from the relentless heat. However, a question frequently arises whether letting your AC run constantly is bad.

In this exploration, we'll delve into the benefits and misconceptions surrounding constant AC operation and provide insights to help you decide about keeping your cool.

Benefits of Running Your AC Constantly

Consistent comfort

One of the primary advantages of allowing your AC to run non-stop is maintaining a consistent indoor temperature. This constant cooling can offer comfort and relief from the sweltering heat in a country like Australia, where temperatures can fluctuate dramatically.

Humidity control

Continuous operation of your AC also helps regulate indoor humidity levels. High humidity can lead to mould growth, discomfort, and health issues. Allowing your AC to run constantly can help mitigate these problems by maintaining optimal humidity levels.

Energy efficiency

Modern AC units are specifically designed with energy efficiency in mind. Many systems feature variable speed fans and smart technology that adjust cooling output based on real-time needs. This means that running your AC constantly might not result in excessive energy bills, as the unit is programmed to operate efficiently.

Reduced strain

Contrary to the misconception that constant operation strains the AC system, it can reduce wear and tear. Frequent start-stop cycles that occur when turning the unit on and off can lead to more stress on the components. Allowing the AC to run constantly minimises this strain, potentially extending the unit's lifespan.

Faster cooling

When you initially turn on your AC, keeping it constantly running ensures rapid cooling. This is particularly beneficial when seeking quick relief from the heat, as the system won't need to catch up to the desired temperature.

Misconceptions About Constant AC Operation

Higher energy bills

While running your AC constantly consumes more energy than intermittent operation, modern AC units are designed to be energy-efficient. The difference in energy consumption might not be as substantial as anticipated, making continuous operation more feasible than you might think.

Impact on AC lifespan

Fears that continuous AC operation shortens the lifespan of the unit are unfounded. ACs are built to handle ongoing use, and the frequent wear caused by starting and stopping the system can lead to more rapid deterioration.

Overcooling concerns

The presence of built-in thermostats in modern AC units quells concerns about overcooling. These thermostats regulate cooling output to maintain a steady temperature, preventing excessive cooling.

Maintenance considerations

Running your AC constantly doesn't inherently lead to increased maintenance needs. Regardless of usage patterns, regular maintenance remains essential to ensure peak AC performance and longevity of the system.

Tips for Efficient AC Usage

Programmable thermostat usage

Investing in a programmable thermostat for your AC allows you to set varying temperatures for different times of the day. This can prevent unnecessary cooling when you're not at home or when outdoor temperatures are milder.

Keeping doors and windows closed

To maximise your AC's efficiency, ensure doors and windows are closed when the system is running. This stops cool air from escaping and warm air from infiltrating, helping the AC maintain a stable indoor temperature.

Proper insulation

A well-insulated home reduces the load on your AC system. It helps keep the cool air inside and the hot air outside, making your AC's job more manageable and enhancing overall energy efficiency.

Regular maintenance practices

Regardless of usage patterns, regular AC maintenance is crucial. Clean or replace filters, check for refrigerant leaks and ensure all components are in excellent working condition to ensure the system's optimal performance.

Modern AC Units and Energy Efficiency

Today's air conditioning units have evolved to prioritise energy efficiency. These advancements stem from understanding the growing environmental concerns and the need for sustainable cooling solutions.

Modern AC units often feature variable-speed fans, which adjust their speed based on the cooling needs of the space. This dynamic control helps conserve energy by preventing unnecessary cooling when the desired temperature has been reached.

Additionally, many AC units now come equipped with smart technology which allows users to remotely control the system. This feature enables you to adjust settings based on your schedule and preferences, further optimising energy usage.

Understanding Thermostat Functionality and Evaporator Coils

The thermostat, a central component in your AC system, is vital in maintaining a comfortable indoor environment. It functions by sensing the current temperature and comparing it to your set temperature.

When the actual temperature deviates from the set temperature, the thermostat signals the AC to either cool or heat the space accordingly. One crucial aspect of this process involves the evaporator coils, which absorb heat from the indoor air.

As the warm air passes over these coils, it's cooled, and moisture is removed, leading to the refreshing coolness that fills the room. In coordination with these coils, the thermostat ensures that your space remains within a specific temperature range, preventing excessive cooling even during constant AC operation.

By understanding the intricate dance between thermostat functionality and the role of evaporator coils, you gain a comprehensive view of how your AC unit maintains the balance between comfort and energy efficiency. These components work harmoniously to deliver the cooling relief you seek while keeping your energy bills in check.

Impact of Continuous Operation on Energy Bills

It's natural to wonder how running your AC constantly impacts your energy bills. While continuous operation consumes more energy than turning the AC on and off, the energy efficiency measures in modern units can somewhat offset this difference.

When evaluating the impact on energy bills, it's essential to consider factors such as the AC unit's energy efficiency rating, the size of the space being cooled, and the overall insulation of your home.

When Should Your AC Unit Run Constantly?

There are times in a year when your air conditioning system should run constantly to cool your space. For example, during the hot summers, you will note that your system doesn't stop running. During this time, you shouldn't be concerned because it's normal for the appliance to run continuously when scorching outside.

The system runs constantly to keep up with the incoming heat and maintain a constant and desirable temperature in your space. Extended runs during the hot conditions mean your system is functioning as it should.

Top Reasons Your AC is Running Constantly

Several issues can make your AC run constantly, even when it is not supposed to. Here are some of these issues.

Blocked airflow

For your unit to work efficiently, smooth airflow is required. This means that if the airflow is blocked from and to your system, it struggles to function. Therefore, it keeps on running even when it is not supposed to. Some things limiting airflow to your air conditioner include ductwork leaks, a bad motor, a clogged air filter, and blocked or closed vents.

You can test your system by holding your hand up to an open vent, whereby you will feel a cool but weak airflow. To solve the issue, it's advisable to turn off your unit and replace the air filter in the AC. Then, ensure that all the vents are free of blockages. You should call your AC technician for help if the issue isn't resolved.

Dirty evaporator coils

Your system's refrigerant moves through the evaporator coils and absorbs heat from the space in your office or home. When the coils are clean, there is smooth movement of the refrigerant. However, when the coils get dirty, it becomes hard for the refrigerant to move and absorb heat.

The layers of grime buildup create a barrier, and your system keeps running, but your space doesn't get any cooler. Your unit does the opposite because it blows out warm air instead of cold air. To ensure this problem doesn't occur, ensure your evaporator coils are cleaned annually during your unit's scheduled yearly maintenance.

Refrigerant leak

When your unit doesn't have enough refrigerant, it keeps running constantly as it tries to make up for the difference. The refrigerant should never run out or require to be topped up. It should only be topped when it leaks.

If you recognise a leak when you see icy buildup on your system, your space doesn't get cooler, and your system produces a hissing sound. You must fix the leak immediately to allow your system to work more efficiently.

Ageing AC unit

Your air conditioning system won't last forever. With proper maintenance, your system will last for about fifteen years. So, if your system grows old, it begins to experience several issues that warrant a replacement.

With age, your system is forced to work harder to provide the same results as it used to when it was new. So if you notice that your old unit is running past its lifespan, it's time to upgrade to a more efficient one.

Wrong sized unit

If your air conditioning system is too small for your office or home, it will be forced to run at all times to cool your space. This makes your system wear out often, leading to more repairs and shortened lifespan.

You should get the right-sized one when installing or replacing your unit. If you aren't sure of the right-sized unit for your space, you should seek help from your AC technician. They will assess your space and cooling needs to determine the size that will serve you for many years.

Damaged thermostat

If your air conditioner isn't shutting off, the problem may be caused by a damaged thermostat. With a dysfunctional thermostat, your office or home spaces will reach the desired temperatures, but the device will not register the conditions. This makes your unit keep on running.

You can check your thermostat by placing another thermometer close to the thermostat. After one or two hours, check the readings. If the temperature is at or close to the desired space temperature, this indicates you have an issue with your thermostat.

Wrong setting on your blow fan

Your unit may also run constantly if the blow fan is set wrongly. The fan should be set to Auto, which means that the fan will only run when the air conditioner is performing a cooling or heating cycle. When the air is conditioned, the fan blows it throughout your space, bringing the desired temperatures.

If your fan is set to on, it will run continuously whether the unit is in a cooling cycle or not. In this case, you don't have to replace or repair your system. You should adjust the settings to Auto to work perfectly.

Air Conditioner Maintenance is Crucial

Regular maintenance is necessary to ensure your air conditioner doesn't run continuously or develop other issues. It is advisable to carry out the maintenance twice a year, during the spring before it gets hot and early fall when the weather has cooled off and you are no longer using it. If your system's coils, ducts or air filter have dirt or grime buildup, it will experience airflow restrictions and inefficient cycling.

During maintenance, your AC technician will assess your system to ensure all the components are well-lubricated and clean. They will replace all worn-out parts and ensure the thermostat works correctly. Regular maintenance does not only solve the problems but also extends its lifespan.

You spend a lot of time and money installing an air conditioning system in your home or office. To protect your investment and ensure that the system always works in the right conditions, you should only entrust a highly qualified and experienced AC technician to work on your system.

A good technician will perform high-quality installation, repair, maintenance, replacement, and inspection to ensure your system is in perfect condition. They also charge a price that matches the quality of work done, thus making the air conditioner a valuable investment for your home or business.

Seek Expert Guidance on AC Operation 

In the face of Australia's blazing summers, air conditioning becomes a lifeline to escape the sweltering heat. The question of whether running your AC constantly is detrimental has been dissected, and the verdict is clear: constant running of the AC is not as bad as it's often perceived to be.

Rather than fearing the consequences, understanding the benefits, dispelling the misconceptions, and adopting smart practices can help you make informed decisions that balance comfort and efficiency. While this exploration sheds light on the nuances of AC operation, remember that every home is unique, and individual circumstances vary.

For personalised guidance tailored to your specific needs, it's advisable to consult HVAC professionals. These experts possess the knowledge and experience to assess your home, recommend optimal cooling strategies, and ensure that your AC unit functions as it should.

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