The hum of air conditioning has become such a part of everyday life, that it’s something we hardly notice anymore. However, it’s worth focussing your attention on it every now and then as the sounds your AC unit makes are an important tool in diagnosing potential problems.
If you notice, for example, that your air conditioner is running continuously, without the usual on/off cycles, you could have one of several problems, which are listed below.
- Blocked Air Filter
The number one cause of AC malfunctions, dirty air filters. If the airflow over the coils is impeded by dust and debris in the filters, the unit cannot function properly. This means the air conditioner runs continuously in order to reach the thermostat settings as it will not be producing enough cool air.
- Refrigerant leak
If you’re leaking refrigerant, you’ll notice your AC running constantly and does not shut off when set temp reached. This is because there is not enough refrigerant in the system to cool the air to the desired temperature. Other symptoms of a refrigerant leak are hissing or gurgling sounds coming from the unit, and ice on the coils. If you suspect you have a leak, turn the unit off, and call your service company immediately. The refrigerant is expensive to replace and can damage your health and the environment, so the sooner you get it dealt with, the better.
- Leaky Ducts
With central HVAC units, the air is cooled (or heated) and then distributed around your home through a system of ducts. These can develop cracks and leaks over time, especially around the joints, and the cool air will end up going into the walls and crawl spaces of your house, instead of your living area where you want it. This means your unit will have to work harder and harder to pump out more and more cool air in order to reach the required thermostat setting.
- Frozen AC coils
If your coils are frozen, as well as running constantly, your AC will be blowing warm air from your vents. Frozen coils are a serious problem, and you can read more about what causes them and what to do about it here.
- Dirty Coils
If your coils are covered in dust or debris, it can produce the same symptoms as frozen coils, and can eventually lead to actual freezing. You should make sure to clean your coils at least once a year, more often if you live in a neighborhood with a lot of air-borne pollution.
- Electrical fault
If your air conditioner keeps running when turned off, you probably have an electrical fault somewhere. It could be a problem with the remote control or the control panel of the unit. The best thing to do in this case is to switch the unit off using the breaker switch in your fusebox and call a qualified service to diagnose and fix the problem.
These are the 6 main causes of an AC running continuously. Luckily, they can all be avoided with regular professional maintenance of your unit. This will not just save you from the discomfort of malfunctioning air conditioning, it will also save you money in utility bills and possible costly repair work.