Serving Greenwood, Fishers, Carmel, Indianapolis & Surrounding Areas

August 30, 2023

How Long Should an Air Conditioner Run in a Day?

Looking for reliable air conditioning services? Call Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing at (317) 648-5133 today!

If you’re like most people, you probably rely on your air conditioner to keep your home cool during the summer. You expect it to turn on every day and give your home a refreshing blast of cool air, but you also expect it to shut off occasionally. So how long should an air conditioner run on a hot summer day?

At Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing, we know that you want to make sure your air conditioner runs as it should, especially during brutal Indiana summers. And as local air conditioner repair experts in Greenwood, IN, we can tell you everything there is to know about air conditioning systems, including how long they should run during the day to produce sufficient cool air. 

So How Many Hours During the Day Should Your AC Unit Be Running?

The average air conditioner run time for a typical summer day is 12 to 16 hours. But if it’s especially hot or humid outside, it could run for 20 hours or more. 

While your air conditioner will run for several hours during the day, it doesn’t do so consecutively. It should be running in cycles and shutting off periodically.

Ideally, it should cycle on for about 15 or 20 minutes, then shut back off. It should also only cycle on a couple of times every hour, so if you notice it running more frequently, there could be an issue.

What Factors Contribute to Your Air Conditioner's Run Time?

Outdoor air temperature isn’t the only thing that affects how long your air conditioning system will run. Here are some other factors that contribute to AC run time:

  • The thermostat setting: Your air conditioner operates by sending enough cool air into your home to reach the temperature set on your thermostat. So if you accidentally set the temperature too low, your air conditioner is going to run longer and more frequently to keep up.
  • Air conditioner size: If your air conditioner is too small for the space that you’re trying to cool, it’s going to turn on a lot more frequently to try and reach the desired temperature. 
  • The type of air conditioner: Not all air conditioners work the same way, so different types of systems will have different run times.

The Specific Run Times for Different Types of Air Conditioners

As we said, the type of air conditioner you have is going to determine how often it should be running throughout the day. Typically, you can expect the following:

  • Central air systems: Eight to 14 hours 
  • Window units: 12 to 18 hours
  • Portable air conditioners: 16 to 24 hours

What You Need to Know About Design Temperature

When answering the question, “How long should an air conditioner run?” you need to know about design temperature. 

Each state in the U.S. has a unique standard for design temperature, and they base this on the area’s 30-year average maximum temperature. It’s especially important to keep in mind that two different states can have two very different design temperatures. For instance, Arizona’s is 108 degrees Fahrenheit while Indiana’s is only 90 degrees. 

Understanding the design temperature for your state is important when picking out a new air conditioner, but it also plays a factor in how long your system will run during the day. So, for example, if the outside weather is currently sitting at your state’s design temperature, then your air conditioner be running around 12 to 16 hours per day (assuming you set the thermostat to 75 degrees Fahrenheit). Meanwhile, if it’s five degrees hotter than the design temperature, your system will run a little long for about 14 to 20 hours.

Similarly, if the weather outside sits below the design temperature, your air conditioner will run for fewer hours during the day.

How to Maximize Efficiency When Running Your Air Conditioner

When running your air conditioner during especially hot summers, you want to maximize your system’s energy efficiency as must as possible to promote better performance and lower your energy consumption. 

Fortunately, you can do this in a few ways.

Invest in Routine Maintenance

Your air conditioner is a super complex system with a lot of different moving parts and electrical components. And while high-quality units can last you a good while even without proper maintenance, investing in routine maintenance can help significantly extend the life of your unit while improving its energy efficiency.

Routine maintenance also improves air conditioning performance and gives your HVAC technician a chance to spot any potential issues early on, saving you even more money on repairs and premature replacements. 

Minimize How Often You Run Your Air Conditioner

Ideally, you should just run your air conditioner when you actually need it. If you plan to be gone for a couple of days, or even all day, consider shutting it off or setting the thermostat at a higher temperature. This not only helps you save some money but extends the life of your system. 

Reach Out to the Complete Comfort Team Today for Top-Quality Air Conditioning Services

When your air conditioner starts giving you trouble, you need to address the problem as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could have to face worse problems and more expensive repairs down the road. 

Whenever your system starts acting up, just give our team at Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing a call. We’ve got years of experience and the best technicians around, so we can guarantee your complete satisfaction with every job. From simple AC repairs to new system installations, we do it all. 

We are also passionate about educating our customers and helping them learn more about their HVAC systems. We can answer common questions like, “Is overcharging your AC unit a good thing?” and, “How long should an air conditioner run during the day?”

When you need reliable AC service, call Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing at (317) 648-5133!