How Long Should An AC Run? Check These Tips for Best Performance

Are you worried that your AC runs for longer than usual? Or, are you concerned that your AC does not run enough? With so many factors affecting how long your AC runs, it is right for you to worry when you feel that you AC runs for too long or doesn’t run enough. The AC cooling cycle runs until the temperature is set right, and then the cycle stops to save energy and ensure the air inside does not get too cold.

How long should your AC run a day? Read on to learn more.

How Long Should An AC Run? — Contributing Factors

While you are wondering – how long should my AC run? – someone else is leaving their AC to run consistently. This is not only inefficient, seeing that the air inside can get too hot or too cold, but it also uses a lot of energy unnecessarily. Below are some factors that will answer the question – how long should your AC run?

The Weather

The cooling cycle of your AC should last as long as it takes to cool your house to your preferred temperature – there is no set time for the AC to run. The AC will cool your home up to the temperature set on the thermostat, and it will start again when the house begins to warm up.

If the temperature outside the house is only slightly warm, the AC will run for a few minutes. If it is scorching outside and the temperature set on your thermostat is very low, the AC might have to run for longer to achieve the preferred temperature.

If during summer, you set your thermostat temperature lower, the AC will have to run for longer to get to that set temperature. If, however, you adjust your thermostat by a few degrees up in summer, the AC will run for a shorter time, and this will save you energy.

Your AC’s Maintenance and Condition

An AC is like any other machine you have in your house – you maintain it well, and it will run more efficiently. Besides operating efficiently (which means shorter run time), the AC will also have a longer lifespan.

If you do not maintain your air conditioner, it will not maintain you – it will perform less efficiently and run for longer to reach your preferred temperature. An air conditioner that does not run efficiently will increase your electricity bills. As such, if you are in the Phoenix, Arizona area, you need to schedule annual AC maintenance with American Home Water and Air.

They’re located at:

22047 N Black Canyon Hwy
Phoenix, AZ 85027
United States
(602) 993-0083

Your Home’s Size

A larger home takes longer to cool, especially if you have a small AC. If you have a large house and a small AC, you can reduce the AC run time by only cooling the rooms you are using. For instance, on a typical day, you do not need to cool the guest room. You can thus close doors and close off dampers to ensure that you only cool specific rooms.

If you have a large room, you can also get a relatively large AC to match the cooling needs of the room and reduce run time. A large air conditioner can reduce the cooling run time by almost ten minutes – this is referred to as short cycling. While the large air conditioner will cool your home fast, it will not decrease the humidity in your house. After the cooling, you will still feel hot and sticky thanks to the moisture in the room.

When the air conditioner is too small for the size of your home, it will not adequately cool your house, and it might keep running consistently. If your AC runs for 20 minutes or more and still doesn’t change the temperature at all, then it is too small for the task.

Home Insulation

If you keep wondering how long an AC should run on a hot day, you might need to check on your home’s insulation. All year round, your home needs insulation. Insulation keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

With poor insulation, the cold or warm air from outside gets into your house, and the cool or warm air from your home leaks outside. This way, your AC will take longer to cool your house, and you end up spending a lot of money on electricity bills.

How Long AC Should Run On Hot Day: The Standard Answer

All of the above factors affect how long your AC should run. However, they are all affected by how low or high you’ve set your thermostat. On average, your AC needs to run for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. If the AC doesn’t adjust the temperature in your house after 20 minutes, you need to play with the factors discussed above to enhance its efficiency.

By simply adjusting your thermostat and taking good care of your AC, you will not ever wonder – how long should your AC run a day?


When your AC runs efficiently, it will only run for about 20 minutes and then stop. Even when the temperatures outdoors are so hot, it is not a good idea to let your AC run all day. For starters, running the AC consistent will shorten its lifespan of 15 to 20 years seeing that parts will wear out fast. Again, this will waste a lot of energy.

It is also not a good idea to let your ASC run when you are away from home. When there is no one in the house, running an AC will only wear it and increase your bills. Again, you do not need your AC to run when you are sleeping as it will also be an unnecessary waste of energy. You can optimize the efficiency of your AC by tweaking a few of the factors above. If your house is not well insulated, insulating it will shorten the AC run time.

While there is no definite answer to the question – how long should your AC run? – know that should run for as short a period as possible without leaving a lot of humidity in the room.


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