Air conditioners are designed to cycle on and off. They kick on for a while, bring the temperature of your room down to the setting on the thermostat, and then turn off again until the temperature rises a little. If your air conditioner is running constantly instead of turning on and off, then this is a sign that something is wrong. Here's a look at some common causes of constantly running AC units.

Undersized Unit

Sometimes, running non-stop may be a sign that your air conditioner is not large enough or powerful enough to effectively cool your home. The unit may be able to keep up on cooler days when it only needs to bring down the temperature of your home by a few degrees, but when summer temperatures grow hotter, it struggles to keep up. 

If you think your AC unit may be too small, it's important not to ignore this issue. Even if the air conditioner does keep your home satisfactorily comfortable, having to run constantly will put a huge amount of wear and tear on the unit. The air conditioner may fail prematurely, leaving you completely without air conditioning. An HVAC contractor can assess the size of your unit and install a larger one, if needed.

Poorly Designed Ducts

If you live in an older home, there's a good chance the ducts were designed to circulate heated air, but not cool air. They may not be delivering enough cool air to the room where the thermostat is. So, the area around your thermostat may stay warmer than the rest of the home. Even though most of the home is pretty cool, the thermostat is not registering this and is therefore triggering the air conditioner to continue running. 

There are two ways to deal with poorly designed ductwork. Your HVAC technician can install some new ducts, but an easier approach is usually to relocate the thermostat. If the thermostat is placed in an area where the the air circulates more readily, it will register the cooling and trigger the AC to turn off properly.

Faulty Electrical Connections

Is your air conditioner is staying on and cooling your home beyond what the setting on the thermostat calls for? For instance, if you set the thermostat for 74 degrees, does the air conditioner stay on even when the room is 68 or 72 degrees? There may be a problem with the electrical connections, either within the AC unit or between the air conditioner and the thermostat.

Thankfully, electrical issues are not usually very hard to address. Your HVAC contractor can run some diagnostics to figure out which wires or switches are to blame for the issue. They may need to run a new wire or replace the thermostat. 

Dirty Coils

Is the air conditioner running constantly, though the air it blows out doesn't quite feel as cool as it should? Check your condenser coils. If they are very dirty, this may be why you're having trouble with the air conditioner. The dirt may be keeping the "coolness" from transferring to the air blowing through the air conditioner.

Cleaning your AC coils is not very difficult. You can purchase coil cleaner at a hardware store. Spray it on the coils, let it drip off, and then wipe off any remaining residue. While you're at it, replace your air conditioner's filter. This will keep the coils from getting so dirty in the future. Once everything is clean, your AC unit should start operating properly again.

Don't ignore an air conditioner that is running constantly. Chances are, one of the issues above are to blame. Solving the problem will keep you from overburdening and burning out your air conditioner. For more information, contact companies like Hartman Heating, Air and Fireplaces.