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Dalton Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electric and Fireplaces, Inc. Blog

How Long Should I Run My AC During the Summer?


There’s a common belief among homeowners that air conditioners have their limits. They do, just maybe not in the way that you think.

For instance, most air conditioners can not reach over 20°F below whatever the temperature is outside. So, if we were to experience a 100°F day, setting the thermostat to 70°F won’t do anything except cause the compressor to keep running, and do so inefficiently.

Another limit is that even with careful, routine maintenance, all air conditioners will eventually wear down to the point that they’re no longer usable. The useful service life of the average cooling system is 10-15 years.

A common question we get, in regards to air conditioning limitations, is “how long should I run my AC during the summer?” The short answer to this is, “as long as you want to!” Here’s the thing…. you can keep your thermostat set to “cool” mode 24/7 during the summer if you want to. This only becomes inefficient and leads to faster wear and tear if you fail to have your system professionally maintained and/or you don’t use your thermostat correctly. Read on to learn more!

What Temperature Should I Set My AC To?

The average person can maintain comfort at 78°F. However, homeowners often set their thermostats lower, thinking it will help their air conditioners cool the home faster. All it actually does is make the compressor run longer, and that’s when it becomes inefficient.

If you have your air conditioner on all day, but set to a reasonable temperature, then the compressor gets more of a break as it will only cycle on during the hottest parts of the day. If, however, you’re gone all day and come home in the afternoon to only turn the AC on then, it will take too long to cool down the home and the compressor will get quite the workout.

How Long Does an AC Last in Iowa?

Air conditioners need routine maintenance once a year (twice a year if it’s a heat pump system). With this routine maintenance, your air conditioner should last about 10-15 years. Beyond this point, it will start needing expensive repair needs and start breaking down more often, costing you more to run in the long run.

Is It Bad to Turn My AC System On and Off?

It’s not that it’s “bad” for your system, but as we explained above, there’s no point in turning it on and off. Turn it on and set the thermostat to a reasonable temperature (around 78°F), and you’re golden! You can get even more efficient use by investing in a smart or Wifi thermostat, which can learn from your cooling preferences and adjust itself accordingly!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team to learn more or to get further clarification on any of the above-mentioned FAQs.

At Dalton Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electric and Fireplaces, Inc., your comfort is our promise! To set up an appointment in the Cedar Rapids area, give us a call at the number above, email or schedule an appointment online for professional AC system service in Marion, IA.

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