Why Your Air Conditioner’s Fan Keeps Running: Unveiling the Mystery

air conditioner compressor fans

In the heat of summer, if the persistent hum of your air conditioning unit becomes the soundtrack of your days, it’s clear there’s an issue that can’t be ignored. Contrary to setting your system to operate non-stop, an air conditioning unit is designed for intervals of rest between cycles. 

Ideally, a cycle usually lasts 15 to 20 minutes, followed by a rest period lasting 7 to 10 minutes before the cycle initiates again. Instances where the unit exceeds 20 minutes of operation without pausing indicate underlying problems that demand attention. 

This article answers a common question, “Why does the fan keep running on my air conditioner?. We explore the reasons behind the continuous operation of your air conditioner’s fan, providing insights and solutions to ensure your system runs efficiently.

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Why Does the Fan Keep Running on My Air Conditioner?

Several reasons can prevent an air conditioner’s fan from turning off, notably:

  • Damage to the fan, affecting its operational cycle.
  • A faulty thermostat unable to correctly regulate the fan.
  • Blocked or dirty air filters, impeding airflow.
  • The fan switch is set to “manual,” causing continuous operation.
  • Condenser coils that are dirty or have frozen over.
  • Excessive warm air entering the home, overworking the unit.
  • An improperly sized unit for the home leads to inefficiency.
  • Aging, damaged, or otherwise compromised ductwork.
  • Insufficient coolant/refrigerant levels in the system.

Worried about your air conditioner running fan non-stop? Trust Lawes Company’s certified technicians to diagnose and resolve the issue effectively.

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Reason #1: Damaged Air Conditioner Fans

air conditioner fan and condenser

In the case of older air conditioning systems, a persistent issue with the fan not shutting off could be traced back to damage. Over time, typical usage and external factors such as debris accumulation near the motor can lead to wear and tear. This can result in the fan becoming cracked or broken. Rather than causing the unit to stop working, this damage typically forces the air conditioner to exert more effort to maintain performance levels, paradoxically increasing its run time.

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Reason #2: Malfunctioning Thermostat

The thermostat functions as the command center for your air conditioning system, guiding it toward its cooling objectives and signaling when it’s time to pause. However, any malfunction within the thermostat can disrupt this delicate balance. Whether it’s inaccurately gauging the indoor temperature or failing to detect it altogether, such issues can mislead your unit into believing its cooling targets remain unachieved, prompting continuous operation.

Reason #3: HVAC Air Filter Complications

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Air filters prevent dust, dirt, and other particles from entering your unit, safeguarding indoor air quality. However, if these filters become old or clogged, they can restrict airflow, compelling the system to operate non-stop to meet its cooling demands. Additionally, even if a filter appears clean or was recently replaced, using the wrong type for your unit can also lead to problems. Filters that are too restrictive can cause the system to overwork, keeping it running continuously.

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Reason #4: Manual Fan Setting

If the fan setting on your air conditioner is switched to “on” or “manual,” the unit will continue running until you manually switch it off. To ensure your system operates efficiently, set it to “auto.” This setting allows the air conditioner to cycle on for 15–20 minutes and then turn off for a rest period of 5–15 minutes, depending on your home’s size, the current weather conditions, and the specific unit. 

If the fan’s off time is shorter than 5 minutes or if the unit operates for less than 15 minutes before turning off, it indicates a problem. Such behavior often means the unit is oversized for your space, leading to short cycling. This wastes energy and fails to remove humidity from your home adequately.

Reason #5: Dirty or Frozen Condenser Coils

air conditoner condensing coils

The condenser coils in air conditioners are crucial for dissipating heat outside your home, but they can accumulate debris, dirt, and dust over time, impairing the unit’s efficiency. Additionally, these coils may freeze due to excess refrigerant, blockages in the lines, or a significant drop in outdoor temperatures. Whether the coils are dirty or frozen, the outcome is the same: an air conditioner that continuously operates without cycling off.

Reason #6: Excessive Influx of Warm Air

When excessive warm air infiltrates your home while the cooled air escapes, your air conditioning system is forced into constant operation to compensate for the loss. In such scenarios, the root issue is not with the air conditioner but with the home’s structure. Minor breaches such as holes, cracks, or gaps around doors and windows and inadequate insulation in the attic or throughout the residence can significantly impact your unit’s efficiency. 

Reason #7: Incorrectly Sized AC Unit

Cooling a large home with an undersized air conditioner is ineffective, resulting in the unit operating non-stop to reach the desired temperature—a goal it can’t achieve. This issue is particularly relevant if the unit is new and persistently fails to shut off, suggesting the unit’s capacity is insufficient for the home’s needs. It would likely have been apparent earlier if this were an ongoing issue.

Don’t let your air conditioner overwork itself. Call Lawes Company and ensure your system is the right size and operates efficiently.

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Reason #8: Ductwork Issues

In many older homes, one reason for continuous air conditioning operation could be deteriorating ductwork. As ductwork ages, it may break down, collapse, or develop leaks, all of which can significantly hinder airflow and force the air conditioning system to overwork. 

Even relatively new ductwork can suffer from leaks, where cooled air escapes before it can effectively circulate throughout the home. Moreover, ducts lacking proper insulation contribute to warming the air as it passes through, diminishing the efficiency of the cooling process. 

Reason #9: Insufficient Refrigerant in the Air Conditioner

Coolant, or refrigerant, is essential for your air conditioner to reduce warm air temperature. While an excess can lead to freezing within the system, a shortage forces the air conditioner to work harder than necessary.

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Consulting an Expert HVAC Contractor

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Continuously overworking your air conditioning unit can lead to a complete system breakdown, resulting in significantly more costly repairs than addressing the initial issue. An air conditioner that fails to cycle off is a complex problem best left to the expertise of a seasoned HVAC professional. Only a qualified technician can accurately diagnose and effectively resolve the issue, ensuring your system operates efficiently and prolongs its lifespan. 

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Lawes Company is the leading heating and cooling solutions provider in the Jersey Shore area. Our team comprises professionally certified technicians who are experts in HVAC repairs, tune-ups, installations, and replacements. We are committed to delivering outstanding quality services to every client.

At Lawes Company, we recognize the critical importance of maintaining a comfortable and energy-efficient home. That’s why we offer competitive pricing for our comprehensive range of services. Our maintenance services can aid in improving comfort levels while minimizing energy costs. 

Should you need an HVAC repair or are considering a system replacement, our knowledgeable technicians are prepared to guide you toward the most cost-effective and suitable options. We stand by the quality of our work with a satisfaction guarantee.

To arrange a service visit, give us a call. We provide free, no-obligation, in-home estimates to assist you in making well-informed choices regarding your HVAC needs. Trust Lawes Company to deliver exceptional heating and cooling services that surpass your expectations!

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