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How Long Should An AC Run After Reaching The Right Temperature?

An Air Conditioner is one of the most magical inventions ever. Thanks to it, life in summer has become comfortable, no matter how hot the heat is outside. The simple sound of AC running on a hot summer day is enough to make you feel cool and relaxed. 

But, have you wondered how long your air conditioner should be running after reaching the right temperature? Should it keep on running to maintain the temperature? Or should it simply turn off and turn on when it’s needed to run again? 

Well, the answer is that modern Air Conditioners run on cycles. Each cycle takes place in about 20 minutes which means that there are about 3 cycles every hour. The time your air conditioner takes to reach the right temperature varies on different factors, which we will be discussing later in this post, but once it reaches the right temperature, your AC should ideally stop running and automatically turn on when conditioning is needed. 

If your Air Conditioner does not turn off, even after it has cooled your house down, then there might be a problem with your AC unit. It may take much longer to reach the right temperature due to a malfunction in the system, or it is not able to detect that it has reached the right temperature even if it has. In any case, you might need immediate air conditioner service in Melbourne

In this post, we’ll be discussing a few simple things about your Air Conditioner’s duration of running and the factors that may be affecting it. Based on this, you shall be able to decide whether your Air Conditioner is working right or requires a service. 

How Long Should An Air Conditioner Be Running?

It is important for every homeowner to understand that the Air Conditioner works hard to cool the house down. The higher the temperature outside the harder the air conditioner will have to work. Thus, it makes sense if the AC is running almost constantly during the summer heat.

However, on milder days, considering your Air Conditioner servicing is done and that it is in perfect working condition, your AC should cycle on and off approximately every 20 minutes. Keep in mind, that the following factors affect the cycling of your AC system. 

  • Weather conditions and the temperature outside
  • The size of the AC unit installed in your home 
  • The insulation quality and quantity of your house 
  • The working condition of the Air Conditioner 

Based on this, you can say that the higher temperature will obviously make your AC unit work for a longer duration. Furthermore, if the Air Conditioner installed in your home is small in size, it may take longer to achieve the desired temperature. Additionally, if your house is well insulated, it could help your air conditioner cool down your house faster. 

What Can Make Your AC Run Longer?

Now you know, that your AC may run longer than usual if the outside temperature is very hot. On top of it, if the humidity is higher too, the AC will run longer and more frequently as well. But apart from this, lets look at other factors that can make your AC run longer. 

Thermostat Settings 

The settings on your thermostat can greatly extend the duration and effort of your Air Conditioner. For instance, setting your thermostat to 18°C will make your AC run longer than when it is set to 22°C. The fact is that setting your thermostat to even a couple of degrees higher can reduce the load on your AC and also save more money on your energy bills. While you may love to cool your house down as much as possible, consider finding a middle ground for you and your AC so that none of you take in the extra load. 

The Size of Your AC Unit 

In the world of Air Conditioning, the thumb rule is that bigger is better. If your AC isn’t shutting off even after running for long time, then it is possible that your AC is too small for your house. But here’s the thing, a unit which is too big can also lead to problems. Your AC should be running in about 20 minute cycles, but if your AC is shutting off in shorter time than that, then you most likely have an AC that is too big for your house. 

While it may not sound like a problem, what actually happens is that your Air Conditioner might have cooled down your home sufficiently, but it may not have properly dehumidfied the house. AC experts usually call this problem, short cycling, referring to the point that the AC runs in shorter cycles than needed. In this scenario, even if your house is cooled down, your may still feel sticky and hot due to humidity. 

Dirty Air Filters and Coils 

If you notice that your AC is running constantly, but the temperature on the thermostat doesn’t change, then you may have a clogged air filter. A dirty air filter stops air from efficiently moving from the AC unit to the vents, causing problems within the Air Conditioner. 

On the other hand, a dirty coil will prevent flowing the air freely into the AC unit. This totally drops if the efficiency of the AC unit as it keeps trying to cool the house, but it won’t be possible with a dirty coil. If this is the problem with your AC, then its highly recommended that you call an expert as soon as possible to get your air conditioner service done. 


Remember, ideally once your Air Conditioner reached the right temperature, it should turn of its cycle. But if its not turning off and is constantly running, then it could be because of any of the reasons mentioned above. The best way to keep your Air Conditioner in shape for a long time is to schedule annual Air Conditioner servicing. Regularly servicing your Air Conditioner will not only keep it in top shape, but will also prevent any underlying issues from getting bigger and costlier. 

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