For heating & cooling, plumbing, & electrical needs

Find your location


What to Do When Your Air Conditioner Won’t Turn Off? 

There’s nothing better than walking indoors from the sweltering Indiana summer and getting blasted by that refreshing AC. But when that cool relief just keeps on going nonstop, you’ve got a problem brewing. A continuously running air conditioner quickly racks up sky-high utility bills while putting undue strain on components. At some point, that never-ending cycle will inevitably lead to breakdowns if left unchecked.

The tricky part? Pinpointing exactly why your system refuses to take a breather isn’t always so straightforward. It could be something as simple as an incorrect thermostat setting. Or you might be dealing with more complex issues like electrical faults, frozen coils, or undersized equipment struggling to keep up with cooling demands.

This guide runs through the most common culprits forcing your AC into that never-ending operational grind. We’ll cover some basic DIY troubleshooting steps worth trying, plus indicators for when it’s time to call in the professionals before that constant cycling creates even bigger headaches. No homeowner wants to be caught sweating out an unnecessarily prolonged cooling crisis!

Understanding Normal AC Operation

Understanding how air conditioning equipment functions makes it easier to troubleshoot when something doesn’t seem right. Central AC units work on pretty simple principles – constantly circulating refrigerant between indoor and outdoor components to facilitate heat transfer.

That warm air from inside your home blows across the evaporator coil filled with chilled, liquid refrigerant. As it absorbs thermal energy, the refrigerant converts into a gaseous state before heading outdoors. The compressor unit applies high pressure, causing that hot gas to condense back into liquid form while expelling collected heat outside. This cycle provides a continuous stream of cooled air circulating throughout your ductwork.

Here’s the key though – these cooling cycles don’t just run marathons indefinitely. Systems need to pause periodically so refrigerant pressure levels can reset. That’s why you’ll notice air handlers cycling on and off as they maintain thermostat temperature settings. In summer weather, it’s common for ACs to run for 15-30 minute stretches, take a 5-10 minute breather when target temps are achieved, then automatically restart as things heat up again.

Cycle frequencies can vary based on outdoor conditions and interior heat gain factors like occupancy levels, appliance use, etc. But if your system keeps trucking along for hours on end without taking those built-in breaks, you’re looking at a potential issue demanding closer inspection.

Common Reasons Your AC Won’t Turn Off

Even a functional cooling system won’t operate efficiently if electrical faults, airflow restrictions, or improperly sized components prevent standard cooling cycles. Let’s examine some of the most frequent offenders leaving air conditioners running in overdrive.

Faulty Thermostat

That humble wall-mounted thermostat serves as your AC’s brain coordinating when compressors and fans activate based on temperature readings. But thermostats can develop a variety of issues causing them to misfire – failing sensors, software glitches, electromagnetic interference, you name it. If your unit receives faulty run signals continuously, it may never stop even after the desired temperatures are achieved.

Incorrect Thermostat Settings

Sometimes the root cause comes down to good old-fashioned human error too. Maybe someone accidentally switched the thermostat over to “fan on” mode rather than “auto.” Or cooling set points got dialed way too low, forcing your system into an overcorrecting state. Improper programming of any advanced schedules and vacation holdovers can similarly override normal cycling as well. Double-checking all setting inputs proves wise.

Electrical Issues

Your AC’s intricate internal wiring ultimately allows its various motors, compressors, and controls to activate in that synchronized cooling cycle. But any electrical problems from loose connections and tripped circuit breakers to burnt fuses or transformer issues prevent proper shutoffs. When critical components can’t receive that “power down” signal, they just keep chugging away pointlessly. Letting trained professionals inspect for these electrical faults provides your safest solution.

Faulty Fan Limit Switch

This vital safety component monitors air circulation levels to prevent your AC’s indoor components from overheating during operation. If proper airflow gets restricted for any reason, the fan limit switch should automatically shut down the system before potential damage occurs. But these switches can stick or fail, leaving the fan eternally running even after cooling modes conclude. You’ll notice warm air continuously blowing with no refreshing chill. Replacing a faulty switch restores that operational oversight.

Dirty Components

Over months of constant summer usage, dust, dander, and other debris inevitably accumulate throughout your AC system’s indoor components like the evaporator coil and air handler. As this buildup increases airflow restriction, parts overheat and struggle to properly regulate cooling cycles. The end result? You’ve got refrigerant constantly pumping through even after target temperatures are satisfied. Thoroughly cleaning accumulated gunk provides an easy fix.

Frozen Evaporator Coils

While it seems counterintuitive, those evaporator coils designed to remove thermal energy can actually ice over due to insufficient airflow across their chilled surfaces. As frost accumulates, it creates an insulating effect forcing your AC to run continuously trying to overcome lost heat transfer efficiency. Common causes include clogged air filters, collapsed ductwork sections or fan motor failures. Defrosting frozen coils allows proper cycling to resume.

Low Fan Speed

Proper airflow plays a crucial role in facilitating your AC’s heat transfer process. When blower fans can’t circulate air at manufacturer-specified speeds, those systems experience reduced cooling output. In response, your air handler runs overtime trying to compensate for that inefficiency. Low fan speeds are frequently caused by slippage on blower motor pulleys, failing motor capacitors, or clogs further restricting ductwork. Getting blower components serviced restores optimal air circulation.

Undersized AC Unit

Sometimes a home’s cooling system simply isn’t sized adequately to handle extreme temperature disparities or household square footage effectively. An undersized air conditioner operates at maximum output 24/7 struggling to overcome environmental loads exceeding its capacity. This leads to that never-ending cooling cycle as it fruitlessly attempts to satisfy thermostat settings. The only real solution involves upgrading to properly sized equipment.

Whether it’s a thermostat malfunction, frozen coil, blower issue, or something more complex, identifying the root cause of your AC’s endless runtime proves crucial. Prolonged cooling operation leads to spiking utility costs and accelerated system deterioration. Getting to the bottom of interruptions in normal cycling patterns should rank as a top priority!

Troubleshooting Tips for Homeowners

While pinpointing the exact cause behind your AC’s perpetual operation often demands professional HVAC expertise, there are some basic troubleshooting steps homeowners can try themselves first. These DIY measures might just resolve simple issues before they escalate into bigger headaches and repair bills.

Adjusting Thermostat Settings

Let’s start with the obvious – carefully review all thermostat settings to ensure proper cooling cycle programming. If you have it set to “Fan On” mode rather than “Auto,” your blower will run nonstop regardless of whether the AC meets temperature targets. Double-check that desired cool setpoints aren’t abnormally low too. Also, ensure any advanced scheduling or vacation hold modes aren’t overriding normal operations unintentionally.

Checking and Cleaning Air Filters

Among the most common airflow obstruction culprits are clogged air filters. When they get gunked up with dust and debris, that restricted circulation dramatically reduces cooling efficiency. Your AC then runs constantly trying to compensate for that loss in heat transfer. Inspect the filter monthly and clean or replace it anytime you see visible buildup. This simple step can resolve many airflow issues right off the bat.

Removing Airflow Restrictions

While you’ve got filter access, also take a quick look at your indoor air handling unit. Clear away any noticeable debris buildup around the blower fan and evaporator coil fins that could be obstructing airflow. Dislodging those minor clogs might eliminate unnecessary strain. You’ll also want to check on your outdoor condenser unit, removing any shed foliage crowding those coils.

Cleaning the Blower Fan and Fan Blades

Speaking of that indoor blower fan, it’s amazing how much dust and dirt can accumulate on those blades over time restricting RPMs. Use a handheld vacuum and microfiber rags to safely wipe them down. While you’re inspecting the blower motor area, also ensure no noticeable components look burnt out or disconnected which may necessitate professional attention.

When to Call a Professional

Of course, some cooling issues extend well beyond quick homeowner remedies. If adjusting settings, cleaning filters/fans, and removing obstructions don’t restore normal cooling cycles, then scheduling an HVAC service call provides your next best recourse. The same applies if you encounter any potential electrical or refrigerant system hazards. Leaving those intricate components to trained professionals protects your safety and investment.

Attempting these basic DIY steps provides a worthwhile first line of defense against constantly running ACs. But knowing when to call in the experts ultimately prevents minor annoyances from escalating into major repair needs.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Continuous AC Operation

While troubleshooting tips can help restore normal cooling cycles, implementing some preventative best practices provides your best long-term defense against air conditioning systems running excessively. A little proactive maintenance goes a very long way!

Regular Maintenance

Having your AC professionally serviced annually allows certified technicians to thoroughly clean accumulated gunk, check refrigerant levels, ensure proper airflow, and test all electrical connections/controls. This meticulous inspection process catches budding issues before they disrupt normal operations. Most reputable HVAC companies offer affordable tune-up packages too.

Proper Installation

Your cooling system’s ability to cycle efficiently starts with professional installation executed flawlessly to manufacturer specifications. This ensures properly sized equipment for your home’s square footage while optimizing ductwork layout and thermostat control calibrations from day one. DIY amateur setups frequently experience operational hiccups from the get-go.

Monitoring and Adjusting Settings

Don’t just set your thermostat and forget it – actively monitoring interior temperatures can allow you to make incremental setting adjustments maximizing efficiency. On milder days, you may find nudging setpoints up a degree or two provides sufficient comfort while reducing AC runtimes. Making thermostat adjustments based on household occupancy patterns can help too.

The simplest way to avoid that endless cycle of cooling with zero relief? Stay proactive about your HVAC system’s care! Combining preventative professional maintenance with hands-on monitoring helps ensure your air conditioner never has to work harder than absolutely necessary.

Professional AC Repair Services in Indiana

When troubleshooting tips prove ineffective and your air conditioner’s continuous operation persists, it’s time to call in the professionals. For Indiana homeowners, that means turning to the unmatched cooling repair experts at Bassett Services.

Our team has decades of experience diagnosing and resolving virtually any AC issue – from electrical gremlins and mechanical breakdowns to ductwork conundrums and refrigerant leaks. We utilize the latest diagnostic equipment and hands-on inspection methods to pinpoint root causes, not just treat symptoms. It ensures a true fix rather than those ineffective “band-aid” remedies leaving you to sweat out recurring problems.

Bassett’s certified technicians also uphold a customer-first approach on every service call. We walk you through all our findings in detail, explaining all repair options both required and recommended. You’ll receive fully transparent, upfront pricing estimates too before any work proceeds. No surprise fees here!

Our workmanship skills are backed by comprehensive warranties and guarantees as well. Whether it’s a refrigerant recharge, blower replacement, or multi-component overhaul, we ensure repairs restore your cooling system’s intended performance and longevity. You can feel confident inviting Bassett Services into your home.

Most importantly, we understand how urgent AC issues become once temperatures soar. Our teams prioritize rapid response times, working efficiently to get your air conditioner cycling normally again with minimal delays or downtime. Reclaim that cool, comfortable living space quickly!

From DIY troubleshooting to professional service calls, Bassett Services has proven itself as Indiana’s go-to resource for any air conditioning needs over the decades. Don’t resign your household to sweltering discomfort another day. Call (317) 360-0054 to schedule an appointment now!

Our Promises