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How Many Hours Should AC Run Per Day? (Or Continuously?)

Ac Run Per Day

The cooling comfort of an air conditioner can make you want to stay indoors all day long. So it is no surprise that many people leave their AC running 24 hours daily.

But how safe is it to leave an air conditioner running for a long time?

Although it seems logical to shut off your air conditioner at least once a day, you’d be surprised just how efficient these modern-day workhorses can be.

Designed for extended use, today’s air conditioner can keep your home cool and comfy for as long as you need it.

  • Most modern-day air conditioners can run for hours, days, and even weeks without a problem.
  • There are some cases when you might need to turn off your AC.
  • Any situation that overworks the air conditioner components will require more frequent rest periods.

Air conditioners have come a long way since they were first invented. Today, modern air conditioner models are designed with all-day cooling power, so you can enjoy comfortable indoor climates without worrying about damage to your unit.

Is It Safe To Leave an Air Conditioner On for 24 Hours?

Air Conditioner On

The short answer is yes. It’s safe to leave your air conditioner running for 24 hours.

Depending on the make and model of your AC unit, you may even be able to keep it turned on 24 hours, seven days a week. But that also depends on the settings that you use.

The best way to keep your air conditioner in proper working order despite keeping it on for a whole day is to ensure its thermostat is automatic.

This feature lets the unit shut off once it reaches the desired temperature. It will cycle on and off throughout the day to maintain cool comfort.

This feature makes it possible for your air conditioner to run just about 60-70% of the time. This relieves much of the stress on the compressor and condenser while maintaining the ideal indoor climate.

However, in hotter weather, your AC might have to work 80-100% of the time, even when automatic.


If your space is too big for your air conditioner, it will work overtime to achieve the right temperature. That’s why it’s important to make sure you choose the right horsepower for the room or area you want to cool.

In cases where the air conditioner is poorly fit to the space it’s working in, you may have to turn it off more often to prevent overworking its components.

When Is It Time To Turn Off an AC Unit?

Turn Off Ac

All good things must come to an end. While you might feel exceptionally comfortable in an air-conditioned space, turning off your unit now and again is necessary, albeit not daily.

Here’s when you might have to turn off your AC:

  • Maintenance – AC units are not impervious to damage, wear, and tear. Air conditioners that run for extended periods will also require more maintenance and upkeep. Turn your AC off when it’s time for a routine check-up and cleaning.
  • Frozen condenser coils – Many things can cause frozen condenser coils, but sometimes, running your AC too long can cause frost to form. Turn it off for a few hours to melt away the ice. This should keep your unit running more efficiently.
  • Energy conservation – If there isn’t anyone at home to benefit from the cool climate, turn your AC off. Even modern-day air conditioners will cause a spike in your electrical bill if you keep them on for too long. Save as much energy as possible by turning your AC off when not in use.
  • High outdoor temperatures – Your AC will work extra hard to bring temperatures down when it’s hot. This can overwork your AC and cause damage to its various components.
    So while it might seem counterintuitive, it could help to give your air conditioner a break during the hot summer months. Turning it off once every one or two days can help its parts cope with the demand.


In most cases, you should be able to run an air conditioner for a whole day without worrying about any damage to its components.
When an AC unit is properly matched to the size of the space it’s working to cool down, you should be able to keep it turned on for weeks without incurring any repairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens When You Leave an AC On for Too Long?

The most common issue would be freezing condenser coils. However, if you have an older model, you could also have trouble with the compressor belt.

Fortunately, these issues are easily resolved through DIY repairs or by calling in an HVAC specialist.

Does an Air Conditioner Need To Rest?

In theory, modern-day air conditioners are designed to run for hours and hours without a problem.

Issues start to arise, however, when ACs are used in rooms that are too big for their cooling performance. They could also malfunction when used excessively in exceedingly hot ambient temperatures.

Anything that overworks an AC unit requires you to turn it off to rest now and then. This helps reduce the risk of damage.

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