Hate Your Home but Don't Want to Move? Renovate It

« Back to Home

It Keeps Running And Running: 3 Steps To Take If Your AC Won't Shut Off

Posted on

Now that the warm weather is here, you've probably already turned your air conditioner on. If it's been running non-stop since you turned it on, your air conditioner might have some problems that you weren't aware of. Listen to it for a while longer -- about an hour or two. If your air conditioner still hasn't turned off by then, you'll need to start tracking down the culprit. Here are three things you should do if your air conditioner won't stop running.

Start with the Thermostat

When your air conditioner won't cycle off, the best place to start is with the thermostat. Your thermostat controls the whole system. If it's not working properly, neither will your air conditioner.


If you've recently moved into your home, you might not have paid much attention to the location of the thermostat. However, if it's in the wrong place, your air conditioner might not know when to shut off. Use a portable thermometer to determine the temperature near your thermostat. Next, use the same thermometer to measure the temperature in the rest of the house. If the area around your thermostat is warmer than the rest of your home, it might not be getting an accurate reading. Talk to your air conditioning technician about having your thermostat relocated to another area of the house.

Fan Setting

If the location of your thermostat isn't the issue, it's time to check the fan setting. Look at the bottom of your thermostat and locate the lever labeled "fan." You'll notice two settings, "manual" and "auto." If the fan is set to "manual" switch it over to "auto." Manual setting will keep your fan running non-stop.

Replace the Filter

If your air conditioner keeps running and running, you might have a dirty filter. When the filter is clogged with dirt and debris, the air flow is obstructed. When that happens, your air conditioner won't be able to work effectively, which means it might need to run longer to reach the right temperature. Changing the filter whenever it gets dirty should eliminate any run-time problems with your air conditioner.

Clean the Coils

Once you've checked the thermostat and changed the filter, allow your air conditioner to run for about 30 minutes. If it still won't shut off properly, it's time to head outside to the main unit. Use your garden hose to clean the coils and the fan blade on your air conditioner. Dirty coils and fan blades can interfere with the operation of your air conditioner. Rinsing them off once a month will help keep them clean so your air conditioner can run efficiently.

If your air conditioner won't stop running, use the tips provided here to identify the problem. If you continue to have trouble with your air conditioner, contact an air conditioning contractor near you, such as Norris Mechanical.