Why Size Matters When Choosing Your Next Air Conditioner

Written by Rick Lucazak on . Posted in Blog

Have you ever bought a brand-new pair of shoes only to discover that it was the wrong size for your feet? You wouldn’t put up with a pair of shoes one size too large in hopes that your feet would grow, nor would you suffer with a pair a size too small. Yet, many homeowners buy new air conditioning systems that are either too large or too small for their homes and then cope with the consequences.

Buying an oversized or undersized air conditioner can have a wide variety of consequences, including compromised cooling comfort, higher energy consumption, or even a shortened lifespan for your A/C equipment. The following explains why you need to choose the right size when you purchase a new air conditioning system for your home.

The Wrong Size Could Increase Your Utility Bill

The bigger the air conditioner, the more electricity it’ll use during operation. This general rule of thumb applies to even the most energy-efficient of air conditioning systems. An air conditioner with a cooling capacity in excess of what your home actually needs will use more energy than a properly sized unit.

An undersized air conditioner can also be an energy burden on your home. Since these units don’t have enough capacity to adequately cool your home, they’ll run for far longer than necessary in a sometimes futile effort to reach the desired temperature. As a result, undersized air conditioners tend to consume more energy than properly sized units.

The Wrong Size Could Make You’re A/C System Short Lived

Your shoes might not be able to stand up to the rigors of your everyday routine if they’re the wrong size. Likewise, your air conditioner might not be long for this world if it’s too large or too small for your home. There are plenty of reasons why a wrongly sized air conditioner won’t be as reliable as a properly sized unit, but we’ll start by examining the problems an oversized AC system can bring.

Oversized air conditioners can experience short cycling, a phenomenon with which the A/C compressor runs for an unusually short amount of time only to stop and restart shortly afterward. Short cycling is usually due to the air conditioner cooling the home to the target temperature in a very short amount of time. A quick rise in indoor temperatures can cause the cycle to start anew in only a matter of minutes.

To put things in perspective, an ordinary air conditioner usually undergoes three cooling cycles per hour, with each cycle lasting for 10 minutes with a 10-minute break between each cycle. An oversized air conditioner, on the other hand, may undergo six or more cooling cycles per hour, with each cycle lasting five minutes. This can add a tremendous amount of stress and strain on the compressor and other air conditioning components.

Meanwhile, an air conditioner without enough cooling capacity for your home could run for extremely long periods of time while struggling to cool your home. Long cooling cycles also place extraordinary strain on your air conditioner, shortening its lifespan while making it more vulnerable to unexpected breakdowns.

Poor Sizing Can Lead to Poor Comfort

Just as the wrong size of shoe can rob your feet of well-deserved comfort, an oversized or undersized air conditioner can also leave you feeling uncomfortable. For instance, an oversized air conditioner won’t run long enough to dehumidify the air in addition to cooling it. The leftover moisture may make your home feel damp and clammy despite being cool.

While an oversized air conditioner gives you a damp and clammy home, an undersized unit can leave your home a bit warmer than expected, especially on days when outdoor temperatures approach the triple digits. Without enough cooling capacity to overcome your home’s natural heat gain, keeping your home cool becomes an uphill battle for your air conditioning unit.

The Right Size Will Meet Your Needs

A properly sized air conditioner can save you plenty of headaches and ensure your home remains comfortable throughout the summer. If you suspect your air conditioner isn’t measuring up to your comfort expectations, then you should have your HVAC contractor come in and evaluate your home’s cooling needs.

While some contractors rely on an old standard when it comes to sizing air conditioners, the best and most accurate way of sizing a unit up is by following the ACCA’s Manual J load calculation procedure. This procedure allows your contractor to accurately calculate your home’s cooling needs. Armed with this vital information, your contractor can then choose the right air conditioning equipment using the Manual S equipment selection process.

You can always turn to the HVAC experts at Custom Comfort for your air conditioning needs, whether you need service, installation, or repairs. We can help you design an A/C system that’s just the right size for your home so you can enjoy the comfort you deserve without wasting time, energy, or money.

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Custom Comfort Plumbing, Heating & Cooling LLC
1101 West 850 North
Centerville, UT 84014
Lic 7672126-5501
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Email: info@CustomComfortInc.com
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