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The Oversized Air Conditioner: When Bigger Is Definitely Not Better

The Oversized Air Conditioner: When Bigger Is Definitely Not BetterIf your cooling bills seem to be higher than they should be for a comparable home, you could have an oversized air conditioner. Many homeowners don’t realize that bigger is not better when it comes to HVAC systems, especially air conditioners. Rather than cooling your home more efficiently, the reverse is true.

Systems that are too large run in short cycles, driving up energy costs, indoor humidity, and system wear and tear. These short cycles also drive up energy costs because they turn on and off more frequently throughout the day. Cooling systems use a lot of electricity when they first start up, which sucks energy. It also adds stress to all the parts in the system, just like driving a car in city traffic, which is hard on your engine and takes more gas. It’s much more preferable for a system to run at a continuous, preferably slow speed (if you have variable speed components).

One of the secondary benefits of using air conditioners or heat pumps to cool your home is that they remove excess water vapor. The drying process helps you feel cooler and it helps prevent mold growth. When the air conditioner is too large, it shuts off before the coil can condense the water vapor, and what condensation that collects may evaporate before there’s enough to run down the drainpipe.

The best way to avoid an oversized air conditioner is to work with an HVAC professional who will size the system using a software tool called Manual J. This software takes into account the size of your home in cubic footage, the floorplan design, your home’s energy efficiency, and the heat you and your family generate indoors, among other factors. Once the technician has information from the load calculation, he can recommend the proper size A/C for your home.

If you’re nearing a cooling system replacement, ask the contractors you interview how they’ll size the new system. If they state that they’ll go by the size of your home, continue looking around and find one who will take the time to do a proper load calculation.

To learn more about the disadvantages of an oversized air conditioner, please contact us at Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning. We’ve provided outstanding HVAC services in the San Joaquin Valley for more than 40 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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