The Sizing of an Air Conditioning System: Why It’s Important

One of the most prevalent misunderstandings of air conditioning systems is that it isn’t really important what “size” of air conditioner you have installed in your house. Just get the biggest one you can afford, and everything will be fine. We understand why people might have this misunderstanding: it only seems natural that if a house has a large system, it can simply be “dialed down” as necessary—and there will always be enough cooling for even the hottest day. Nonetheless, it’s still a misunderstanding, as we’ll explain below.

Why an oversized AC is a problem

When an air conditioner is too powerful for the space it is supposed to cool, the system will begin to short-cycle. This means the air conditioner’s compressor will be caught in its start-up cycle. The compressor turns on to lower the temperature, but because the AC is too large, the temperature will drop so fast that the thermostats will register prematurely that the compressor has finished its job. The compressor will shut down early before it completes its cooling cycle. When the temperature rises a short time later, the compressor will come on again… and the shut off again… and so on.

This places immense stress on the AC’s components, particularly the compressor, which makes for a combination of high bills and a reduced system life. Putting in an air conditioner that is oversized is a major error.

Professional air conditioning sizing is vital

To make sure that you have an air conditioner that isn’t oversized (or undersized, which obviously can’t keep up with your demands), you need to have professionals perform a load calculation for your house. This calculation will determine how much cooling an AC must put out (in BTUs) to keep the house properly cooled without short-cycling. The HVAC professionals will see that you end up with the ideal air conditioner: not too big, not too large, but just right! (We call it “The Goldilocks Principal.”)

Comfort Central, Inc. offers great air conditioning installation in Fletcher, NC.

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