New AC Installation: Is Bigger Always Better?
A majority of Northern California homeowners think that bigger air conditioners do a better job of cooling your home. Moreover, bigger is not always better when it comes to air conditioners. There are several factors that need to be considered while installing an AC. Installing a properly sized air conditioner is vital to your budget, comfort, and the lifespan of the unit.
Higher Upfront and Operational Cost
Larger air conditioners have a higher cost as compared to smaller units. Air conditioners are priced as per tonnage. You would be paying more from the get-go, even before you get the air conditioner installed. You should know that this cost is without any benefits.
Oversized air conditioners usually mean higher utility bills. This is because they consume more power for cooling a space. Big capacity air conditioners short-cycle more often as well. They are meant for big spaces and the compressor turns itself off and on at frequent intervals. This is not good for the air conditioner or your wallet.
Damage to Air Conditioner
Air conditioner is a combination of multiple machine parts moving together to keep you comfortable. Short cycling inflicts greater wear and tear on the air conditioner. It takes a lot of effort on the system to turn off and on than to simply keep running. This eventually shortens the overall lifespan of an AC. Short cycling causes the compressor to turn on and off frequently.
Compressor is the heart of an air conditioner. Any type of breakdown will attract high repair costs. Additionally, this is probably the most important component in the air conditioner. It houses the condenser coil, which is primarily responsible for cooling the air.
An oversized air conditioner will not last for as many years as a properly sized one. The constant on/off cycle will also defeat the unit’s energy efficiency. Considering the fact that an air conditioner is one of the largest investments in a house, you may want to get as many years as you possibly can from the unit.
Poor Air Quality and High Humidity Levels
Oversized air conditioners are prone to short-cycling. This means that there are extended periods when the air conditioner doesn’t come on. Frequent short-cycling also means the air conditioner doesn’t get enough time to remove humidity from a room. You need cool air and acceptable humidity levels to feel comfortable.
Short cycling doesn’t allow an air conditioner to filter indoor air as well. If an AC is not running, it is not filtering dust, allergens, and other particles from the air. This will result in poor indoor air quality. Things can get really bad for family members with breathing problems or allergies, especially if there is a pet in the house.
Understanding the Right Tonnage
Tonnage or ton refers to the amount of heat that can be removed from a given space in an hour. Your air conditioner should be matched with the size of the room. While an oversized air conditioner is not prudent, an undersized one can create more problems. Tonnage is the first factor that comes to play while properly sizing an air conditioner. You should consider having a professional help you with this if you are not sure.