Why Does Air Conditioner Sizing Matter?

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The summer months really test cooling systems. Older air conditioners tend to show their age as they are unable to handle the heat any longer. When the unit is in need of repair on a regular basis, it is a sure sign that an air conditioner replacement is necessary. That being said, it can feel rather overwhelming to know which air conditioner would be the best choice.

Many people are tempted to simply get a similar model to the one they have. However, this approach could lead to a repeat of the same issues down the line. Other people may opt for the air conditioner that is the biggest presuming that this will give them a cooler house in a quicker timeframe. However, the best option is to consider multiple factors to determine what is the best air conditioner sizing for your home. For instance, any considered new AC installation needs to take air conditioner sizing into account.

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What Is A Manual J Load Calculation?

When we talk about a Manual J load calculation, we are actually referring to a rather complex process. A Manual J considers various factors that influence the cooling needs of a property. The calculation needs to be undertaken by a licensed HVAC contractor who understands how it accurately works.

They use advanced software to aid them in making the calculation. House characteristics will need to be taken into account and quantified. Some of these include ceiling height, floor area, the size of windows, insulation present, how many people live in the house, appliances used in the home, property orientation, and the list goes on.

When the calculation is complete, it provides the cooling load of the property. This numerical value takes away the guesswork. It means the homeowner knows exactly what size of AC they need.

Home Comfort

image of a woman feeling comfortable after air conditioner installation

One of the main purposes of an AC is to make people in the home feel more comfortable. Providing cooler air is just one part of achieving this comfort. An AC also needs to be able to reduce humidity via condensation. This happens as water beads form from the vapor around the coils and eventually run down the channels.

When a system is too big, the cooling effect happens very quickly and does not allow sufficient time for condensation to occur. This results in higher humidity and hence occupants who feel clammy and uncomfortable. The typical reaction to this is usually to lower the temperature setting but, of course, this equates to higher energy consumption.

Since the larger units short cycle, it also means that the indoor air quality is of lower quality. Less air is going to be forced through the system so the overall cleaning process will be reduced.

An air conditioning unit that is too small will also pose issues. The cooling needs of the home may not be met. The unit may take a long time to provide the home with the desired temperature. If the weather is very hot, the unit may not even be able to counter the heat that is coming in through the roof. They will work hard but they will still not deliver.

These undersized AC units tend to be on all the time and hence will suffer from wear and tear quickly. An early air conditioner replacement is likely, as well as frequent repairs leading up to it.

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Air Conditioner Efficiency

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When thinking about efficiency, one of the key ways to guarantee a good conversion of electrical energy into cooling power for the home is to opt for a model that comes with a high SEER rating. That being said, there are still other factors that will play a role.

If an AC unit is poorly matched to a home’s cooling needs, it will not be able to reach its potential SEER rating. This means it will run with either overly long or overly short cycles. The result will be wasted energy. The unit will also suffer from unnecessarily high wear and tear which also has an impact on how efficiently it can run. The bottom line is a simple one; a new AC with a high SEER rating will be of limited use if the size is not accurate.

The Cost Factor

If you are going down the route of a mismatched AC unit you are going to suffer financially as an undersized or oversized cooling system will not meet your needs. Larger units tend to be more expensive which already puts the focus on knowing your needs first. Couple the higher price with wasted energy and cycles, as well as worn out parts, low-efficiency, and higher monthly bills, all of which come with a mismatched system. All of that stress on the AC unit is only going to mean regular HVAC repairs and an early air conditioner replacement.

Get the sizing right from the start and all of that can be prevented. When you pay a licensed HVAC contractor for a Manual J calculation you are spending your resources very wisely.

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Why Oversized Air Conditioners Cause Issues

image of a homeowner feeling hot and humid due to oversized air conditioner

As a quick recap, a unit that is too big for the household needs will cool spaces too quickly, resulting in short cycles. Short cycles mean that the indoor humidity levels can not be lowered effectively. The AC unit is only going to run at a fraction of its potential which means energy consumption will be higher. In other words, your home will feel cool but it will also feel humid. It also results in an overspend to actually purchase the AC unit in the first place.

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Why Undersized Air Conditioners Cause Issues

Undersized units are also going to cause issues since they do not have the capabilities to meet the cooling needs of the home. During the hot summer months, they will not be able to provide the home with the relief that it needs. They will constantly run in their attempt to reach the desired temperature but their efforts will be futile. The components in the unit will be under constant stress and hence equipment failures and early replacement will be on the cards.


The Bottom Line

Air conditioner selection is not an extreme choice. It is not about being the biggest or the smallest. In reality, each space has its own unique needs. The right unit is the one that can meet these needs. Sizing is a crucial factor as it affects the efficiency, cost, and comfort levels in the home. Do not just rely on rule-of-thumb, instead enlist the services of a licensed contractor to calculate your exact needs.

Call Tevis Energy For Your Air Conditioning Requirements

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Tevis Energy provides an excellent heating and cooling service in central Maryland and southern Pennsylvania. Our technicians can provide repairs, installations, HVAC tune-ups, and replacements. Each of the techs we hire has the experience and skills needed to service systems effectively.

Tevis Energy is dedicated to providing the most competitive costs in your local area. Your comfort, energy efficiency, and cooling costs can all be improved. If we find that you need a replacement system we can help you choose the right one for your budget and needs. Give Tevis Energy a call today to set up an appointment. Our in-home estimates are without charge.

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