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Professional Heating & Air Blog

How to Properly Size an Air Conditioner

residential unitsWarm weather comes early here in Springfield, LA, and if you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, now is the time to examine your options. You have a number of factors to consider, including the system’s efficiency and the presence of any new bells and whistles that new technology has brought. Before you can do any of that, however, one significant factor needs to be determined: the proper size of the air conditioner itself.

By size, we don’t mean the physical size (though that’s also a factor, since the new air conditioner needs to fit into the same space that the old air conditioner did). We mean the power output of the new system. It needs to match the specific size and parameters of your home, which can be a lot trickier than it sounds.

You probably know already why you shouldn’t buy an underpowered air conditioner. It will labor to keep your home cool and expend a lot of unnecessary energy in the process: raising both your monthly bills and the chances of a more serious breakdown. What most people don’t understand, however, is that an overpowered system may be just as damaging. The fallacious belief is that an overpowered AC will cool the home much quicker than a properly sized unit, and it will… but that’s not a good thing. By turning on and turning off so rapidly, the air conditioner engages in a process known as short-cycling. Since AC units spend far more energy and effort starting up and shutting down, short cycling achieves the same effect as an underpowered unit: wasted energy: higher bills and strain

The fallacious belief is that an overpowered AC will cool the home much quicker than a properly sized unit, and it will… but that’s not a good thing. By turning on and turning off so rapidly, the air conditioner engages in a process known as short-cycling. Since AC units spend far more energy and effort starting up and shutting down, short cycling achieves the same effect as an underpowered unit: wasted energy: higher bills and strain on the system that could create serious problems. A properly sized air conditioner — one that meets the Goldilocks Rule of being sized just right — will run for at least 15 minutes at a clip in order to achieve the maximum amount of effectiveness.

That involves an energy audit of your home, which starts with measuring the raw square footage. From there, the technician factors in such components as sunlight exposure (especially from the west), the amount of insulation, the number of stories in the home and factors like double-paned windows. By carefully measuring those factors, the technician can determine the perfect size for your system. With that in place, you can then look at other features such as efficiency, assured that the air conditioner will deliver the proper levels of cooling power every time.

If you’re in the market for a new air conditioning system in Springfield, LA, call on the pros at A-Professional Heating and Air today!

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