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Does your home need a Bigger Air Conditioner?

Does your home need a Bigger Air Conditioner?

There are many reasons why your air conditioner may be underperforming.
Your system could be low on refrigerant, your evaporator coil could be clogged, the filter could be dirty, or the air ducts that lead to each room in your house could be damaged or crushed.
These problems can lead someone to think their AC is undersized, and they should get a bigger air conditioner.
We want to tell you why getting a bigger AC may not be the best idea.
As areas grow outward, new neighborhoods have sprouted up very quickly. After the rapid building, many have complained their air conditioner seems to be undersized.
And sometimes they are right!
Sometimes the HVAC contractor that installed that system didn’t consider the house has 10-foot ceilings instead of the usual 8 ft ceilings. That isn’t the only thing we take a look at either.
In older homes and newer homes, the square footage of the house, the type of windows and doors they have, the orientation of the house, trees that might be covering the house, as well as the insulation levels in the house – are all used to figure out the proper size AC for your home.
If your home’s air conditioner is undersized, you’ll know it because it will just run, and run, and run. Even on 85- and 90-degree days. That’s warm. Most air conditioners these days are designed to be efficient to 95 degrees or less. Anything hotter than that, and everyone’s air conditioners are going to run non-stop.
This is the way it is in a lot of our homes around the area. But for some people, they think they should get a bigger size system.
Here are some reasons we think you should consider when trying to move to a bigger system.
Your air ducts are sized for the size system you have now and if you get a bigger system, you can affect the static pressure of the HVAC system.
Static pressure is like the blood pressure in your body. If your heart was too big for your body, it could cause complications with your blood pressure. Well, it’s the same with the static pressure of your HVAC system.
With a  bigger air conditioner and its compressor, it won’t be able to operate under the same comfortable conditions as it would as if it was properly sized.
This will lead to the early system failures of your new HVAC system. A bigger system is also not going to feel as comfortable for your house.
Humidity isn’t a big deal in some areas, but in other areas of the country, it is. Either way, the comfortability factor is compromised when you get a bigger system.
Imagine this, when you turn on the AC in your car on a hot day, the air comes on full blast until you start to feel nice and cold in there.
Now, turn that AC back off, and it starts to feel muggy and strangely warm too quickly. The car interior, the seats, the leather, and other things in the car haven’t gotten cool yet.
That’s the same thing you’ll experience in a house with too big of a system. Sure, the thermostat might satisfy at the temperature you’re asking for more quickly, but it kicks right back on quickly too.

This can mess with the humidity levels in your home because the system hasn’t run long enough for it to do its job, which is to cool your house and dehumidify the house at the same time.
Ideal humidity levels in our homes are around 45-55%. Anything more than that and it starts to feel sticky in there.
Another reason to get the size right is that now that your larger system is constantly turning on and off all day, on these hotter days, the motors will wear out faster. The most damaging time for a motor, especially your $2000 compressor, is when all that damaging heat and energy slam into that motor to get it running.

Sure, it levels off once it is running but the starting and stopping are what really hurts those expensive motors. The right size system runs for longer times but cools your house more effectively by getting your walls, your furniture, the carpet, and ceilings cool as well as the occupants in the house.
That’s why getting it right is so important. If you’re an HVAC technician reading this, don’t just go into the house and say, “Oh yeah you’ve got a 2.5-ton system in your house, so that’s what we’re going to go back with.”
You might be going back with that same size system, but at least know for sure that’s what size your customer needs by doing a proper load calculation of the house and its surroundings.
An HVAC system is one of the most expensive things people buy for their homes. It would be devastating to buy too small of a system or too large of a system.
You want to get it just right!
We just went to a family’s house where there were lots of new homes built within the area. This particular home had a 3.5-ton system on a house that we measured out at 2300 square feet.
Normally this 3.5-ton system would definitely be considered too small for this house. Thing is, this was a house that had two thermostats. Also known as a house with two zones, or a zoned house. One upstairs and one downstairs.
Zoned houses are designed to cool one floor at a time. Not the whole house.
Basically, we just set the schedule on their thermostat (which had never been set up before) to cool the downstairs living area during the day, and the upstairs sleeping areas starting around 7 pm.
These were told by another company, to just set it to their desired temperature, which was 74 degrees, on both floors, and press the HOLD button on the thermostat.
That’s why when we went into their home to give them an estimate for a new system, we recommend the correct size based on their needs.
Because that 3.5-ton system just could not keep up with that whole house all day. The temperature in the home was actually getting higher throughout the hot days.
Each zone was only about 1300 square feet. But they had 12-foot ceilings, 20-year-old vinyl, south-facing windows, a south-facing wall that is getting hammered by the sun all day, and those walls are a part of the main living room downstairs and the master bedroom upstairs.
So, they can literally feel the heat radiating through their walls into those rooms, with some activity during the day upstairs, especially around the afternoon hours.
All this was taken into consideration as we told them. The size of their system could actually go down a half a ton, but considering everything about the house, the 3.5 ton would be just fine.
Getting a larger AC than you need might sound appealing, but it’s torture on your new system. It probably will not last as long as it’s supposed to, and you’ll be buying a new system sooner than you should.
We hope this has helped you understand the importance of not getting an oversized air conditioner for your home.

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