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When it comes to your HVAC system, proper size does matter. A common mistake many homeowners make when purchasing an air conditioner is getting one that is too big, thinking that it will cool the home faster. On the contrary, a system that is too big will never work correctly and you will end up sacrificing both comfort and efficiency. Here are some simple ways to tell if your air conditioner is too big.
An air conditioner that cycles off and on in under ten minutes may be too large for the home. When working correctly, an air conditioning system will turn on and run until the air in the home reaches the temperature set on the thermostat, and then shut off. This process should take about 15 to 20 minutes. A system that is too large meets the cooling load too soon, and will run in cycles of 8 to 10 minutes. This happens because the air around the thermostat cools quickly, causing the system to shut off even before the entire space is properly cooled. Short cycling puts unnecessary additional wear and tear on the equipment and can lead to breakdowns, loss of efficiency and a shorter system lifespan.
An oversized air conditioner will have difficulty consistently maintaining the set temperature throughout the home. The frequent cycling contributes to these temperature variations and you will likely notice rooms that are too warm or too cold.
The short cycling does not allow enough time to remove the water vapor from the air. An air conditioner needs about 20 minutes to properly dehumidify the home. The excess water vapor can cause mold growth on walls and ceilings.
Short cycling means the system is starting and stopping more frequently, which uses more energy and will show up as higher monthly energy bills.
Your HVAC professional can properly measure your home, taking into account a variety of factors in addition to square footage, such as layout, insulation, windows, orientation, and even your lifestyle. All these factors are important when choosing an air conditioner that will provide the comfort you need as well as the efficiency that will keep your system working well and economically for many years.