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Wall Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

AC Installation: Bigger Is Not Always Better!

ac system sitting on top of moneyHave you discovered that your AC is suffering, or ill-prepared to handle another long and hot summer? If it’s aged to the point that it no longer can work effectively and efficiently, even with a maintenance session, then you may be ready for a replacement. And with temperatures warming up already, the time is now to have a new air conditioner installed.

But we discourage you from just rushing out and buying the first Lawrenceville, GA air conditioning system you find, especially if your goal is to get the biggest one that matches your budget. There’s a pretty common misconception that “bigger means better,” and unfortunately this is just not the case. In order to work as effectively and efficiently as it’s meant to, your air conditioner must be properly sized for your specific home and needs.

A Look at Tonnage

In order to determine the right sizing for your air conditioner, our professionals do something called a cooling load calculation, where they determine the tonnage necessary for your air conditioner—and yes, too much can be a bad thing. But wait, what is tonnage?

We understand if you’ve never heard this HVAC lingo before. But in our industry, it’s vital when it comes to sizing an air conditioner, or rather, making sure your new AC system is powerful enough for your home without being too powerful. So tonnage—it has nothing to do with the weight of the system as you might imagine, but rather how much heat it can remove from a home per hour.

This measurement is known as BTU (British Thermal Unit). An AC system that is one ton can remove 12,000 BTUs of heat per hour, so then each additional ton is an extra 12,000 BTUs. Basically, the more tonnage there is, the more air your cooling system can push out. But why wouldn’t you want the most powerful tonnage you can get, then?

An Overpowered AC Will Do You No Good

It makes sense why people thing that an overpowered or oversized air conditioner wouldn’t be a problem. You can just turn it off when it gets too cold, and a bigger AC will help your home cool down faster anyway, right? Unfortunately, this is a myth. More tonnage has nothing to do with the speed of which an AC system cools down a space. In fact, it can hurt your system and your comfort as too large of a system will cause:

  • Short-Cycling: This describes the process in which an air conditioner turns on and shuts off rapidly, which wears down on the air conditioner causing it to break down far sooner and require more repairs over its service life than it otherwise would.
  • Insufficient Comfort: If your air conditioner isn’t running long enough, due to short-cycling, then there isn’t enough time for cooling to be evenly distributed through the home, leading to hot spots.
  • High Humidity: Temperature plays a huge role in our home comfort, but so does balanced humidity. Relative humidity levels in your home should be between 30-50%. An air conditioner does have some dehumidification properties, but when it’s too large and it short-cycles, it can’t run long enough to be effectively dehumidify the air.
  • Undersized Air Ducts: Chances are that if you’re replacing an air conditioner, you’re not replacing the ductwork. So if you get an air conditioner that has too much tonnage, it may also be way too powerful for your existing air ducts. This can result in damaged ductwork, thus leading to inefficient cooling and an uncomfortable living space.

For reliable air conditioning services, contact Wall Heating & Air Conditioning today!

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