AC Installation: Bigger Is Not Necessarily Better

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There is a fairly common misconception among homeowners about AC Installation in Denver, CO. That is, that the bigger system you get for your home, the better it will perform. Unfortunately, this is just not the case, and can lead people to get an air conditioning system that costs too much and ends up not doing the job expected of it.

This is one of the variety of reasons you should hire professionals, like the staff here at Bell Plumbing and Heating, when it comes to this type of installation. Our team can ensure that your system is correctly matched to your home, to provide the cooling that you need for comfort through our hot summers.

What We Mean by “Too Big” of an Air Conditioner

When we say an air conditioner may be too big for your home, we’re referring to the system’s tonnage. Tonnage is important when sizing an air conditioner—it tells us if the system is powerful enough for your home without being too powerful.

It can be a confusing term, as many people assume that it means the weight of the system. But tonnage doesn’t have anything to do with weight. Rather, it means how much heat an air conditioning system can remove from a home in a one-hour period, which is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). An air conditioner that is one ton is able to remove 12,000 BTUs of heat per hour. Each ton is an additional 12,000 BTUs.

Therefore, the more tonnage an air conditioner has, the more air it can cool down. So, why wouldn’t you want the most powerful tonnage you can afford?

The Problem with Too Much Tonnage

We get it, it makes logical since that the more power an air conditioner has, the better it will perform. You also might think that it’s better to have too powerful of an air conditioner than one that’s not powerful enough. But there are some big problems with this.

First off, there’s a myth that the lower you turn down the thermostat, the faster it will cool down your living space. More tonnage has nothing to do with the speed in which your cooling system works. It’s a measure of capacity, as we describe above. Some of the problems with too much tonnage are:

  • The System Will Short-Cycle: Short-cycling is the term given to an air conditioner when the compressor cycles on and off in rapid succession. It never allows the cooling system to go through a full cycle, and therefore drains the energy much faster. This is damaging to the AC plus it costs you more on your monthly energy bills.
  • You’ll Have Humidity Problems: True, an air conditioner is not the ideal way to rid your home of excessive humidity (you’ll want a whole-house dehumidifier for this), however your cooling system does have some dehumidification properties—but only if it can complete full cycles, which it won’t be able to if the system is too big.
  • Your Ducts May Be Undersized: Oftentimes, when we run into an oversized air conditioner, it was replaced where the right sized air conditioner once stood. IF you have a ducted system, this can be a problem. The dimensions of the ductwork were sized originally for the smaller unit, and therefore something called high static pressure occurs, which can ultimately damage your entire air conditioning system.

Get peace of mind by calling Bell Plumbing and Heating, the company metro area homeowners have been trusting for over 90 years!

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