Sizing a New Air Conditioner

air-conditioning-maintenanceIf you’re in the market for a new air conditioning system, now is the time to act. Winters are very mild in our neck of the world, and late February represents one of the few times of the year when you have no regular need of your air conditioner. If yours labored during the last months of summer, if the warranty has expired, if you’re dealing with repair issues more often than you’d like, or any combination of the above factors, then replacing your outdated system with a new one makes a lot of sense.

Having said there, there are still a number of steps you need to take in preparation for having a new air conditioner installed. Chief among them is sizing your new air conditioner to fit the parameters of your home. By “sizing,” we don’t mean the physical size of the system (though it does need to fit comfortably in the space provided by your home). We mean the power output levels for your system: the amount of cooling power it generates to keep the home comfortable. That can be a more difficult question to answer than you think.

Short Cycling

Most people know that an underpowered air conditioner will not be able to do the job. It will run for hours and hours – adding stress and driving up bills – without ever getting the home cool. That isn’t usually the issue. The issue comes with oversized units. Most people assume quite naturally that the most powerful air conditioner they can afford is automatically the best, since it will cool the house faster than any other unit. Unfortunately, that very logical assumption is also very wrong.

Air conditioners use far more energy turning on and turning off than they do simply running: it takes more energy to get the fan motors and other components up to speed than it does to keep them there once the system is going. For that reason, you want your new air conditioner to run for at least 15 minutes at a clip before shutting off. Otherwise, it engages in a process known as short cycling: turning on and off multiple times in a very short period of time. Short cycling will drive up bills and add stress to the system, as much or more as an underpowered air conditioner would.

Preparation Is Key

The best way to properly size a new air conditioner involves a careful analysis of your home by the technician. It starts with square footage, but factors in other components such as insulation, cracks under doors, the size of your kitchen (which tends to generate excess heat from the stove and oven), and even large windows that let in a lot of sunlight. With that data in mind, the technician can then suggest a power level for your new system that meets the Goldilocks Rule: neither too small nor too large, but just right.

For the best air conditioning installation services in Boca Raton, FL, call the pros at Astro Air Inc.

Comments are closed.