When it comes to air conditioners, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Though a large AC system might sound like a nice way to get a refreshing blast of cool air, it can actually cause problems for homeowners. Every air conditioner needs to be properly sized for a property’s size, layout, and duct design. Picking the wrong one can end up making your home uncomfortable and costing you a lot of money. There are three major problems associated with installing an oversized air conditioner.
1. Inadequate Cooling and Humidity Control
For many homeowners, the biggest problem with oversized air conditioners is that they don’t keep your house comfortable. An oversized air conditioner is essentially an air conditioner that puts out larger amounts of cool air than your home requires. Larger air conditioners release larger bursts of cold air. Though this might sound like a nice way to cool down your house, it doesn’t actually lead to comfortable air.
Air conditioners are designed to run for several minutes at a time throughout the day. Ideally, a unit should keep running for at least 15 minutes before shutting off again. This is useful because it helps with circulation. As your air conditioner runs, it is constantly pulling air in through the return vent and pushing air out through the ducts. This creates a gentle air current that mixes the air in your home together and creates a nice, even temperature throughout the entire house.
Unfortunately, when your air conditioner is oversized, its cycles are much shorter. The AC dumps a bunch of cooled air into your home, and your thermostat assumes the house is cool and shuts off. However, since the AC didn’t run for long enough to fully circulate the cooled air, there are still warm spots lingering throughout your home. These spots quickly heat up your air, and your thermostat switches on the AC once again. The whole process of repeatedly turning on and off is called short cycling, and it tends to result in unpleasant hot spots and cold spots throughout the house. Your whole house feels like it never gets fully cool, yet you’ll find that certain spots feel drafty and uncomfortable.
In addition to not cooling your house properly, an oversized air conditioner also fails to remove humidity correctly. Air conditioners automatically remove humidity by condensing the moisture in the air into tiny droplets of water that collect in a drain pan. This helps to keep overly damp air from warping your home furnishings or letting mold grow. Unfortunately, when your air conditioner is oversized, it doesn’t usually run for long enough cycles to remove AC. You’ll find that your air feels unpleasantly sticky, and the high humidity can also cause problems like mold.
2. More Wear and Tear on Your HVAC System
In addition to making the air in your home feel uncomfortable, an oversized air conditioner also leads to some functional issues. Since air conditioners are designed to run for long periods of time, their design focuses on retaining stability while the machine is running. Unfortunately, this design means that ACs aren’t quite as efficient at starting and stopping. When your machine turns on or off, a lot of components have to work together. Things like blower fans, compressors, and other components need to suddenly jump into motion or come to a complete stop. There are a lot of ways things can go wrong during the process of stopping or starting an AC.
Since your oversized air conditioner will turn on and off repeatedly, this puts a lot more pressure on the machine. Parts like fan belts are more likely to break down over time and screws and fittings are more likely to loosen. If an air conditioner is oversized, it will most likely break down faster than a properly sized machine. Parts wear out more quickly, and some systems even overheat from repeatedly switching on and off. This leads to a lot of hassle and inconvenience. Every summer, you might find yourself sweating without AC until you can get an AC repair visit.
If you have an oversized air conditioner, the higher rates of wear and tear mean that you spend a lot more money on repairs and maintenance. Since you have problems more frequently, you’ll probably need to call your AC repair technicians out to your house more often and schedule extra maintenance visits throughout the year. Depending on the model you have, repairs might also cost more. Some oversized models use special parts that can be pricier to replace. Compared to a smaller air conditioner unit, you might end up having to spend extra to make your AC run properly.
3. Reduced Energy Efficiency
The final problem homeowners have with installing oversized air conditioners is that they use a lot more power to run. Since an oversized air conditioner creates more cool air, it requires more energy to operate. Of course, AC power usage varies a lot depending on what model you get and how efficient it is. However, an oversized air conditioner will always use more power to run than a comparable, smaller model. For example, the average 5,000 BTU air conditioner uses about 0.50 kilowatts of power per hour. Meanwhile, a 12,000 BTU air conditioner uses about 1.20 kilowatts per hour. Ultimately, every time you run your air conditioner, it uses more energy than a smaller model would.
Unfortunately for people who own oversized models, the shorter run times don’t necessarily cancel out the higher energy consumption either. Air conditioners use a lot more power to turn on than to keep running. It takes a big burst of energy to get all the AC’s moving parts going each time it switches on. And since oversized air conditioners are short-cycling, they end up turning on and off a lot. This results in wasted energy throughout the day.
For most homeowners, this wasted energy is a major problem. In addition to being bad for the environment, it’s also bad for your wallet. When you have an oversized air conditioner, you can expect your utility bills to skyrocket. Even though your house might not feel comfortably cool, you will be paying a lot of money to keep your air conditioner running. One of the best parts about finally switching to a properly sized air conditioner is that you end up saving a lot of money each month on electricity.
As you can see, oversized air conditioners are usually more trouble than they’re worth. If you’re currently dealing with these issues, switching to a properly sized system can solve a lot of your challenges. For homeowners who are looking into installing a new system, picking the right size will save you trouble in the future. For all your HVAC needs, Cozy Home Services is here to help. Our experts help Vacaville residents find and install the proper AC size in their homes. We also help with a variety of other plumbing services, HVAC repairs, and HVAC maintenance. To learn more about our services, give us a call today.