You’re probably expecting us to say, “get an air conditioner that’s big enough!” right? After all, most homeowners understand that a cooling system that’s too small for a home won’t be able to cool it effectively. You might be surprised, however, to find out that too large of a system can be just as detrimental to its efficiency.
And the bottom line with this is that an improperly sizes air conditioner will mean big trouble for your comfort and for your budget. Similar to an incorrectly sized engine in your car, you can find yourself with a malfunctioning or even completely broken down piece of equipment. Keep reading to learn more.
When an Air Conditioner Is Too Little
If an air conditioning system is too small for the home, it will have to work harder to cool your home. The compressor will keep running until it reaches the desired temperature in the room or home, even if it’s impossible to actually reach that temperature because of how big your home is or how many opportunities you have for heat gain (such as windows, high ceilings, poor insulation).
When the compressor runs for longer than it needs to, it not only runs up your cooling bill, but it also speeds up the natural wear and tear that your system accumulates. This means that instead of having your air conditioner for 10-15 years—the expected lifespan of a properly installed and maintained air conditioner—it may last only half of that.
When an Air Conditioner Is Too Big
When your air conditioner is too large, then it goes through a process called short cycling. Have you ever been in someone’s home, or even your own home, and noticed that you hear the compressor cycling on and off rapidly, rather than in regular intervals like you’re used to hearing? This is short cycling!
What’s happening is that the compressor is running until the temperature of the living space reaches the desired temperature on the thermostat, and then shutting down. The problem is, when the system is too big, the compressor is shutting down before a full cooling cycle is actually complete, so it quickly turns back on. Similar to a compressor that won’t stop running in a small system, this is damaging overall to the air conditioner, causing it to accumulate wear and tear much faster than it otherwise would.
When an Air Conditioner Is Just Right
A properly sized air conditioning system will go through normal cycles in order to cool your home to your desired temperature. An air conditioner doesn’t like to be rushed through these cycles nor does it like not being able to complete a full cooling cycle. This might not seem like a big deal when you’re air conditioner fails and you need a new one, fast. But when you see your cooling bills at the end of the summer, you’ll be grateful you went with a system that is a correct match for your home.