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The Importance of Sizing Your New Air Conditioner

New Air Conditioning System Installation

Air conditioners are not one-size-fits-all. Different homes have different cooling needs, and buying a new air conditioner with too little or too much cooling capacity will negatively impact your cooling system's performance quality and energy efficiency. It takes a bit of time and effort to correctly size an air conditioner, but the rewards are better cooling, less humidity and lower energy bills.

Calculating Your Home's Cooling Needs

The size of your home is an important factor in cooling, but it should not be the only factor used to determine cooling needs. Other important factors you need to consider are:

  • Total indoor volume of the home
  • Total outdoor surface area
  • Number of occupants
  • Number of windows
  • Age, condition and orientation of windows
  • Insulation and Ventilation
  • Age of home
  • Amount of shade vs. sun the home receives

It's possible to perform sizing calculations yourself using an industry-approved formula such as Manual J, but many consumers choose to employ a contractor familiar with air conditioning sizing. Even if you know relatively little about sizing, ask potential contractors as many questions as possible to gauge the expertise and effort that they bring to the table. Don't consider contractors who only use square footage to determine air conditioner size—this short-cut may mean they can quote you a cheap price, but their calculations are likely to be wrong.

The Consequences of Undersizing or Oversizing

An undersized air conditioner does not have enough cooling capacity to cool your entire home. It will be forced to run constantly in order to reach the right temperature, and may never get there despite all of its efforts. The end result will be a high energy bill without the desired comfort to show for it.

An oversized air conditioner comes with its own set of problems. When air conditioners run efficiently, they cool the structure of your home—the walls, framing and furniture—in addition to cooling the air. This helps your home to trap the cool air and stay at a comfortable temperature for longer. An oversized air conditioner cools the air in your home too quickly, and shuts off before it has the chance to cool the structure. As a result, the system will start to cycle on and off frequently, which wastes energy.

An oversized air conditioner will also struggle to remove moisture from the air. Air conditioners dehumidify as they cool, and short cycling means that an air conditioner will not run for long enough to dehumidify properly. As a result, the air in your home will feel clammy, and the temperature will feel warmer than it really is.

Our NATE-Certified Technicians are experts at sizing air conditioners to fit your home, and have been servicing residential and commercial properties in Van Nuys, Calabasas, Glendale, Santa Monica, Woodland Hills, Simi Valley, and Sylmar for over 30 years. Call us for a free estimate on your new installation at (818) 465-8943.

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