Air Conditioning: Where Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Air Conditioning: Where Bigger Isn’t Always BetterThe biggest isn’t always the best, especially if you’re talking about air conditioning units. A lot of people were under the assumption that bigger air conditioning units mean a faster cooling system, but it’s about time that these myths get straightened out.

Bigger Prices, Bigger Expenses

Bigger air conditioning units aren’t always better. Larger units tend to be more expensive. If you’re buying one that’s too big for your home or office, then you’ll be wasting money in the long run. Oversized air conditioners end up being less effective and won’t perform their tasks well.

Aside from the initial costs, operating and maintaining larger units also cost more, hence expenses that could have been lower in the long run. Larger units will also start up and shut down more frequently because it easily meets the thermostat set point, and soon, resulting to a shorter lifespan of the unit.

Humidity Issues

Air conditioners also function as dehumidifiers – they remove heat and humidity from your surroundings. Yes, a larger unit can cool the room faster but won’t eliminate humidity, resulting to a damp and clammy feeling.

An air conditioning unit that’s too big for your home will go on and off several times a day. The cooling part may not be a problem, but the humidifying part is. If the house becomes clammy, then you’d be walking and sweating. You’d end up heading to the thermostat and lower the temperature, resulting to high utility costs.

Aside from the discomfort, the muggy feeling you get from humidity can also cause mold growth, which will be highly evident through your family members’ allergic reactions.

Finding the Perfect Fit

In choosing the right air conditioning unit, there are various factors to be considered, such as:

Size of the home

Understanding the right cooling capacity for your home will help in choosing the appropriate air conditioning system.

How will you figure out the right unit?

First, determine the room’s square footage. Find out what the area is: for square or rectangle rooms, multiply its length by its width, and for triangular rooms, multiply length by the width and then divide by 2.

Then, use the numbers to determine the right cooling capacity.

  • – 100 to 150 ft2, = 5000 BTU (British thermal units) per hour
  • – 150 to 250 ft2, = 6000 BTU (British thermal units) per hour
  • – 250 to 300 ft2, = 7000 BTU (British thermal units) per hour
  • – 300 to 350 ft2, = 8000 BTU (British thermal units) per hour
  • – 350 to 400 ft2, = 9000 BTU (British thermal units) per hour

You can also make the necessary adjustments if necessary – you can add 10% if a room or house is either heavily shaded or overly sunny. You should also adjust the BTUs for higher occupancy – that’s around 600 BTU for every person.

Proper Installation

To maximize air conditioners, they should be properly installed. Proper installation is a vital factor – it could even be more important than choosing the brand or price of the unit. You should plan even prior to installation. Even a smaller unit, if correctly installed, will cool your home efficiently.

Your air conditioning unit should be installed ideally in a shady spot where it’s not receiving direct sunlight. Placing it in a sunny area will make it work harder than it should, resulting to wasted energy.

Location and measurement

Certain air conditioners are good at blowing in just one direction. If it’s on a window that’s not centered, then you might end up not evenly cooling the room. You should also check for any curtains or furniture blocking the vents as they can limit air circulation.

The type of window may also affect the cooling capabilities. For casement windows, through-the-wall air conditioners are recommended. All other units are ideal for casement windows.

Proper Maintenance

Even smaller air conditioning units can perform well and last a long time if basic maintenance steps are followed. These seemingly simple basic steps can go a long way in improving comfort and efficiency in an air conditioning system.

These basic steps include cleaning or replacing filters at least once a month especially if the units are used often or if they filter dust or fur. Dirty filters can end up with a poor air flow and even increase your AC bill.

Drain channels should be checked, as well as the window seals. The evaporator coil should also be checked and cleaned at least once annually.

The Right Size Matters

How would you know if you’ve chosen the right air conditioning system for your home? It’ll be cool and comfortable, without any humidity. The costs won’t shock you because what you have a unit that’s efficient and cost-effective.

As you can see, you don’t always have to go for a bigger air conditioning system to cool your home. Sometimes, it just takes a little planning and a bit of calculation to see that a smaller one can already do the job well.

About the Author: Rene, the co-founder of PICKHVAC, has more than 15 years experience in HVAC industry. As an adviser, he has helped hundreds of homeowners to find the proper heating and cooling solu