If you’re shopping for an air conditioner or heat pump installation, sizing the unit is an important first step. Although air conditioner sizing might seem confusing, it looks more complicated than it is. Basically, it’s just a matter of figuring out which size the air conditioner should be, to properly cool your home. If you want to install a heat pump instead of an air conditioner, you will have to size for cooling first and then for heating.
What Is AC Sizing And Why Do I Need It?
When you install an air conditioner that hasn’t been properly sized for your home, one of two things usually happen. Either you’ll get a unit that’s too small to cool your home properly or you’ll get a unit that’s too big. Bigger is not better when it comes to air conditioners. An HVAC system that’s too big won’t cool your home any more efficiently or quicker than a properly-sized unit, and it will will cost you more money in the bargain. Overly large air conditioners are also short on comfort. They tend to heat and cool a home unevenly, so some rooms are too cold while other rooms are too hot. Also, an AC that’s too big will short cycle or constantly cycle on and off. As a result, your energy costs will be higher, and the system won’t run long enough to remove humidity from the air.
Does Geographical Location Affect Air Conditioner Sizing?
The size of a heat pump or air conditioner is very much determined by where you live. Homeowners in Chicago need more heating capacity than cooling, while those in Florida need more cooling capacity than heating.
How Is Air Conditioner Size Calculated?
You may have heard about the “Manual J Calculation.” Heating and cooling contractors use this calculation to properly size heating and cooling installations. Manual J is the most accurate way to determine the proper size of an HVAC system. Unless you know how to perform a Manual J Calculation, it’s best to let an HVAC contractor do it for you. In addition to the size of your home, the Manual J load calculations factor in things like your home’s insulation level and the placement and size of your windows.
What Does Duct Work Have To Do With AC And Heat Pump Sizing?
Before you size your AC system, consider having your duct work inspected. Ducts distribute heated and cooled air throughout your home. Over time, they can develop leaks and cracks through which cooled and heated air can escape. According to Energy Star, leaky ducts can reduce air conditioner efficiency by almost 20 percent. If you have leaky ducts, your utility bills will be higher than they should be.
Why Can’t I Size My System According To Square Feet Alone?
Air conditioner or heat pump sizing based only on the square footage of your home can be quite inaccurate. When factors like window locations, insulation, and duct work are taken into consideration, you will have a very accurate determination of the appropriate heating and cooling system size needed to keep you comfortable in your home.
Can I Install An Air Conditioner That’s The Same Size As My Existing System?
Yes, although it presumes that your existing system is correctly sized. Does your present system run continuously on the hottest and coldest days of the year? If so, it is probably not right sized. Have you made energy efficient home improvements like adding insulation, weather stripping windows and doors and sealing your duct work? If you have, then your existing system may now be too big.
If you’re considering an air conditioner or heat pump installation, it pays to have the system properly sized by an experienced HVAC contractor. To learn more about proper air conditioner sizing or to schedule a duct work inspection or a Manual J Calculation, call and speak with one of our friendly representatives today.