Buying a new AC, Bigger is not better

By Larry Howald

new acSummer has finally arrived. If your household is in need of a new air conditioner, remember bigger is not better.

I always prepare myself and my techs for typical consumer questions and comments when this investment is being researched by a homeowner. A common request is to ask for an oversized air conditioner to replace old equipment.  We hear homeowners say, “You know, if the house dictates a three-ton system, let’s install a four ton unit, just to be sure.” Many homeowners think the four-ton unit will run less, make them feel cooler and cost less to operate since it is on and off so quickly since it’s bigger.

All these observations sound good, but in reality they can spell disaster for the homeowner. Remember, an air conditioner is designed to do two things: remove the heat from the air in your home and remove humidity.

If an oversized air conditioner is installed, the unit will come on and shut off so quickly that it won’t run long enough to pull moisture from the air. The house will feel like a cave or damp basement. Think cold and clammy. It will not make the air cool and comfortable.

As for the lower cost to operate–forget about it! It costs much more to have an air conditioner short cycle than to have a system that is properly sized to run a normal cycle. It also will deliver more even temperatures throughout the home.

A reputable company will have a technician available to provide an in-home analysis that looks at the total square footage of your house, number of rooms, number of floors, window placement and more to make an air conditioning unit recommendation. Listen to your heating and air consultant. If he has done a good job analyzing your home for the right size of equipment, then you will be cool and comfortable all spring and summer, no matter how hot and humid it is outside.