Is Bigger Always Better with an HVAC System?
Many home and business owners in Orange Park, FL have known the discomfort of an air conditioner that flags on a hot and humid day or a heater that just can’t produce enough warmth in winter. When HVAC systems fail to deliver the optimal level of comfort at work or at home, it’s natural to wonder, “Is bigger better with an HVAC system?” The following information explains why size matters when it comes to heating and cooling systems.
How Heating and Cooling Systems are Sized
The cooled or warmed air that HVAC systems produce is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs), but the word “ton” is commonly used to describe system size. This terminology harkens back to the early days of refrigeration and refers to the amount of energy that it takes to freeze one ton of water or melt one ton of ice in a 24-hour period. When sizing a system, an HVAC technician must determine how many tons of cooling or heating that it will take to maintain the environment at a comfortable temperature.
In the past, HVAC contractors typically estimated system size largely based on the structure’s square footage. In the 1980s, the trade industry organization, Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), released a calculation method, known as the Manual J Load Calculation, that factors in multiple factors that can affect the proper system size. By entering parameters such as the structure’s geographical location, orientation and elevation, the right size is calculated. Factors like the number of occupants and appliances in the building are considered as well.
When Is a Big HVAC System Too Big?
An oversized heating or cooling system will quickly reach the temperature setting on your thermostat, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll enjoy the best level of comfort. Central air conditioning and heating systems are designed to circulate air throughout your home or business via a network of air ducts. As conditioned air is delivered, stale air is returned to the equipment for re-conditioning. When a system is too big, it shuts off before the air distribution cycle is complete.
Improper air circulation is particularly uncomfortable in the summer when you rely on your air conditioner to keep you comfortable. Because warm air holds more water vapor than cool air, air conditioners help dehumidify your home or business by extracting both heat and moisture from the air. When a too-big air conditioner cycles off prematurely, indoor humidity levels can rise, leaving the air feeling sticky or clammy. High humidity levels create the perfect environment for allergens like dust mites, mold and mildew as well.
Although an undersized system can’t deliver the comfort that you want while at work or at home, oversizing a system won’t meet your needs either. There’s only one size that’s perfect: the right one. At Mike Merritt Heating and Air, our skilled technicians take the time to determine the ideal system size. To schedule a perfectly sized heater or air conditioner installation, contact our expert technicians today.