Choosing the Right Size Home Comfort System

When selecting a new home comfort system, think like Goldilocks. You don’t want to pick out a unit that’s too big or too small, you want to choose a unit that’s just the right size for your home. You might be tempted to believe that the bigger the system, the better it is, when that is simply not the case.

When shopping for a new central air system, it’s important to educate yourself on what size is appropriate for your home—and why it’s important to avoid purchasing a larger unit than your home requires. Usually, a representative from a heating and air company will come out to your home, take the appropriate measurements, evaluate other factors and recommend a unit. It’s important to get a few bids from different companies, and have some knowledge going into the process, because it’s not unheard of for heating and air contractors to try to sell you an oversized unit in order to make a more profitable sale.

Why is an oversized unit bad for my home?

One of the reasons it’s important to pick a unit that isn’t too large is that, in addition to cooling your home, home comfort systems remove excess humidity from the air. Moisture from the air in your home collects as condensation on your unit’s coils. Eventually, with enough condensation, the water begins to drip into a pan below the coils intended to collect the water and allow it to drain outside your home.

In order for this process to occur, your unit needs to run for more than a few minutes. If you have a unit that is too large, it will cool your home quickly, but it won’t run long enough to collect a sufficient amount of water and allow it to drain. Instead, the moisture collects as condensation on your unit’s coils, but eventually converts back into water vapor and is recirculated through the air in your home.

If your unit regularly runs for only a few minutes before shutting off, it could be oversized. If it runs for a few minutes, shuts off, and then starts up again shortly thereafter, this can also cause more wear and tear to your home comfort system. This can diminish the lifespan of your unit and lead to costly repairs or replacement.

Why is an undersized unit bad for my home?

While having a home comfort system that is too small for your home is still not ideal, it’s not quite as detrimental as having a unit that is too large. An undersized unit will be able to effectively remove excess humidity from your home, and may cool your home to your desired temperature, but it will have to run for longer periods of time—and possibly constantly, depending on how small it is. As a result, it will use more energy and run up your electric bill.

So, when selecting a new home comfort system, your obvious goal should be to pick the correct size for your home, but if you’re faced with the choice of sizing slightly up or down, you should err on the side of sizing down.

For more information on selecting, purchasing or maintaining your home comfort system, contact Barineau Heating & Air Conditioning or give us a call at (850) 580-4029.

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