Finding the Right HVAC Size: Is Bigger Always Better?

October 20, 2020

Finding the Right HVAC Size: Is Bigger Always Better?
If you are shopping for a new HVAC system, one of the most important things is picking out the right size. The idea of a massive HVAC system might sound nice, but getting a larger unit is not always helpful. There can actually be a few potential issues with larger air conditioners. Here are some points to think about before you make your decision.

Benefits of Bigger HVAC Systems

As long as it is properly sized for your home, a large HVAC system can be quite helpful. A big HVAC system can quickly cool and heat large quantities of air. This ensures that you and your family are comfortable. A properly sized HVAC system will get temperatures to your desired level fairly quickly, so you do not end up freezing or sweating when the weather changes suddenly.

HVAC systems do more than just heat and cool your air; they also remove humidity which helps lower mold growth risks. Your system filters your air, removing pollen, pet hair, dust, and other debris. The larger a system is, the better it can handle large quantities of air. In massive homes or commercial spaces, a big system ensures you get the humidity control and air filtration you need.

Cons of Larger HVAC Systems

Before getting all excited about the perks of bigger systems, you should also keep in mind that there are some downsides. The main issue is cost. The larger the system, the more expensive it is to purchase. Bigger systems also tend to need more work to install, so installation costs will be pricier. If you are on a tight budget, saving up for a big system can be tricky. Expect to pay around $300 to $400 more for each extra ton of cooling you purchase.

The other downside is that a bigger system uses more energy. Because it is outputting so much air, it will require more electricity to run properly. This means higher energy bills and a higher operating cost overall. If you want to be eco-friendly and save on power consumption, big HVAC systems are not ideal.

There are also some issues associated with the sheer size of the unit itself. Bigger HVAC systems take up more space, so you might find it harder to fit them into your home. You may need to be prepared to build a larger enclosure or mount it in your attic. Since the unit is more powerful, it is also louder. You will need to make sure it is situated reasonably far away from living spaces if you do not want it to disrupt you.

What Happens If You Install a System That’s Too Big for Your House?

Whether the pros of a big AC outweigh the cons of an AC will depend entirely on your home. A big AC might be great in a large space, but in a small house, it can cause major problems. To understand why it can be an issue, it is helpful to understand how HVAC systems work. There is no difference in the actual temperature of air output by different sizes. Instead, the difference is that a larger size will expel more air at a quicker rate.

When the HVAC system is too large for your home, it barely runs at all. The system will switch on, quickly dump out just enough air to trigger your thermostat, and then shut off. However, areas situated far away from a thermostat or HVAC vent will not have enough time to get properly cooled or warmed. As the first blast of air spreads through your home, it quickly dissipates, leaving your thermostat to turn on the HVAC once more.

Essentially, you get a system that is constantly cycling on and off while barely managing to adjust your indoor air temperatures. All the constant switching on and off wastes a lot of electricity while putting excessive amounts of wear and tear on your system. An oversized HVAC system needs to be replaced far sooner than a properly sized system. It also makes your indoor air feel strange. You end up with warm and cold zones in your home, so air may never feel comfortable. Since the system cannot run long enough to remove humidity from your home, air may also feel unpleasantly damp and cause mold problems to develop in your home.

When Do You Need a Larger HVAC System?

Ultimately, there can be a lot of problems with getting a bigger HVAC system than your home needs. However, that does not necessarily mean that sizing up is always a bad idea. If your current HVAC system was too small for your home in the first place, you might actually need a bigger size.

There are a few different signs of an undersized HVAC system to look out for. First of all, consider how often your HVAC system runs. If it is constantly running, it might not be big enough. Another potential warning sign is a home that always feels too cold or too hot, no matter how long your HVAC system has been running. Just like an oversized HVAC, an undersized HVAC will also use too much electricity by running constantly. You can also test whether your HVAC is the right size by walking around the home. If some parts of your house are not being cooled enough or warmed enough, the HVAC might be undersized.

In these sorts of cases, a larger HVAC system can actually be helpful. By investing in a larger system, you end up with a unit that properly manages your indoor temperatures. The typical homeowner does not need a massive HVAC system. However, if you have a large home, have several people living in your home, or live in an extreme climate, a big HVAC system might be right for you.

How to Find the Perfect Size

As you can see, whether or not a bigger HVAC system is a good idea depends entirely on your unique situation. Discovering the perfect size for you requires more than just looking up the recommended size for the number of square feet in your home. Instead, you need a professional who can carefully evaluate your home and your living situation. There are many factors that go into considering HVAC system size, including:

  • Your home’s square footage
  • The insulation in your home
  • Shade trees outside your home
  • Average temperatures in your area
  • Your preferred indoor temperature
  • The size of your family
  • The number of floors you have

The experts at Air Patrol Air Conditioning, Heating & Fireplaces in Farmers Branch, TX, have plenty of experience helping customers find the right HVAC units. Our technicians can assess your house, discuss your needs, and recommend your ideal system size. In addition to HVAC installs, we also help with repairing broken systems and doing regular HVAC maintenance throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Go ahead and give us a call now to learn more about our services.

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