Why Does Air Conditioner Sizing Matter?

woman questioning ac sizing

Cooling systems are pushed to their limits during summer. There are times when homeowners notice that their older air conditioners simply aren’t able to handle the extra heat. When units start experiencing regular breakdowns, the need for an air conditioner replacement is undeniable. However, consumers are often confused about the type of air conditioner that will work best in their homes. Many are tempted to invest in similar models, but this could lead them to repeat past mistakes. Others might be eager to invest in the biggest air conditioners they can find, thinking that this will provide faster and more efficient cooling. It’s far better to start at the proverbial drawing board by considering the many factors that will determine what your house needs. For instance, during any new air conditioner installation, air conditioner sizing is a very important factor to consider.

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What A Manual J Load Calculation Is And Why It Matters

Conducting a Manual J load calculation is a very involved effort that accounts for multiple factors that impact a home’s cooling needs. Licensed HVAC professionals who know all about the intricacies of these installations should handle this calculation. They may be able to expedite this process with advanced software that additionally ensures precision.

It’s vital for certain characteristics of a home to be quantified including the height of the ceilings, the floor area, the building orientation, materials used in construction, window sizes, air leaks, household occupants, the amount of heat generated by appliances, insulation, and local climate. With the resulting numerical value, no guesses will need to be made. You’ll have a very clear and specific understanding of your needs for AC sizing and cooling load.

Home Comfort

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The ultimate goal of air conditioning is to make building residents more comfortable. Cooling is only one single factor of indoor comfort. An air conditioner must also have the ability to limit humidity at the building interior through condensate. Vapor at or around the AC coils will turn into beads of water that travel down the channels.

One issue with oversized air conditioners is that their cooling is so rapid that the cycle completes before adequate condensation has happened. Constantly high levels of humidity can make those within the home feel uncomfortable and sticky. People might try lowering the temperature settings on their air conditioners in an effort to get relief, only to have their energy bills soar. Oversized units and their short cycles also lead to a decrease in the quality of the indoor air. These systems are forcing less air through the air filters which diminishes the overall efficacy of the cleaning process.

There are also problems with units that are undersized. Options that are too small for homes won’t be able to meet the related cooling needs. They will take a long time to create the desired temperature. When the summer days grow excessively hot, an undersized air conditioner might not have the ability to offset the warmth of the sun on the roof. This unit will work much harder than intended, and it will still fail to meet its target. Undersized air conditioners additionally run all of the time, thereby causing faster wear. You can anticipate regular breakdowns and a significantly shorter lifespan as a result.

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Overall Efficiency

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In terms of determining the overall efficiency of a unit, you want to find a model that has a good SEER rating. This is a very effective way to ensure that electrical energy is efficiently converted into cooling power. Homeowners, however, should look at other factors in addition to this rating, like sizing.

A unit that is not sized correctly for the property will never truly reflect its SEER rating. It will instead perform sub-optimally, either with prolonged or shortened cycles. This will create a lot of energy waste. Additional wear will also limit the efficiency of the air conditioner. As such, there is no point in investing in any AC model that has a good SEER rating if the sizing isn’t correct for your home.

The Cost

Mismatched units or AC systems with improper sizing will take a financial toll from the very start by making you spend far more than necessary on cooling. The price invariably increases with more horsepower, so it’s definitely worthwhile to accurately determine your needs for sizing and cooling before selecting any model.

Frequent cycling leads to energy waste. You will face worn components and lower system efficiency which creates high energy bills. Extreme stress on overworked components will also lead to an increased need for repairs and a possible early replacement.

You can prevent added and unnecessary spending by simply seeking correct sizing from the very outset. Hiring a licensed professional to perform a Manual J calculation is more than worth the spending.

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Why Oversized Air Conditioners Are Problematic

image of high humidity levels

To review, an oversized air conditioner is troublesome given that it will cool the space far too quickly which leads to shorter cycles. This limits an air conditioner’s ability to reduce indoor humidity via the coils and to improve the quality of the indoor air through proper filtration. Air conditioners that are too large run sub-optimally and use more energy than necessary. People also wind up spending too much on these cooling systems.

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Why Undersized Air Conditioners Are Problematic

Having an undersized AC is just as bad as installing an oversized. It won’t have adequate cooling power for your home or your home comfort needs. A too-small unit will not provide relief in the summertime and thus, its value is questionable overall. These units run non-stop as they try to reach the desired temperature and fail repeatedly. Various components will always be under excessive stress which leads to early replacements, equipment failure, and costly repairs.



Selecting an air conditioner isn’t a race to extremes. Being the smallest or the biggest doesn’t ensure optimum performance. Even though one might assume this is true, all spaces have unique needs. The right A/C unit for your home will meet its specific requirements. Sizing is a critical factor when choosing an air conditioner as it will determine cost, comfort, and efficiency. Don’t use a basic rule-of-thumb for this incredibly important purchasing decision. Instead, hire a reputable HVAC contractor who uses advanced technical tools to properly calculate the exact sizing requirements for your next AC.

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Contact Lawes Company For Your Air Conditioning Requirements

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Residents in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, New Jersey can always rely on Lawes Company for top-of-the-line cooling and heating solutions. Our technicians are able to provide fast, reliable, and accurate installations, replacements, tune-ups, and repairs on your HVAC system. Our techs have the experience and the know-how for ensuring superior workmanship and results.

Lawes Company offers highly competitive pricing on heating and cooling services throughout the region. For improved comfort, greater efficiency, and more manageable home cooling costs, take advantage of our maintenance services. If you want to have your home air conditioner replaced, we’ll help you find the perfect model for your space and your spending abilities. Our work is backed by a solid guarantee. Call Lawes Company now to set your appointment up.

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