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AC Installation: Is Bigger Better?

top-view-of-an-outside-ac-unitOne of the most common misconceptions we encounter in the HVAC world from our customers is that “the bigger the air conditioner you get for your home, the better.” This actually isn’t true at all, and it leads homeowners to getting an AC system that costs too much and doesn’t do an efficient job of cooling the home.

This is one of the various reasons you need to hire pros like us to handle your AC installation in Nashville, TN. We’ll ensure you get an installation that is correctly matched to your home, to provide the cooling that your home needs for true comfort in our blazing hot summers. Without the right tonnage, you can’t count on your air conditioner functioning as it should.

Wait, What’s Tonnage?

This is a great question! We won’t get too much into the nitty gritty of it, but it is definitely an important part of sizing an air conditioner correctly for a home, or making sure an air conditioner is powerful enough, but not too powerful.

The term in and of itself may be confusing. Perhaps you think “tonnage” means the weight of the system. But tonnage doesn’t have anything to do with weight. When we say tonnage, we’re talking about how much heat your air conditioner is capable of removing from a home in one hour, which is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). A one-ton air conditioner can remove 12,000 BTUs of heat per hour, and each ton is an additional 12,000 BTUs.

So, the more tonnage an air conditioner has, the more air that air conditioner can cool down. Why wouldn’t you want the most powerful tonnage AC you could find, then?

The Trouble with Going Too Big

We understand why homeowners make the mistake of thinking it’s fine to get an overpowered air conditioner. You can just turn it down if it gets too cold, right? And your home will cool down faster this way?

Well, there’s a problem with erring on the side of too much cooling power. More tonnage actually has nothing to do with the speed an AC system cools down a space. It’s a measure of capacity—the amount of heat removed within an hour. So, by choosing too large of an air conditioner, you’ll find yourself facing:

  • A Short-Cycling Air Conditioner: If an AC system is too powerful for the space it’s meant to cool, the thermostat will register too early that the air conditioner’s job is finished, and shut off the compressor prematurely. It will turn back on just a short time later, only to shut off again. When this is repeated multiple times an hour, the problem is known as short-cycling.
  • Minimal Comfort from Your AC: If an air conditioner is running too long due to short-cycling, then there isn’t enough time for it to evenly distribute cooling around your home. This can and will lead to hot spots in the home, which could have been resolved with proper AC installation.
  • Your Home Will be Very Humid: Humidity and temperature both play a role in how comfortable any single person is. An air conditioning unit, while it’s not its main job, will help remove ambient moisture from the air. That is, so long as the system is properly cared for

These are just a few of the problems that an improperly sized air conditioner can cause, even if it’s a brand new installation.  

At Covenant Heating and Cooling, we are “dedicated to the promise of serving you!” Contact us today.

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