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Greenleaf Heating & Cooling Blog

Will a Larger Air Conditioner Perform Better?


When it comes time to purchase a new appliance for the home, most homeowners believe “the bigger the better.” This makes sense on the surface level–bigger appliances are typically more powerful appliances, and that’s always a good thing.

Except in the case of an air conditioner or forced-air heating system. Customers often ask us if a larger air conditioner will perform better, and the short answer is, “not always.” You see, yes, a bigger air conditioner means a more powerful one, but a cooling system can actually be overpowered for a home, leading to just as many problems as a system that is underpowered.

Read on to learn the differences between an underpowered system that’s too small for the space it’s installed in, and an overpowered system that’s actually too big for its space.

When an Air Conditioner Is Underpowered…

Homeowners tend to understand what happens when an air conditioner is too small–or underpowered–for a home. It simply cannot keep up with the home’s cooling demands, forcing the system’s compressor to run longer and basically work harder than it should have to in order to keep you cool. As a result, you can expect a rise in energy costs, and it will exacerbate wear and tear on the system.

Additionally, if a system is undersized, it simply won’t be able to keep you as comfortable as you’d like or deserve. During one of our hottest summer days, you can understand why this would be a problem. It’s best to ensure that you have a properly sized air conditioner installed right from the start.

When an Air Conditioner Is Overpowered…

An overpowered air conditioner is an issue that most homeowners are less familiar with. While you probably think that the bigger the system is, the better, as we mentioned at the start of this blog post, an overpowered system is actually really inefficient. This is because optimal cooling system efficiency happens through continued operation and regular cycles.

Air conditioner compressors are designed to run in 15-minute increments, 2-3 times per hour. If the compressor runs for shorter increments, more often, this is called short-cycling and it creates a lot of strain on the system. It expedites wear and tear on the system and can lead to a premature breakdown.

The only way to “fix” an overpowered system is by replacing it altogether, so it’s best to start off with the right size, to begin with!

“How Do I Find the Right-Sized Air Conditioner?”

By contacting trained and experienced professionals such as the folks on our team! We conduct what’s called a “cooling load calculation” where we look at many factors to decide what size will best fit your specific home and needs.

Yes, we do look at the overall square footage of your home, but we look at other factors as well, such as the type and condition of your home’s insulation, the number of windows and doors in the home, how high the ceilings are, and more. This will help us guide you in making an educated decision for your home cooling needs.

Greenleaf Heating & Cooling is your trusted resource for AC repair in Whittier and beyond. Contact us today!

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