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What Does it Mean to Size an HVAC System?

technicianWhen you hear HVAC technicians refer to “sizing” an air conditioner or heater, they’re not talking about how the unit will fit inside of your home. While that’s certainly part of their expertise and something they should take great care in doing, what this terminology actually refers to is the unit’s output.

It’s going to take a very particular amount of power to sufficiently warm or cool your home. Too much power is bad, and so is too little. We’ll explain the specifics down below, as well as what your options are if your system turns out to be the wrong size.

Why Do HVAC Systems Need Sizing?

In the past, heating or cooling a home wasn’t such a complex affair. The purpose of the HVAC unit was to heat or cool your home as quickly as possible. Of course, that comes at no benefit to the homeowner, who must fork over an expensive energy bill. Nor is it the most environmentally friendly use of energy.

Nowadays, the ideal method is my running the HVAC system through a series of cycles. Each cycle heats or cools the home a little bit more. Eventually, the home reaches the temperature designated on the thermostat, and the cycles will stop. Thanks to cycling, the home will stay at that temperature for much longer before the temperatures dissipate. However, this whole method relies upon the HVAC system outputting the proper amount of energy in the first place.

The Result of an Oversized Unit

If the HVAC unit is too powerful, it will change the temperature of the home too quickly. This triggers a false reading in the thermostat, thus signaling it to end the cycling. Very soon after, the temperature will return to normal, and it will turn the HVAC system back on. This cycle continues over and over—and rapidly—in a process known as “short-cycling.”

Short-cycling will prevent the home from ever reaching the desired temperature. Not only that, but it causes the unit to enter the start-up cycle repeatedly, which is very hard on the unit.

The Result of an Undersized Unit

An undersize will do just the opposite of an oversized unit, but the outcome is nearly the same: it’s extremely inefficient and damaging to your system.

A unit that isn’t powerful enough will continually go through heating or cooling cycles—over and over and over. The temperature in the home will gradually return to normal faster than the unit is able to cool or heat it. The result is an HVAC unit that takes ages to turn off, if at all.

How to Get the Perfectly Sized Unit

If you’re dealing with a salesman instead of an actual technician, they might try sizing your home by using nothing more than a reference in a handbook. They’ll match your home’s square footage to the correct output, and then round up. But these references are nothing more than references, and they rarely perfectly reflect the actual needs of a home.

To ensure that you’re getting a unit that’s perfectly sized for your home, you’ll want to make sure your HVAC contractor in Fort Wayne, IN is really doing the legwork to perform the load calculations. That figure can include everything from the number of windows in the home to how many trees are in your yard.

You’ll only work with a professional when you work with us. Contact Collier’s Comfort today. True Comfort, True Savings.

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