Buying a new cooling system isn’t the easiest job you’ll ever face as a homeowner. Before you can start making decisions about its energy efficiency and features, a reputable contractor will take you through the air conditioner sizing process first.
Regardless of the price of an HVAC system or its features, if it isn’t sized correctly, you won’t see its maximum energy efficiency or durability. HVAC contractors use software called Manual J to find the best size for homes.
The software takes into account:
- The cubic footage to be cooled.
- Insulation levels in the walls and attic.
- Window sizes, position and energy efficiency.
- Rates of air infiltration.
- Heat-producing appliances indoors.
- Orientation of the home to the sun.
- Landscaping factors.
- Personal temperature preferences.
- Family size and ages.
The sizing exercise involves measuring rooms, windows and exterior doors, as well as inspecting the attic and wall insulation. Once the HVAC pro inputs the data, Manual J returns sizing recommendations.
It’s important to go through the process to avoid installing the wrong size system. One that’s too small won’t be able to keep up with the hottest weather Orlando experiences. One that’s too large won’t run in cycles long enough to fully condition your whole house.
Avoiding short cycling is the primary reason behind air conditioner sizing. It drives up energy costs, leaves humidity behind and wears the HVAC system out faster. Air conditioners use the most energy when they start up. Once they reach the middle of their cycle, they’re much more efficient.
The strain on the motors and the compressor is also at its highest when the system first starts, which wears them out faster and increases repair costs. Since the equipment isn’t running long enough during the cooling cycle, it won’ t remove as much humidity, which is a serious issue in Florida.
As you search for your next cooling system, be sure that you insist that your contractor goes through the air conditioner sizing process. If you’d like to learn more, contact the pros at Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions, providing Orlando-area homeowners with HVAC services.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).