When getting estimates on HVAC system replacements, homeowners have lots of questions about what size their system should be. Too many homeowners think that buying a larger unit will heat/cool their homes better but bigger is not always better. If an HVAC system is improperly sized, it can cause more problems and cost you more money. That’s why its so important to have a licensed HVAC contractor assess your home before buying a new system.
What does Ton and SEER mean?
Heat pumps and air conditioners are rated in two different ways: cooling capacity and SEER rating. Cooling systems do NOT generate cold air, instead it relies on removing heat from inside your home. Cooling capacity (expressed in tons) refers to the amount of heat an air conditioner can take out of your home in an hour. So, one ton of cooling can remove 12,000 BTUs from your home’s air per hour. Each additional ton accounts for another 12,000 BTUs. A system’s SEER rating indicates energy efficiency. SEER is the total amount of cooling provided during the cooling season divided by the total electrical input for that season. Basically, the higher the SEER rating, the less electricity consumed to cool your home.
In the case of heating and air, bigger is not always better. Many people believe that by purchasing a larger unit, their home will cool better and faster. When an air conditioner is sized too large, it can cause your system to short-cycle. This is when your AC shuts off and turns back on rapidly. Short-cycling doesn’t allow your system to adequately remove the humidity which can lead to mold growth. Short-cycling also puts strain on the system, causing breakdowns. If an AC unit is too small, it will overwork to keep your home cool. This will end up costing you more money on your electric bill and cause premature breakdowns on your HVAC system.
What size does my home need?
Knowing the heated square footage of your home is a start but so much more goes into determining the proper size your HVAC system should be. A licensed HVAC contractor would need to perform what is called a load calculation. This calculation is usually done on a computer after a comfort specialist has evaluated your home. Information like square footage, window and door area, insulation, amount of sun exposure, heat producing appliances, amount of people in the home and the local climate are entered in to figure out just how much heating and cooling capacity is needed for your home.
Davis Heating & AC offers free estimates on system replacements so if you are interested in upgrading your system give us a call. We can help you if your think your unit may not be sized properly.