Spring is the season for air conditioner replacement sessions, as old worn systems aren’t up to another summer and the temperature rises every day. If you’ve decided that you need a new air conditioner in your home, now is the perfect time to get it installed: when you can plan the operation at leisure and make the right calculations without the pressure of triple-digit temperatures breathing down your neck.
Among the most important factors to consider is the power load of your new air conditioner: the amount of cooling power it’s capable of generating. It’s a trickier equation than it sounds, but it’s essential to giving you the most effective system for your money. Here’s a breakdown of how it all works.
The Load Must Be Balanced
Most people are eager to purchase the most powerful air conditioner that can afford since more power means faster cooling levels. This is true, but it comes with its own drawbacks that you need to be familiar with. An underpowered air conditioner will waste a tremendous amount of energy by running constantly without ever cooling your home. But an overpowered air conditioner will waste energy as well. Air conditioners spend far more energy powering up and powering down than they do simply running, and if your system is too powerful, it will engage in a practice known as “short-cycling”: turning on and off rapidly numerous times throughout the day. That adds considerable strain to the system as well as raises your energy costs. A properly balanced system obeys when we like to call the Goldilocks Rule: either too larger or too small, but just right.
How to Calculate Power Loads
The power load for your air conditioner should be conducted by a professional: ideally, the same team that will perform the installation of the new unit. Proper load levels start with the measurement of the square footage in your home, which provides a base number to work with. (Your existing air conditioner’s power load levels make a good place to start too.) But beyond that basic number, the technician needs to take a number of other factors into consideration, including the following:
- Insulation keeps your indoor air cool in the summer as well as retaining heat in the winter. A home with a lot of insulation doesn’t need quite so much power in its air conditioner.
- Sunlight exposure. Wide windows with a western view provide a great deal of sunlight exposure in the heat of the day, which can warm your house up considerably. That will require higher power levels if you wish to keep the space cool.
- Double-paned windows. Double-paned windows help improve insulation in your home and will affect the efficiency of your heating and cooling system similar to other forms of insulation.
- Kitchen size. You often use ovens, range-tops, and other heat-generating devices in your kitchen, this means that the square footage of your kitchen will play a bigger factor in determining load levels than other parts of the home.
If you’re installing a new air conditioner in your Mahwah, NJ home, call Design Air Inc. for professional service!