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70th Anniversary of Purl's Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning

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Getting a Bigger AC Is Probably Not a Good Idea


We’re accustomed to thinking that getting an appliance that’s “more powerful” is always for the best. But this isn’t the case—and it’s certainly not the best when it comes to a central air conditioning system.

Maybe you’re unhappy with your current air conditioning in Fresno, CA. This recent summer was hot, and when you lowered the thermostat to your standard comfort level, you didn’t feel as cool as you expected. The air conditioner just didn’t seem like it could handle the heat. Getting a bigger AC might sound like a good solution; it seems sensible. But it rarely is. We’ll talk more about air conditioner size below and how to get the right cooling.

Air Conditioners Must Be Neither Too Small Nor Too Large

This is the “Goldilocks Rule” of cooling systems: an air conditioner must be just right for the house it’s supposed to cool. Not too small, not too large, but just right.

You can understand why an AC that’s too small will cause problems. It won’t have the cooling capacity—i.e. the ability to transport enough heat out of the house per hour—to deliver comfort, and it will just keep running and running, wasting power as it tries to reach a setting on the thermostat it can’t reach.

But why is an AC that’s too large a problem? Wouldn’t it be better to err on the side of an air conditioner that’s too powerful?

Here’s what goes wrong with an oversized air conditioner: it will shut off early. The AC will lower the temperature of the house so fast that the thermostat will register it’s already finished its cooling cycle and prematurely turn it off. The air conditioner will come back on again a short time later, then shut off again, and repeat this process. This is called short-cycling and it puts immense strain on the AC, often leading to an early replacement and too many repairs, and it wastes large amounts of power.

Your AC Probably Needs Repairs or a Replacement With the Same Size AC

If your air conditioner has only recently started to struggle with keeping the house cool, then it’s probably the right size for the house but has a malfunction that’s limiting its cooling capacity. For an AC younger than 10 years, it likely needs a targeted repair from professionals. An older air conditioner may require a replacement system, but not a bigger one. Our technicians will make sure whatever new system is installed is the right size.   

There Are Times When You Do Need a Bigger Air Conditioner

A poor installation job, one done either DIY or by amateur technicians, can put in an AC that’s too small for a house. In this case, putting in a larger AC (one that’s accurately sized for the space it must cool), is the best solution. If your AC has never delivered the level of comfort you need, then it may be an undersized system. Let our technicians examine the air conditioner and find out if you need a new installation of a cooling system that’s the correct size for your household’s comfort.

Call Purl’s Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning when you need a new air conditioning system installation. “Quality Is the Cornerstone of Our Success” since 1952.

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