One of the worst mistakes you can make when purchasing new HVAC equipment is choosing a unit that’s the wrong size for your space. Especially if your old unit was not providing adequate heating or air cooling, you may be tempted to go with a more powerful unit thinking you’ll get more comfortable conditions.
You won’t. When it comes to furnaces, boilers and air conditioners, bigger is not necessarily better. What you want is a unit with exactly the right capacity to meet the needs of your space.
Here are 8 reasons why an oversized unit is the wrong choice for your heating and air conditioning needs:
1. The unit cycles on and off frequently.
This is called short cycling, and it’s a common symptom of an oversized furnace or air conditioner. It means your system is working much harder, using more fuel, and providing less comfortable conditions.
2. More breakdowns.
When your unit turns on and off so many times throughout the day, it creates a lot of wear and tear on the equipment’s parts. Any good NYC HVAC service company will tell you that as a result, you’ll have parts failing sooner than expected and increased commercial air conditioning repair or furnace repair bills. Not to mention the inconvenience and possible business interruption due to a broken heating or air conditioning system.
3. Reduced equipment life span.
All that cycling is hard on your New York HVAC system. If you’ve purchased a unit with an expected life span of 15 to 20 years, that unit may fail in as little as 10 years.
4. Higher utility bills.
Oversized units waste energy since the equipment uses the most energy when it starts up. Because it’s starting up more times throughout the day, and has a higher capacity to begin with, you will see a spike in your energy usage.
5. Inconsistent temperatures.
The short cycling creates drafty, inconsistent heating and cooling, and you could also experience hot and cold zones throughout your building.
6. Humidity problems and poor indoor air quality.
Air conditioners that are oversized don’t run long enough to remove the moisture from the air. This results in too much humidity, which can cause you a host of problems ranging from furniture and computer damage to the growth and spread of bacteria, viruses and dangerous mold.
7. Noisy conditions.
That powerful unit cycling on and off all day at full blast makes a lot of noise that can interrupt your business. If you’re running a restaurant, retail location or health facility, it can even drive away customers.
8. Higher cost to purchase, operate and maintain.
Why would you pay more for something that’s going to cost you more to use and provide less comfortable conditions? This is a case where you don’t necessarily get what you pay for. Shelling out more for a higher capacity unit doesn’t get you more comfort. Go for the right sized unit to get exactly what you need.
Sometimes less is more.
In some cases, you may actually need a unit with a smaller capacity than you had previously. That’s because many buildings in NYC have HVAC equipment that was installed by a builder without adequate HVAC expertise. Sometimes builders make the same mistake as home and business owners, and install a larger unit than is required. Also, when buildings are renovated there are often design and energy efficiency improvements made that decrease the requirement for heating and cooling.
How to determine the right sized HVAC equipment for your needs.
It takes experience and the right tools to accurately determine the correct capacity for your space. Certified commercial HVAC companies will perform a Manual J load analysis to calculate the necessary capacity for your heating and cooling equipment.
This service takes many factors into account, including the square footage of your space, design elements, energy-efficiency features, building occupancy patterns and how the space is used. Most quality HVAC service providers use a software tool to do this calculation.
Don’t make the rookie mistake of buying heating or cooling equipment with a higher capacity than you need. If you’re being advised to do so by an installer, get a second opinion before you waste your money.
If you’re doubtful about the advice you’re getting from your current HVAC service provider, you may be thinking about switching but worried about terminating the relationship. There’s no good reason to stay with a provider that’s no longer serving your needs. To learn more about how to make a smooth transition, take a look at our helpful guide to Contract Confidence: Transitioning to a New HVAC Service Provider.