Size Matters: How the Size of Your HVAC System Impacts Performance

If you’re like most Harrisburg, North Carolina, homeowners, you want to be sure that your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system always performs up to your standards. While you’re probably aware that there are a variety of factors that can impact your system’s performance, there’s one performance issue with which you may not be familiar: the size of your HVAC system.

When we talk about size, we mean how much heating and cooling power your system possesses. Both oversized and undersized systems have distinct drawbacks, and they typically won’t perform the way that you want or need. Here are some of the different ways the size of your HVAC system affects performance and some tips for properly sizing your system.

Systems That Are Too Large or Too Small

Before we get into how to properly size an HVAC system, it’s a good idea to explain some of the drawbacks of improperly sized systems. Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to HVAC systems, and a smaller system is also problematic, even if it might seem more affordable at first glance.

Short cycling is probably the biggest performance issue that you’ll notice with an HVAC system that’s too large. Basically, short cycling is when your system frequently turns on and off, which can cause a myriad of problems. For starters, short cycling increases your energy consumption, which means your monthly bill will be a lot more expensive. Second, short cycling can decrease the life span of your system by increasing wear and tear. Finally, constant short cycling may result in cold and hot spots in your home.

If your HVAC system is too small, you’ll also notice several issues. Systems that are too small will need to run constantly to control the temperature in your house, skyrocketing your energy bill. You may also notice that your home is less comfortable, as a smaller system simply may not have the power to maintain your desired temperature and humidity.

Importance of Load Calculations

Now that you know why having a properly sized system is so important, we can discuss how to make sure you have the right size system for your house. When you’re getting ready to purchase a new HVAC system, a technician should perform a load calculation to determine the heating and cooling loads for your house.

Heating and cooling loads are a calculation that determines how much energy your system needs to output in order to heat and cool your home effectively. To make sure that your system is the right size, several factors must be taken into account while performing load calculations. This includes the size of your house, how many doors and windows are in your home, and the amount of insulation in your home, among others.

Load calculations are of vital importance because they can help you decide what size system you need for your home to both maintain your comfort and get the most efficient performance possible. Without these calculations, correctly sizing your system will be virtually impossible.

What Is the Manual J Method?

Load calculations can be performed in several different ways, but the most effective by far is calling an HVAC professional to do something known as a Manual J calculation. The Manual J calculation is a standardized method for calculating heating and cooling loads and will make it much easier to choose the right system for your house.

When your contractor performs a Manual J calculation, they will take a variety of measurements around your home and then input those calculations into a piece of software. Then, the software will use these measurements to precisely calculate the heating and cooling load and recommend a properly sized system for your home. With this method, your contractor can help you purchase a system that is fine-tuned to your needs and will keep you comfortable.

If you’re ready to buy a new HVAC system and need help with sizing, call Dulin Mechanical today at (704) 237-3641. Our experienced technicians know how to implement the Manual J method and would be glad to visit your home and help you determine exactly what size system you need for optimal heating and cooling. After you’ve purchased your new system, we will handle your installation quickly and effectively.

Image provided by Shutterstock

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