If you are shopping for HVAC in Santa Rosa, you may find yourself answering these questions. Indeed, system size is one of the biggest question marks for homeowners seeking new HVAC systems. Nobody wants to end up with a system that isn’t powerful or robust enough to heat or cool their home effectively. As a result, many first-time HVAC buyers go with the “bigger is better” mantra when replacing their HVAC equipment. Believe it or not, though, oversized systems are among the most significant utility problems in Santa Rosa homes.
Oversized HVAC Systems: Why They Are a Problem
Everyone knows that undersized HVAC systems are a problem. If the unit is too small, it will either be working way too hard to maintain a temperature in your home or won’t be able to retain the temperature thermostat. With an undersized system, you’ll probably find that your home is hotter than you want it to be in the summer and colder than you want it to be in the winter. What most people don’t understand, though, is that having an oversized system is essentially just as problematic.
There are a few reasons that oversized HVAC systems don’t work well. Let’s start with the air conditioner side of the equation. Your home’s air conditioning system has two core functions: lowering the temperature of your home and dehumidifying the air. These two processes coincide. When your air conditioner switches on, it is simultaneously working to match the temperature of the air with the thermostat and to remove moisture from the air. Only if the AC system succeeds in doing both of these things will you be able to enjoy a comfortable interior environment during the peak of summer.
The problem with an oversized air conditioning system is mainly that it does the first job too quickly. Your AC unit works by blasting air over an evaporator coil that is very cold. The coil cools the air, which can then be distributed around the house and pushed out through your air vents. In humid areas, though, the coil also pulls moisture out of the air because its temperature is below the dew point. Over time, that moisture condenses on the evaporator coil and starts dripping into a pan below the coil. Eventually, this pan fills up, and the water drains out of the system and into the outdoors.
The longer the air conditioner runs, the more moisture accumulation you get on the evaporator coil. You need higher concentrations of moisture on the coil for it to start dripping into the pain and draining out of the house. If not much moisture is building up on the coil, then it isn’t being drained. When the AC unit switches off, it will evaporate back into the air, and you will still have a humidity problem. Since oversized AC units cool your home too quickly, they never run long enough for a considerable amount of moisture to build up on the coil. As a result, oversized systems could never properly dehumidify your home.
Now, let’s look at the heating side of the equation. The two top priorities for heating your home in the winter are getting your house to a comfortable, safe temperature and making sure that heat levels are consistent throughout your home. Oversized furnace systems cause significant problems in the latter category. These systems are meant to heat spaces larger than your home, which means they blast larger quantities of hot air at you while running. These quick bursts are so powerful that your thermostat will almost immediately register that its set temperature has been met. In other words, just like with your oversized AC unit, your oversized furnace is running in shorter bursts than an appropriately sized system would. The problem here is consistency. Eventually, the heat will spread out and distribute evenly throughout your home. However, this diffusion takes time and results in wildly varying hot and cold spots throughout the house in the interim. Spots by heating vents will be almost unbearably hot, while areas farther away from vents will feel frigid.
Finally, on both the heating and cooling sizes, there are issues with wear and tear. Air conditioners and furnaces do better if they can limit their stops and starts throughout the day. Oversized systems have to start up and stop more frequently, which means their condition often declines more quickly than it would in an appropriately sized home.
Call a Technician for Help with HVAC in Santa Rosa
If you are shopping for a new heating or cooling system for your home, don’t rely on guesswork and don’t trust the “bigger is better” mantra. Instead, call a technician experienced with HVAC in Santa Rosa and ask for help identifying the right systems for your home. The technician will be able to estimate the right-sized system based on several factors, such as your home’s square footage, how insulated your home is, and how your house is oriented relative to the sun.
Valley Comfort conducts HVAC system installation and repair services in the following communities: Santa Rosa, Napa, Rohnert Park, Healdsburg, St Helena, Calistoga and Windsor.