AC systems come in sizes ranging from 1.5 tons to 5 tons. Choosing the best one requires picking the right size for both your home’s square footage and your zone or climate region. The country is divided into eight climate regions; much of Texas has a hot and humid climate, which puts it in Zone 1. While a 1.5-ton system is suitable for homes of 900 square feet or less, larger homes need a bigger system to stay cool. If you have concerns about the size of yours, below are the signs your AC unit is too small for your house.
1. Increasing Cooling Bills
Some days in Texas are nice enough that you don’t need your AC, or you can use just a fan. Though your cooling bills will rise when you use the AC unit often, they should not keep rising as the summer season progresses. When the unit is too small, it uses more power to operate and keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Compare each power bill to the one from the previous month. If the amount due keeps rising, you likely have the wrong size of AC.
2. High Humidity
As your AC runs, it pulls some of the moisture from your home’s air and carries it away. Adding a dehumidifier is one way to reduce the mugginess in your air and make your home smell fresher. We encourage customers to use one of these appliances until we have time to inspect their AC units. If it feels as humid inside as it does outside, the unit is probably too small. In some cases, your AC might be strong enough to lower the temperature but not big enough to reduce humidity at the same time.
3. It Never Shuts Off
Most AC units have a design that regulates your home’s temperature. Once it reaches the desired temperature, the unit shuts itself off. A sign you have the wrong unit size is when it never shuts off. To test this, we recommend you set the temperature a few degrees lower. Check your thermostat to view the current reading, wait an hour, and check it again. An AC that is too small will keep running, but the temperature will only drop by a few degrees without reaching the level you want.
4. Poor or Bad Airflow
When you stand in front of a vent with the AC running, you should feel cold air coming out. If you do not notice any airflow or poor airflow, a clogged filter might be the culprit. In many homes, though, the AC unit is too small. Small units do not have the strength needed to push cold air through the vents, which leaves your home feeling too warm.
5. Room(s) Feel Hot
A properly sized AC unit will keep every room feeling as cool and comfortable as you want. When the system is too small, it simply cannot keep up with your needs or demands. A unit that is too small may run for hours without dropping the temperature as low as you want. It often causes one or more rooms to feel significantly hotter, too. We handle calls about hot rooms with a filter inspection first. Clogged or dirty filters restrict airflow, which leads to hot spots. If the filters look good, you may need a bigger unit.
6. Fluctuating Temperatures
Even if your AC unit works, one that is too small will cause fluctuating or inconsistent temperatures. When you have the right one, you cool all rooms at the same time and get a consistent level between spaces. In addition to inconsistent temperatures, the unit may create hot and cold spots. The spots are hotter or colder by a few degrees or more than the surrounding areas. It may feel as though you just stepped in front of a fan or heater.
7. Frequent Cycles
Though your thermostat settings determine how long it takes for your AC unit to cycle, a routine cycle should take no more than 20 minutes. A cycle tells you how long the unit needs to run to reach the temperature you want. A unit that starts cycling every 15 minutes or less and keeps turning itself on and off is one that is too small for your home.
Having an AC unit that is too small reduces the comfort of your home and increases both your cooling bills and the humidity level. We help our clients with AC repair, installation, and maintenance, heating repair, installation, and maintenance as well as help with duct cleaning, emergency repairs, dehumidifiers and humidifiers, air purifiers, indoor air quality, and carbon monoxide detection. Call Quality Cooling & Heating for AC or any other service and you live in the Austin or Abilene area.