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Think You Need a Bigger AC? You Might … Or You Might Not

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A common misconception about air conditioning systems we often encounter is that if an AC isn’t providing enough cooling for a home, the best solution is to upgrade to a bigger air conditioner. On the surface, this seems like a rational basic choice. Sometimes it is the best step: an air conditioning system that’s too small for the house it’s supposed to cool is the wrong AC for the house.

However, if you’ve had the same AC working in your home for several years and have only recently encountered the problem with poor cooling, going to a bigger air conditioner is a mistake. The air conditioner is the correct size to meet your cooling needs, but something else has gone wrong. You might need repairs for the system, or perhaps a new air conditioning installation in Los Angeles, CA—but not necessarily a bigger new air conditioner.

The Goldilocks AC: Not Too Big, Not Too Small, but Just Right

This is what you need to know about the size of an air conditioner: it must match the house without going too small or too big. You can understand why an AC that’s too small will create a problem—you won’t receive enough cooling for the house. But the reasons an over-large AC creates problems seem less obvious. “What’s wrong with going a bit more powerful?” people think. “You can just turn the AC down if it gets too cold.”

Here is what’s wrong: an oversized air conditioner will lower the indoor temperature so rapidly that the thermostat will incorrectly read that the AC has reached the cooling goal for the entire house, even though only part of it has. The air conditioner will shut down early, only to turn back on again a short time later. This process is called short-cycling, and it drains immense amounts of power and wears down an air conditioning system quickly. 

The AC Could Be Undersized

Is this a new air conditioning system? If you’re already finding it can’t get the job done right, you may need to have a larger one, i.e. one that is accurately sized. If you had amateurs install the AC, they might have done a poor job sizing it and put in one that’s too small. Ask our experts to look over the system and see if it’s the wrong size. We can put in an accurately sized system if it is. (This is a reminder of why it’s best to always trust licensed professionals for any AC service.)

What Else Might Cause a Decline in Cooling?

If your air conditioner has done good work for your home for years, a drop in cooling may be due to a clogged air filter, a repair issue, or excess age. Replace a clogged filter first to see if this improves the situation, then call our technicians to examine the system to find the source of the problem. We may be able to fix it and get the AC back to normal. If the air conditioner is more than 15 years old, we’ll probably advise a replacement system—not a bigger AC, but a newer one with the same cooling capacity.

Call our friendly technicians 24/7 for exceptional customer service. Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical serves Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.

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