Oversized AC Unit Risks: Short Cycling, Bill Increase, Hot Spots

There are a few common misconceptions out there when it comes to air conditioning, and one of them is also found in other areas of life: The myth that bigger is always better. While it’s absolutely true that you need an air conditioner that’s large and powerful enough to cool all the square footage in your home, simply buying the biggest AC unit possible and plugging it in isn’t the right answer either.

At My Buddy the Plumber, we’re here to help with this and numerous related heating and air themes, including basic AC installation and repair services where unit size is a common issue discussed. What are the problems with installing a unit that’s too large for your home, and how can you be sure this doesn’t happen to you if you’re purchasing a new AC system? This two-part blog series will go over everything you need to know.

oversized AC risks bill

Short Cycling

The first issue that an oversized AC unit creates, and one that is often the central source of some of the other problems we’ll discuss here, is a concern known as short cycling. This refers to a situation where, rather than running cycles that last between 7-10 minutes at a time, the unit will run for much shorter cycles – this is because it’s too large and powerful for the space, and doesn’t actually need the longer amounts of time to cool it.

You may think this is a good thing, but the opposite is the case. Short cycles like these badly strain and overwork the air conditioner, and will cause it to wear down far faster than it would otherwise. In addition, these cycles create several other problems that we’ll go over in the remainder of this series.

Higher Bills

One such issue created by short-cycling: Higher cooling bills, even if your cooling comfort is identical or even has worsened since the issues began. As we noted above, it requires harder work from an AC unit to turn itself on and off so often – this takes up more power, which in turn costs you more at the end of the month.

Uneven Cooling

And not only might short cycling cause you to pay more, it will also lead to poor, uneven cooling. Part of the reason the standard AC cycle is 7-10 minutes is to allow cool air to be evenly dispersed to every part of the home; when the cycle is shorter, though, some spots won’t receive as much, or any at all in some cases. Certain rooms will actually get too cold, as they’ll receive the brunt of the air, while other rooms or areas will stay far too warm.

For more on the negatives of an oversized AC unit, or to learn about any of our HVAC or pluming services, speak to the staff at My Buddy the Plumber today.