Properly Sizing Mechanical Systems in Multifamily Buildings
In the Orange, CA region’s mixed-humid climate, humidity control can become a real challenge because there is a lot of moisture added per square foot from cooking, bathing and even just breathing due to the dense occupancy of a multi-family facility.
The small exterior envelope areas mean the air conditioning units don’t kick on very often - this removes their ability to remove the moisture from the air.
High humidity can lead to complaints over comfort, condensation on registers and exposed duct work, and even mold. To effectively remove moisture, the air conditioner should run for long stretches. And to do this, you’ll need a properly sized heating & cooling system.
Properly Sizing A Multi-Family Mechanical System
Most of these issues are the result of a very natural instinct to be conservative in the face of uncertainty. The truth is there are a lot of variables that will change the real-world heating and cooling load in a unit: how many people are in the apartment, when they are cooking, are they using blinds. The problem is in this case “conservative” means designing for temperature control at the expense of humidity control.
Every extra ½ ton capacity means less dehumidification. The only way to control both temperature and humidity is to perform accurate load calculations, resist the urge to add extra safety factors, and size the equipment strictly according to the calculated loads.
The truth is, smaller equipment requires smaller electric service capacities. Especially in a rehab situation with existing service, choosing right-sized equipment is more likely to allow the use of existing service instead of requiring expensive service upgrades.
Multi-Family Mechanical System Experts
Contact Spicer Mechanical to speak to one of our Multi-Family specialists.