What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

Whether you’re building a new home or upgrading your existing air conditioning system, there is one question you're guaranteed to ask: what size air conditioner do I need? Choosing the correct air conditioner size is a balancing act. Too large, and you could face poor humidity control and significant energy expenses. Too small, and the unit might not be able to maintain comfortable temperatures on sweltering hot days. Correct air conditioner sizing is required to enjoy an efficient, cost-effective and comfortable cooling experience.

The Importance of Sizing Your Air Conditioner Correctly

Ensuring your air conditioner provides the perfect cooling capacity is a matter of comfort and cost savings. Here’s why you shouldn’t merely guess the ideal air conditioning system size:

  • Humidity control: An oversized unit cools too quickly, reducing humidity removal and leaving your home clammy. A right sized air conditioner will regulate indoor humidity levels more efficiently.
  • Even temperatures: A well-suited air conditioner circulates cool air evenly and decreases irritating temperature changes between cycles.
  • Peak day performance: An undersized system will struggle to get your home to the target temperature on hot summer afternoons, so you need a unit large enough to keep up with cooling demand.
  • Proper cycling: Air conditioners turn on and off with plenty of run time during each cycle. Units that are too large cycle too quickly, causing40 additional wear and tear. Then again, an undersized system runs continually, which may cause overheating.
  • Manageable utility bills: Cycling issues caused by installing the wrong size of air conditioner cause higher energy bills. However, a unit that is the proper size will work effectively and keep your utility bills in check.

Understanding Air Conditioner Size

Cooling capacity is calculated in British thermal units (BTUs). A BTU is a standard unit of energy that shows the amount of heat an air conditioner can remove in one hour. A large percentage of room AC units range from 5,000 to 18,000 BTUs. Because central air conditioners are bigger, they’re typically measured in tons. A one-ton system is proportionate to 12,000 BTUs. Many central AC units range from 1 to 5 tons.

Sizing a Room Air Conditioner

When considering window or portable air conditioners, sizing mostly depends on the room’s square footage. Measure the area—length x width—and match it to the appropriate BTUs:

  • A room measuring 150 to 350 square feet will probably require a 5,000 to 8,000 BTU air conditioner.
  • A room between 350 and 550 square feet should need an 8,000 to 12,000 BTU unit.
  • A large room or open area of 550 to 1,000 square feet may call for a 12,000 to 18,000 BTU unit.

These general guidelines don’t take into account factors like interior heat gain or how much sun streams in through the windows of the room. For a more accurate calculation, seek expert advice from Falso Service Experts.

Sizing a Central Air Conditioner

Figuring out the perfect size of central air conditioner begins with the home’s square footage, but correct sizing requires a more in-depth look. HVAC professionals rely on load calculations outlined in Manual J to determine a home’s particular cooling requirements. Here are the factors that professionals consider:

  • Square footage: How large of a home you have significantly affects its cooling requirements, with more sizeable homes generally requiring more cooling capacity.
  • Local climate: Where you live impacts your cooling needs as well. Parts of the country with sweltering hot, humid summers naturally demand a higher cooling capacity than cooler, drier areas.
  • Interior heat gain: The heat produced inside your home can come from people, lights, electronics and appliances. Higher internal heat increases your home’s cooling requirements.
  • Insulation levels: The level of insulation in your walls, attic and floors affects how much heat gets into your living space. Well-insulated homes keep cool air more effectively, decreasing the cooling load.
  • Air infiltration rate: This refers to how much outside air penetrates through leaks or cracks in the building envelope. Homes with a significant air infiltration requires more cooling to counter the warm, humid outdoor air that makes its way through the walls and into your home.
  • Home orientation and window layout: The direction your home faces determines its sun exposure, which in turn impacts your home’s cooling load. A single-family dwelling with expansive south-facing windows absorbs more heat and requires a larger air conditioner than a north-facing condo.

Other Factors to Consider When Buying an AC

Besides knowing what size air conditioner you need, consider these additional factors when installing a new air conditioner:

  • Brand: Not all air conditioners are created equal. It’s vital121 to select a reputable brand for dependability and longevity.
  • Efficiency rating: The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) shows the total heat an air conditioner can take out per unit of electricity it consumes. Higher SEER ratings indicate higher efficiency, decreasing your utility bills.
  • Maintenance requirements: Regular maintenance keeps your system running effectively. Most air conditioner makers suggest yearly tune-ups to catch small problems before they turn into expensive repairs.

Get Expert Help Sizing Your Air Conditioner from Falso Service Experts

Choosing139 the right air conditioner size can be stressful. The Experts at Falso Service Experts are here to assist with all your cooling and heating needs. We provide custom cooling strategies to optimize home comfort, efficiency and energy savings.

From establishing your exact cooling specifications to helping you understand different brands and efficiency ratings, we’re at your side at every step. For help choosing the perfect air conditioner for your home in East Syracuse, call 315-313-6531 today to schedule your appointment with Falso Service Experts.

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