What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

Whether you’re building a new home or upgrading your existing HVAC system, there is one question you're guaranteed to ponder: what size air conditioner do I need? Choosing the right air conditioner size is a balancing act. Too large, and you could encounter poor humidity control and significant energy expenses. Too small, and the unit might fail to provide comfortable temperatures on scorching hot days. Correct air conditioner sizing is crucial to enjoy an efficient, cost-effective and comfortable cooling experience.

The Importance of Sizing Your Air Conditioner Correctly

Ensuring your AC can generate the perfect cooling capacity is a matter of comfort and keeping your energy bills low. Here’s why you shouldn’t merely guess the ideal AC size:

  • Humidity control: An oversized unit cools too quickly, hindering humidity removal and leaving your home clammy. A correctly sized air conditioner will control indoor humidity levels more effectively.
  • Even temperatures: An efficiently functioning air conditioner distributes cool air evenly and decreases irritating temperature variations 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 big enough to keep up with cooling demand.
  • Proper cycling: Air conditioners start up and turn back off with sufficient run time for each cycle. Units that are larger than you need cycle too quickly, causing40 unnecessary wear and tear. Conversely, an undersized system runs continuously, which may cause it to get too hot.
  • Manageable utility bills: Cycling troubles caused by installing the wrong size of air conditioner result in higher electricity bills. However, a unit that is the recommended size will function efficiently 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 indicates 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 commonly measured in tons. A one-ton system is comparable to 12,000 BTUs. Most central air conditioning models 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 space—length x width—and match it to the appropriate BTUs:

  • A room measuring 150 to 350 square feet might require a 5,000 to 8,000 BTU air conditioner.
  • A room measuring between 350 and 550 square feet could need an 8,000 to 12,000 BTU unit.
  • A spacious room or open area of 550 to 1,000 square feet may necessitate a 12,000 to 18,000 BTU unit.

These general guidelines don’t consider additional factors like interior heat gain or whether or not you have any shade trees around your home to block out the sun. For a more exact calculation, contact a cooling specialist at Barlow Service Experts.

Sizing a Central Air Conditioner

Identifying the right size of central air conditioner begins with the home’s square footage, but specific sizing involves a more in-depth look. HVAC specialists rely on load calculations detailed in Manual J to determine a home’s particular cooling requirements. Here are the considerations that professionals consider:

  • Square footage: How big your home is substantially affects its air conditioning requirements, with larger homes generally requiring more cooling capacity.
  • Local climate: Where you live affects your cooling preferences as well. States with sweltering hot, humid summers normally demand a higher cooling capacity than cooler, drier areas.
  • Interior heat gain: The heat released inside your home can come from people, lights, electronics and appliances. Increased internal heat elevates your home’s cooling needs.
  • Insulation levels: The quantity of insulation in your walls, attic and floors influences how much heat gets into your living space. Well-insulated homes retain cool air more effectively, decreasing the cooling load.
  • Air infiltration rate: This describes how much outside air penetrates through leaks or cracks in your home. Homes with a higher air infiltration requires more cooling to neutralize the warm, humid outdoor air that makes its way into the home.
  • Home orientation and window layout: The direction your home faces affects its sun exposure, which in turn impacts your home’s cooling load. A single-family dwelling with very large south-facing windows absorbs more heat and necessitates a bigger 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 ACs are created equal. It’s vital121 to choose a trustworthy brand for dependability and longevity.
  • Efficiency rating: The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) indicates the total heat an air conditioner can take out per unit of electricity it consumes. Higher SEER ratings indicate greater efficiency, reducing your utility bills.
  • Maintenance requirements: Regular maintenance keeps your system working effectively. Most air conditioner producers suggest yearly tune-ups to find and fix small problems before they turn into costly repairs.

Get Expert Help Sizing Your Air Conditioner from Barlow Service Experts

Choosing139 a suitable air conditioner size can be stressful. The Experts at Barlow Service Experts are here to help. We can provide you with custom cooling solutions to enhance 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 picking out the perfect air conditioner for your home in the Wasatch Front region, call 801-436-8985 today to schedule your appointment with Barlow Service Experts.

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