May 21

Sizing Your Air Conditioner: How to Choose the Right Size AC Unit for Your Home

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When it comes to air conditioning, size matters. If you’re looking to purchase a new central air system for your home, or perhaps upgrade from an older model, it’s important to choose the right size AC unit for your home.  

An air conditioner that’s too small will have to run non-stop to keep your home cool during the summer, drastically increasing your monthly bills. On the other hand, if the AC unit is too big it can cool the home too quickly, causing it to run on very short cycles and then failing to remove humidity from your home. In either case, your air conditioner may wear out faster.

sizing your air conditionerCentral AC units come in a variety of different sizes and are measured in tons. The unit “ton”, however, doesn’t relate to the weight of the unit, but instead, to the unit’s ability to cool your home. For example, a one-ton AC unit will be able to cool 12,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs) in one hour. A two-ton unit will be able to cool 24,000 BTUs an hour, and so on.  

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the correct size AC unit for your home:

 

Size of Your House

Naturally, the size of your house is the biggest factor when it comes to the size of air conditioner you need. It makes sense that a larger house will need a larger AC unit to cool it. In fact, there is a simple mathematical formula you can use to help calculate the size of air conditioner that will best fit your home.

The equation looks like this:

((House square footage x 25/12000)-0.5)

This might look complicated at first, but it’s actually pretty simple. Let’s say you have a 2000-square-foot home. You’ll plug in your number and get this ((2000×25/12000)-0.5). 2000 times 25 = 50000  50000 divided by 12000 = 4.16  4.16-0.5=3.66

So, for a 2000-square-foot home, you’d be looking at purchasing a 3.5 ton AC unit.

However, keep in mind that this equation only gives you a rough estimate of the size of the AC unit you will need. While this is a great guideline to start with, there are a few other things to keep in mind besides just the square footage of your home.

 

Natural Sunlight

Does your house get a lot of sunlight? Or is it very shady? Which direction do your largest windows face? A house that gets a lot of sunlight may need more cooling power than a naturally shady space.

 

Ceiling Height

A 2000-square-foot home with low ceilings will differ greatly from a 2000-square-foot home with very high ceilings in terms of the amount of space needed to cool.

 

Climate

The area where you live will help determine what size air conditioner you will need. Do you get very hot summers or is it milder? Is it very humid or dry?

 

Ductwork

The existing ductwork in your home can help determine what size unit you can purchase.  Installing a unit that’s too large for your current heating ducts will result in inefficient cooling.

As you can see, there are several factors to keep in mind when choosing which size AC unit is right for your home, and it can be tricky. Installing a central air unit is a big undertaking and the wrong size will affect your energy bills and the efficiency of your unit. Often, getting a professional opinion will be beneficial to ensure you get the most out of your purchase.


Tags

ac, ac unit, air conditioner, air conditioner maintenance, air conditioner size


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