What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

Whether you’re building a new home or updating your existing HVAC system, there is one question you're bound to ask: what size air conditioner do I need? Choosing the correct AC size is a balancing act. Too large, and you could experience poor humidity control and excessive energy bills. Too small, and the unit might not be able to provide comfortable temperatures on extremely 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 air conditioning system size:

  • Humidity control: An oversized unit cools too rapidly, hindering humidity removal and making your home clammy. A right sized air conditioner will regulate indoor humidity levels more efficiently.
  • Even temperatures: A properly sized air conditioner circulates cool air evenly and minimizes irritating temperature fluctuations between cycles.
  • Peak day performance: Systems that don't have enough cooling capacity 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 power on and off with adequate run time per cycle. Units that are larger than you need cycle too quickly, leading to40 additional wear and tear. Conversely, an undersized system runs continuously, which may cause it to get too hot.
  • Manageable utility bills: Cycling problems caused by installing the wrong size of air conditioner result in higher electricity bills. However, a unit that is the proper size will function 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 conveys the amount of heat an air conditioner can remove every hour. A large percentage of room air conditioners range from 5,000 to 18,000 BTUs. Because central air conditioners are larger, they’re commonly measured in tons. A one-ton system is equivalent to 12,000 BTUs. Generally, central air conditioning models range from 1 to 5 tons.

Sizing a Room Air Conditioner

When examining window or portable air conditioners, the right size 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 might need to have 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 large 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 how much sun streams in through the windows of the room. For a more precise calculation, contact a cooling specialist at Peachtree Service Experts.

Sizing a Central Air Conditioner

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

  • Square footage: How large of a home you have greatly affects its air conditioning requirements, with larger homes generally requiring more cooling capacity.
  • Local climate: Where you live can affect your cooling requirements as well. Parts of the country with very hot, humid summers normally demand a higher cooling capacity than cooler, drier regions.
  • 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 impacts how much heat gets inside. Well-insulated homes keep cool air more effectively, which lowers the cooling load.
  • Air infiltration rate: This refers to how much outside air penetrates through leaks or cracks in the exterior of your home. Homes with a high air infiltration requires more cooling to combat the warm, humid outdoor air that sneaks through the walls and into your home.
  • Home orientation and window layout: The direction your home faces affects its sun exposure, which in turn has an effect on your home’s cooling load. A single-family residence with sprawling 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 air conditioners are created equal. It’s crucial121 to buy a trustworthy brand for dependability and longevity.
  • Efficiency rating: The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) shows the total heat an air conditioner can remove per unit of electricity it consumes. Higher SEER ratings indicate greater efficiency, lowering your utility bills.
  • Maintenance requirements: Regular maintenance keeps your system working correctly. Most air conditioning makers suggest yearly tune-ups to find and fix small problems before they turn into expensive repairs.

Get Expert Help Sizing Your Air Conditioner from Peachtree Service Experts

Finding139 a suitable air conditioner size can be overwhelming. The Experts at Peachtree Service Experts are here to assist with all your cooling and heating needs. We offer custom cooling remedies to enhance home comfort, efficiency and energy savings.

From establishing your exact cooling requirements to helping you browse 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 Atlanta, call 678-235-9699 today to schedule your appointment with Peachtree Service Experts.

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