We’ve written previously about how choosing an air conditioner that’s the right size for your home is good for the environment. An air conditioner that’s too big is going to cost you more money to run; choosing one that’s too small is going to use more energy to try to cool your space and be more likely to break down. So it’s important that you pick an air conditioner that’s the right size for your space. If you are in the market for a new air conditioner, our heating and air conditioning services team in New Braunfels can help you find the one that’s right for you. Here are some tips to help you get started.
How to Find an Air Conditioner That’s the Right Size for Your Home
BTUs, Tonnage, and Why More Isn’t Always Better
In order to understand what size of air conditioner you are going to need, you’ll need to understand more about how the sizes work. Really, you aren’t concerned about the actual physical size of the unit you are purchasing unless you have size restrictions in the installation area. What you are really concerned about are the BTUs and tonnage.
- BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. It’s the calculation of how much energy is needed to heat a pound of water by one degree. Any air conditioner that you purchase is going to be capable of a certain number of BTUs per hour. The more BTUs, the more air the unit is going to be capable of cooling in an hour.
- Tonnage is another measurement of how much cooling the unit is capable of doing in an hour. One ton of cooling is equal to 12,000 BTUs per hour. So a 3-ton unit would be capable of 36,000 BTUs per hour.
So if you calculate that you need a 3.5-ton unit (we’ll get to the calculating part in a minute), then you might be tempted to round up and go for a 4-ton unit or even a 5-ton unit, which is the biggest size available on the residential market. Don’t fall into that trap! Air conditioners that are overpowered are going to cycle on and off more often and end up running up your electricity bill far more than a unit that’s sized right for your space.
So What Size Do You Need?
There are a couple ways of calculating what tonnage and BTUs you need for your home, and some of them involve a lot of math. If you are interested in getting a precise calculation and seeing how that works, you can search online for a BTU calculator. But for most people, having a general guide to tonnage in relation to the square footage they are trying to cool is good enough.
You can determine which size of air conditioner you need by starting with how much square footage you are cooling. If you want to cool the entire house, make sure that you are taking into account any areas of the house that might be vented since they’ll be receiving some of the cool air (unless you plan on permanently blocking them off, but this is unusual). You can get a rough estimate of how many BTUs you’ll need to cool your home by taking the square footage and multiplying it by 20. According to the Census Bureau, the average home size in the United States is now around 2,700 square feet. So, for a home of that size, you’d need a unit that’s capable of about 54,000 BTUs an over, or roughly a 4.5-ton unit.
Other Factors That Should Be Considered
Of course, the square footage x 20 calculation is a rough estimate. There are a number of factors that should be considered that could drive that number higher or lower. These factors include:
- Your climate. Living in a hot area that’s going to require more cooling on a regular basis may require you to step up how many BTUs your air conditioning unit is capable of doing.
- Your insulation. Homes that were built in the last 10 years typically have very good insulation. This can dramatically reduce the number of BTUs that will be required to cool your home, as the house will be good at keeping cool air in and hot air out.
- Your surrounding area. Even large trees that are shading your house can reduce your need for BTUs, but if you are in a city where there are only rooftops around you, you might find that you need more cooling power.
We Can Help You Find the Right Air Conditioner for Your Home
Feeling overwhelmed by all the factors that need to be taken into consideration when choosing an air conditioning system for your home? Thankfully, this is what our team loves to do. We’re passionate about finding the right unit for your home and your budget and getting it installed right away so you can start enjoying cooler, cleaning air in your home. Let us help you find your new HVAC system! Give our heating and air conditioning services team a call today or contact us through our website. We’ll set up an appointment to talk to you about your AC needs and show you some options that we’d recommend. You can rely on us to do the job right; after all, we’ve been in this industry for over 30 years and we’ve been building a great reputation since day one. Get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help you find the right system to stay cool!