May 15, 2021
What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need for My Home?
The temperature range at which you set your AC is often a balance between your comfort and your budget. The same can be true for choosing the right size of air conditioner. The work starts with understanding which units have the ideal size for your home in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. This is something you can estimate yourself, but it can definitely help you to consult a professional. Whether you’re building a new home or renovating your current one, the size of your AC unit is as important as the cool air you expect to receive from it.
Here’s a look at the factors behind size, including why it matters and how to choose the capacity you need.
Why Bigger Doesn’t Mean Better
It’s definitely possible to lower costs by finding a unit sized for your home. Sizing an air conditioner means choosing a machine big enough to cool your home based on things like insulation, square footage, and configuration. Large units may cool an area rapidly, but it comes at the cost of a lot of energy expended to do a job that a smaller, less powerful unit could also complete. This will reflect in higher utility bills for you and possible wear and tear if the unit “short cycles” or turns on and off more frequently than a large unit.
Here are some of the common signs of an AC unit that’s simply too big:
- Extreme temperature changes: Humidity comes when temps cool but then warm up again.
- Drastic power consumption: Constant off-and-on cycles of a unit consumes more energy than necessary.
- Growing monthly bills: Though they can be caused by many things, growing monthly costs might be due to a unit that’s too big.
The Layout of Your Interior Spaces
Your home’s construction is a leading factor behind the AC unit size you need. Though some homes have the same square footage, a single-story home with a 20-foot ceiling differs from a single story that is 9 feet high in terms of heat distribution. A home that is essentially square is easier to cool than a home that is long and narrow, as well. Ceiling fans can help to mitigate some of this issue but it’s still important to consider large, vaulted ceilings and other architectural features when choosing the right AC size.
Tonnage of AC Per Year
The number of British Thermal Units (BTU) removed from the atmosphere is how we measure the effectiveness of air conditioning. Each ton of air that your AC cools is measured in terms of 12,000 BTU, which equates to a tonnage of temperature change. Professionals use an equation to find out an ideal AC size. The equation starts with the total amount of square feet in your home. Now multiply that by 30 before then dividing it by 12,000 BTU and subtracting the answer by one.
For example, if the square feet of your home is 2,000, then our equation for you looks like this one:
(2,000 x 30 / 12,000) -1 = 4 tons
Rating the Efficiency in Your Home Circulation
A reliable way of determining your AC needs is by rating the efficiency of your home’s air circulation. Your home can be ventilated passively, for example, by a fireplace. Active ventilation occurs when pressurized vents circulate air in an attempt to exchange fresh air in place of uncirculated particles or stale dust. Windows are also factors behind how well cool air moves within your home passively. Ventilation can make the cooled air in your home circulate more effectively. It can also improve your air quality in some instances.
Challenges That Decrease Your Energy Efficiency
Though you don’t need drastic changes at home, knowing the path of your airflow can tell you how powerful your AC unit needs to be. Leaks in your ductwork can make your AC less effective, for example. You end up cooling your crawl space, attic, or walls instead of the rooms you want to keep cool. Ductwork that is missing insulation can gather condensation, which will, in turn, cause corrosion and leaks.
Some of the other areas your technicians inspect consists of the following that we’ll discuss later:
- Insulation: The presence or lack of insulation in a home determines how long your home can maintain a temperature without re-cooling.
- Ventilation: This concerns how well the hot air flows out of your home in order to make room for cool air.
- Thermostats: If your thermometers aren’t properly calibrated, you can experience less cooling when you intended for more.
- Location: A house in New York City, though equal in size, doesn’t use the same amount of energy to cool as a house of equal size in Arizona.
- Humidity: High humidity makes it harder to feel cool in a room. It also makes your air conditioner work harder.
The Consequences of a System That’s Too Small
Thinking big is great in some cases, but homeowners should avoid going with what’s cheap if it will cause more problems later. The consequences of a smaller system can be equal to or greater than those of using a unit that’s too large. Essentially, without the proper size, you can pay for the unit you expected to cool your house but only see results in a single room. A cheap AC isn’t actually less expensive in the long run if it causes your AC to:
- Consume additional energy: If you prefer a cold setting, a smaller unit might have to work twice as hard to create those temps.
- Not cool: Don’t be surprised if a small unit changes nothing at all.
- Strain other appliances: Ventilation systems, for example, can become over exhausted when pressurizing air that doesn’t come or is too little.
Try out an Online Calculator
Many AC technicians rely on fairly accurate calculators. These “size calculators” tell you about the tonnage of air a unit can influence and the amount of power your space needs. These calculators can provide a good starting point when discussing your home’s air conditioning needs with a professional installer. As you determine a size you’re comfortable with purchasing, take into account how these factors will determine the exact one that’s ideal:
- Home construction
- Quality of shading
- Local weather
- Sizes of windows
If you know you may need a new air conditioner in the next year or two, these calculators can be a great way to check the price point for an air conditioner for your size of home. This can give you time to budget or to find financing based on these estimates so that you’re ready to buy when you start working with an installer.
Here in Florida, AC installation by Buehler Air Conditioning is a trusted and reliable way for you to stay comfortable in our tropical climate. You can rely on us for repairs, installations, and routine cleanings. Simply contact us this moment, and we can get the right AC size for your home and monthly budget.Read Previous Article Read Next Article