What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

Whether you’re building a new home or upgrading your existing air conditioning system, there is one question you're guaranteed to ask: what size air conditioner do I need? Selecting the ideal AC size is a balancing act. Too large, and you could encounter poor humidity control and excessive energy expenses. Too small, and the unit might fail to reach comfortable temperatures on extremely hot days. Proper air conditioner sizing is required to enjoy an efficient, cost-effective and comfortable cooling experience.

The Importance of Sizing Your Air Conditioner Correctly

Ensuring your air conditioning can generate the perfect cooling capacity is a matter of comfort and cost savings. Here’s why you shouldn’t simply guess the correct air conditioning system size:

  • Humidity control: An oversized unit cools too rapidly, preventing humidity removal and leaving your home clammy. A correctly sized air conditioner will control indoor humidity levels more efficiently.
  • Even temperatures: An efficiently functioning air conditioner circulates cool air evenly and reduces unpleasant temperature changes between cycles.
  • Peak day performance: A system that is too small can struggle to get your home to the target temperature on hot summer afternoons, so you need a unit powerful enough to keep up with cooling demand.
  • Proper cycling: Air conditioners start up and turn back off with plenty of run time during each cycle. Units that are larger than you need cycle too quickly, causing40 unnecessary wear and tear. On the other hand, an undersized system runs constantly, which may cause it to get too hot.
  • Manageable utility bills: Cycling troubles caused by selecting the wrong size of air conditioner lead to higher energy 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 measured 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 air conditioning units range from 5,000 to 18,000 BTUs. Because central air conditioners are more powerful, they’re commonly measured in tons. A one-ton system is proportionate 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, which size you need mainly depends on the room’s square footage. Measure the room—length x width—and match it to the appropriate BTUs:

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

These general recommendations don’t account for factors like interior heat gain or how much sun streams in through the windows of the room. For a more exact calculation, seek expert advice from Midway Services.

Sizing a Central Air Conditioner

Figuring out the perfect size of central air conditioner begins with the home’s square footage, but specific sizing requires a more in-depth look. HVAC specialists rely on load calculations detailed in Manual J to determine a home’s specific cooling requirements. Here are the elements that technicians will examine:

  • Square footage: How large of a home you have significantly affects its cooling requirements, with bigger homes generally requiring more cooling capacity.
  • Local climate: Where you live affects your cooling preferences as well. States with extremely hot, humid summers naturally demand a higher cooling capacity than cooler, drier areas.
  • Interior heat gain: The heat produced inside your home is made by people, lights, electronics and appliances. Increased internal heat raises your home’s cooling needs.
  • Insulation levels: The quantity of insulation in your walls, attic and floors has effects on how much heat gets inside. Well-insulated homes retain cool air more effectively, reducing the cooling load.
  • Air infiltration rate: This relates to how much outside air penetrates through leaks or cracks in your home. Homes with a high air infiltration requires more cooling to neutralize the warm, humid outdoor air that sneaks into the 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 dwelling with very large south-facing windows absorbs more heat and calls for a larger 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 cooling systems are created equal. It’s vital121 to select a trustworthy brand for dependability and longevity.
  • Efficiency rating: The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) signifies the amount of heat an air conditioner can eliminate per unit of electricity it consumes. Higher SEER ratings signify greater efficiency, decreasing your utility bills.
  • Maintenance requirements: Regular maintenance keeps your system working effectively. Most air conditioner manufacturers recommend yearly tune-ups to find and fix small problems before they turn into high-priced repairs.

Get Expert Help Sizing Your Air Conditioner from Midway Services

Choosing139 a suitable air conditioner size can be daunting. The Experts at Midway Services are here to support you throughout the process. We offer custom cooling remedies to boost home comfort, efficiency and energy savings.

From calculating your exact cooling specifications to helping you navigate different brands and efficiency ratings, we’re with you at every step. For help selecting the perfect air conditioner for your home in Clearwater, call 727-219-2471 today to schedule your appointment with Midway Services.