Keeping Your AC System Cleaner

Just Right: Choosing The Right Size Air Conditioner

by Yolanda White

Installing a new HVAC system will involve a number of important decisions, not least of which is choosing the correct air conditioning unit. Sizing of an air conditioner is an important factor, and here are some considerations for choosing your air conditioner's capacity. 

What Happens if You Pick the Wrong Air Conditioner?

First, let's take a look at what happens if you pick the wrong size air conditioner. While nothing catastrophic will probably happen, it's all about the efficiency of your system. If your air conditioner is too powerful, it's going to expend a lot of energy to cool a small space. You might also see some irregularities in the system's temperature control. With a very powerful AC system, it's hard to make smaller adjustments for comfort, since it may get too cold before you have a chance to shut the system off at the perfect comfort level. 

On the other hand, if your system isn't powerful enough to meet your daily demands, that can cause it to wear out very quickly. It may need to run more continuously, and most air conditioners are best designed to run for a specific number of hours per year. You might also have to wait a lot longer to have any cooling effect on your home. 

How Do You Pick the Right Size?

There are a couple of guidelines to picking the right air conditioning unit size. The first thing you'll need to do is calculate the total area that needs to be cooled. Find your home's total square footage, and then measure and subtract the square footage of any rooms that you don't need to be cooled (such as garage or storage space). One good estimate is to multiply the square footage that needs to be cooled by 20, and this will give you the number of BTUs (British Thermal Units) of cooling power that you need for your air conditioning system. 

Make Sure to Follow Up With a Contractor.

Getting a decent handle on air conditioner sizing can help you to start shopping around for models that are within your budget. Don't forget that an air conditioning contractor should follow up to verify that your calculations are correct. They may want to do an in-person inspection of the area to determine other factors that could affect sizing. For instance, if some rooms are getting a lot of direct sunlight, you might want to add a percentage to the total BTU. 

For more information or assistance, consider contacting an HVAC contractor like those at the Rosen Energy Group.