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What Sized Air Conditioner Do I Need?

What Sized Air Conditioner Do I Need

The whole point of having an AC unit, especially during the summertime, is to keep you cold. So, why do other details, like its size, matter? Don’t all ACs, regardless of how big or small they are, do a good job of keeping you warm indoors when the barometer soars outside? If you answered yes to that question, you need to read this article because what you’re blissfully ignorant about AC units in terms of size will shock you and may even harm you!

What You Need to Know About AC Unit Sizes

You Want to Be Comfortable

There is nothing more annoying than sweating buckets when it’s 100+ degrees outside and you have your AC running full blast. Similarly, it’s really uncomfortable to be freezing cold in your house on a reasonably warm day. Yes, the size of your AC unit will directly determine how comfortably or uncomfortably cool or cold you are on a hot day!

Here’s a general rule of thumb you should follow whenever you’re out shopping for AC units:

  • Small units have longer cycles, so they do a much better job of cooling your house down and drying it out (removing humidity from it) than larger units.
  • Large air conditioners are built to conserve energy. That’s why they turn off after they have cooled your house down considerably. There’s only one problem. They’ll need to turn it back on after a few minutes since your house will get hot again. It’s because they are terrible at getting rid of humidity! All of that turning on and off wears out their motor faster. That means you’ll be replacing your air conditioning unit more frequently. It adds up since air conditioning units can easily cost several thousands of dollars. Even if you don’t replace your air conditioning unit as often, you’ll spend much more repairing it since AC repair people tend to charge a lot for their services!
  • You’ll spend more since larger AC units are much more expensive than their smaller counterparts. You’ll also be running up much higher energy bills since larger AC units tend to be energy guzzlers. Throw in extra repair and replacement costs, and suddenly, a larger AC unit just doesn’t seem to be worth it!
  • Choose an AC unit that enriches the quality of air in your home. Yes, breathing in good air can extend your life expectancy and improve your overall quality of life since you’ll be getting sick far less often. Smaller air conditioners tend to run for longer stretches of time than larger ones. So, they do a much better job of filtering deadly particles out of the air.

What You Should Consider When Shopping for an AC Unit!

Factors like the total number of square feet your house is, how high your ceiling is, and the type of insulation your home has matter when you’re shopping for an AC unit. Other things like the unit’s size and cooling capacity, the amount of energy it uses, and certain special features are equally important. It’s time to look at some of these factors in more depth.

Your House’s Size is Crucial

The first thing you should do is get a good old-fashioned tape measurer out and measure every room in your house. Then total the lengths of all of the rooms. You will understand how big your house is in square feet.

From there, you calculate the number of square feet in your house that your AC unit must cool. There’s an interesting and easy formula to use when doing that. Just multiply your house’s width by its length. You now know the number of square feet your AC unit needs to cool.

There’s a table you can follow to determine how big the AC unit you need to buy should be:

BTUSquare Feet
Under 300 square feet6,000 BTU
301 to 549 square feet10,000 BTUs
550-999 square feet16,000 BTUs
1,000 to 1,199 square feet22,000 BTUs
1,500 to 1,999 square feet30,000 BTUs
2,000 to 2,499 square feet34,000 BTUs

That table changes if people live with you. You need to add an extra 600 BTU to the total calculation for every person who lives in your house. 

Frequently Asked Question

How High Your Ceiling is?

The higher your ceiling is, the more air you’ll need to cool and dry out during the hotter spring and hot summer months. So, you’ll need to buy a smaller AC unit with a stronger motor to cool your house effectively without spending a fortune on energy or wearing your unit out prematurely.

What Material Is Your Home Insulated With?

You won’t need as strong of an AC unit if your house’s insulation does a good job of keeping you warm during winter and cool during the summer.

Don’t Get an Energy-Guzzling AC Unit

Remember the Goldilocks rule when you’re out shopping for AC units. Be sure to check the label for energy efficiency. That will do more than lower your energy bills. It will also qualify for energy rebates and tax credits from your national government.

You Can Have Your Cake and eat it too!

What that statement refers to is the fact that you can enjoy a cool home and lower your energy bills. You just have to be smart in the type of air conditioning unit you buy!