What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

Whether you’re building a new home or updating your existing HVAC system, there is one question you’re bound to ask: what size air conditioner do I need? Choosing the right AC size is a balancing act. Too large, and you could encounter poor humidity control and significant energy bills. Too small, and the unit might struggle to maintain comfortable temperatures on scorching hot days. Correct air conditioner sizing is essential to enjoy an efficient, cost-effective and comfortable cooling experience.

The Importance of Sizing Your Air Conditioner Correctly

Ensuring your air conditioner provides the right cooling capacity is a matter of comfort and energy savings. Here’s why you shouldn’t merely guess the appropriate air conditioning system size:

  • Humidity control: An oversized unit cools too quickly, preventing humidity removal and leaving your home clammy. A right- sized air conditioner will regulate indoor humidity levels more effectively.
  • Even temperatures: A well-suited air conditioner disseminates cool air evenly and decreases uncomfortable temperature fluctuations between cycles.
  • Peak day performance: An undersized system will struggle to reach the target temperature on hot summer afternoons, so you need a unit big enough to keep up with cooling demand.
  • Proper cycling: Air conditioners start up and turn back off with sufficient run time during each cycle. Units that are larger than you need cycle too quickly, causing increased wear and tear. Then again, an undersized system runs continuously, which may cause overheating.
  • Manageable utility bills: Cycling troubles caused by installing the wrong size of air conditioner lead to higher utility bills. However, a unit that is the proper size will work 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 per hour. Most room air conditioners range from 5,000 to 18,000 BTUs. Because central air conditioners are bigger, they’re typically measured in tons. A one-ton system is comparable to 12,000 BTUs. Many central AC units range from 1 to 5 tons.

Sizing a Room Air Conditioner

For window or portable air conditioners, sizing primarily depends on the room’s square footage. Measure the area—length x width—and match it to the appropriate BTUs:

  • A room measuring 150 to 350 square feet might need a 5,000 to 8,000 BTU air conditioner.
  • A room that is around 350 and 550 square feet could 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 guidelines don’t account for factors like interior heat gain or how much sun streams in through the windows of the room. For a more precise calculation, seek expert advice from Calverley Service Experts.

Sizing a Central Air Conditioner

Determining the correct size of central air conditioner begins with the home’s square footage, but accurate sizing requires a more in-depth look. HVAC professionals rely on load calculations detailed in Manual J to determine a home’s specific cooling requirements. Here are the considerations that come into play:

  • Square footage: The size of your home greatly affects its cooling requirements, with more sizeable homes generally requiring more cooling capacity.
  • Local climate: Where you live affects your cooling needs as well. Areas with extremely hot, humid summers naturally demand a higher cooling capacity than cooler, drier regions.
  • Interior heat gain: The heat created inside your home can come from people, lights, electronics and appliances. More internal heat increases your home’s cooling demands.
  • Insulation levels: The amount of insulation in your walls, attic and floors influences how much heat gets inside. Well-insulated homes retain cool air more effectively, reducing the cooling load.
  • Air infiltration rate: This describes how much outside air penetrates through leaks or cracks in the building envelope. Homes with a higher air infiltration requires more cooling to counteract the warm, humid outdoor air that seeps inside.
  • Home orientation and window layout: The direction your home faces influences its sun exposure, which in turn has an effect on your home’s cooling load. A single-family home with very large south-facing windows absorbs more heat and requires a more sizeable 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 ACs are created equal. It’s crucial to choose a reputable brand for reliability and longevity.
  • Efficiency rating: The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) signifies how much heat an air conditioner can remove per unit of electricity it consumes. Higher SEER ratings signify increased efficiency, lowering your utility bills.
  • Maintenance requirements: Regular maintenance keeps your system running efficiently. Most AC manufacturers recommend yearly tune-ups to locate and repair small problems before they turn into pricey repairs.

Get Expert Help Sizing Your Air Conditioner From Calverley Service Experts

Finding the best air conditioner size can be stressful. The Experts at Calverley Service Experts are here to help. We can provide you with custom cooling solutions to optimize home comfort, efficiency and energy savings.

From calculating your unique cooling requirements to helping you navigate different brands and efficiency ratings, we’re with you at every step. For help choosing the perfect air conditioner for your home in Fort Worth, call 817-380-5647 today to schedule your appointment with Calverley Service Experts.

Savings For You

See All Offers Here >

$50 OFF HVAC Tune-up Special

There’s no reason to skip your seasonal maintenance that saves energy and helps ensure your air conditioner and heater will work reliably all season long.

  • Regularly $129, now only $79
  • Save up to 30% on energy bills
  • Written Expert Service Guarantee

$50 OFF Any Repair

  • Save $50 on a Paid Service
  • Written 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Plus, ask how to save an additional 15% and waive your trip charge!

© 2023 Service Experts, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, and the Service Experts logo and design are registered trademarks of Service Experts LLC and used under license by SE Canada Inc. All Rights Reserved. *Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.