How to Choose the Best AC Size for Your Home

Controlling ductless AC with remote control

Texans have a tendency to think bigger is better. While that may be true for steaks, cowboy hats and trucks, it’s not necessarily true of air conditioners. Here are some things to consider before you purchase a new air conditioning unit for your home or business.

Square Footage

How much area are you planning to cool with the unit? Using a unit designed for commercial refrigeration in a 1,500 square foot apartment is overkill. It is bigger and more powerful, but it is not an efficient use of the equipment or the energy required to power it. Think of it in these terms: it would be akin to filing your fingernails with an electric sander. The job would get done, but it wouldn’t be pretty. A larger unit requires more energy to cool the same amount of space as a smaller unit. Not only would it be less energy efficient, but it would be less effective at removing humidity in your home, too.

Humidity is what makes people uncomfortable.  If your unit is oversized it will run for a short period to satisfy the temperature you selected on the thermostat.  But, that duration will not be long enough to remove the humidity needed to make you feel comfortable.  And, your house may be damp which may lead to problems with mold and mildew.

At the same time, buying a unit that’s too small can be just as big of a mistake when it comes to efficiency and energy usage. It will have to run for longer periods of time, leading to higher energy bills and a shorter life for the unit that runs constantly.  Think of how ridiculous it would be to try to tow a 20-foot boat with a remote control toy car. The battery would wear down long before the job was actually done.  On hot days it your home may never reach the temperature set on you thermostat.

Measure the square footage of the area you plan to cool with the unit. Once you’ve calculated the measurements you can ask a professional for recommendations based on those specifications so you don’t get something to big or too small.

Cooling Capacity

Cooling capacity is measured in BTUs, British Thermal Units, per hour. If you only need to cool a 100 square foot room, you only need an air conditioner cooling capacity of 5,000 BTUs. However, if you desire to cool an entire home that is 2,000 square feet, you will need a unit with a cooling capacity of between 30,000 and 34,000 BTUs.

Location of the Unit

The location of the unit is also a factor to consider. The size or cooling capacity of the unit may require a little adjustment if it is to be located in the corner of a room, in a home with lots of south facing windows or in a location where two or more people spend most of their days. Units may also experience additional requirements when they cool kitchen areas in which the stove or oven are used frequently.

Once all the measurements and calculations are complete, there are still choices and comparisons to be made. You will have to choose from a variety of brand names and models that meet your requirements. The entire process can feel daunting. Our technicians are trained to advise you about the best options. They know the best units for your structure, the best filters for your unit and the best way to install the unit to maximize effectiveness with your current ductwork. For consultation, installation, repair and commercial filter service, Austin area residents and property owners trust Blue Air.

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