Purchasing a new air conditioner for your Vacaville, CA home requires a significant economic investment. That is why you must take the time to get the right size unit for your home. The wrong size unit can lead to expensive issues, and in the end, you may regret your purchase. At Cozy Home Services, we understand how the size of the air conditioner we install in your home impacts the comfort of the home. The following are a few factors to consider when sizing an air conditioner for your house.
Understanding Air Conditioner Size
The air conditioner size is not the physical measurement of the unit. Instead, it describes the unit’s cooling capacity. The cooling capacity is measured in BTUs (British thermal units) and is calculated as British thermal units per hour (BTUh).
A BTU represents the energy needed to increase the temperature of one pound of water by 1°F. A British thermal unit per hour measurement helps you to understand the air conditioner’s ability to cool a set space in one hour. The set area is referred to as tons.
You don’t have to be a mathematician or an expert in the field of thermal units to select the right air conditioning unit for the size of your home. However, you will need a basic understanding of this measurement when sizing the suitable unit for your space.
Why AC Size Matters
If your conditioner is too small, it will need to work extra hard to cool your home. Your home’s temperature will feel uncomfortable, yet your unit will constantly run, causing your energy bills to skyrocket.
If your unit is too big, it constantly cycles on and off. The air conditioner will activate and quickly cool the space. However, once it reaches the desired temperature, it turns off quickly. Manufacturers design air conditioners to operate at a steady pace. However, an air conditioner that cycles repeatedly and rapidly because it is too large for the space will be unduly stressed. Because the unit is cycling frequently, you’ll still feel cool, but the air conditioner might not remove enough humidity from the air. Your home’s interior might feel damp and stale, and the humidity creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew to flourish.
How Do You Find the Right Air Conditioner Size?
The square footage of your home is a significant factor in determining the right size air conditioner for your home. Our technicians will first measure the square footage of your home to determine the AC unit size you need.
You can find the square footage by taking the length and width of a room in your home and multiplying those numbers by each other. Repeat this process for each room in your home. Add the totals for each room together. For a rough estimate of the number of BTUs needed to cool your space, multiply the sum by 20. For example, if you live in a six-room home and each room is 10 x 10, each room would be 100 ft.² for 600 ft.². Multiply that by 20, and you get 12,000 ft.².
That’s a good starting point, but you’ll need to consider other factors, too. For example, in a heavily shaded room with little direct sunlight, you can lower the power of the air conditioner purchased by approximately 10%. The reverse is true if the room is full of windows and receives a lot of direct sun. It will be necessary to increase the capacity by 10%.
Additionally, if the air conditioner is used in a kitchen, you’ll need to increase the capacity by 4,000 BTUs. If three or more people regularly occupy a room, then you will want to increase the size of the unit by 600 BTUs for each person in the room.
Air Conditioning Sizing in a Practical Sense
As a general rule of thumb, a home between 700 to 1,000 ft.² requires an air conditioner of around 18,000 BTUs or 1.5 tons. A house between 1,000 and 1,600 ft.² will need an AC of about 24,000 BTUs, or two tons. A larger home between 2,000 and 2,200 ft.² will need a 2.75-ton unit or a unit that produces 33,000 BTUs.
Working With a Window Unit
Window AC units have a limited cooling capacity of between 5,000 and 12,500 BTUs. When calculating the cooling capacity of a window unit, be sure to include rooms joined to the installation room but not separated by doors. Those rooms will also place a cooling burden on the unit, and you’ll need to account for that. For example, a small 10 x 10 room will require only a 5,000 to 6,000 BTU unit. A larger space of up to 5,500 ft.² will need a unit of around 12,500 BTUs.
Additional Factors to Consider When Sizing an Air Conditioner
The room’s square footage is only part of the equation when it comes to calculating air conditioner sizes. You’ll also need to include ceiling height. Most AC calculators assume homes have 9-foot ceilings. Homes with vaulted ceilings have additional considerations. Our professionals at Cozy Home Services size the unit for your home, considering the vaulted ceiling and adding additional BTUs if the ceiling in your home is higher than nine feet.
Additionally, heat-generating appliances will counteract your AC’s effect. This is one reason kitchens have more intense cooling needs, but they’re not the only room in the house like that. You may have to increase BTUs for laundry rooms and other “warm” rooms.
The color of your home can also affect your AC needs. Darker colors, like navy and black, will absorb more of the sun’s heat, while light colors, like beige and cream, will reflect that heat. Windows will also increase your cooling needs. Many windows allow for more heat transfer, and the heat transfer increases with older windows and poorly insulated windows.
SEER Rating and Air Conditioning Size
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) tells you the ratio of your air conditioning system’s cooling output over an average cooling system divided by the energy it uses. A SEER rating tells you how much energy and money your air conditioner will require to run effectively over the year. High-efficiency models make it possible to keep your home cool without skyrocketing energy bills.
Get Home the HVAC and Plumbing Services You Need
At Cozy Home Services, we are laser-focused on keeping our customers happy and comfortable. Whether it is an urgent repair, installing a quality new product, or helping them keep the products they currently have running smoothly, our service team stands ready to get the job done. This is why we are one of Vacaville’s top-rated HVAC and plumbing services.
Our services include HVAC repair, installation, and maintenance. We offer indoor air quality testing, air purification, and electrical panel and solar system installations. Our plumbing services include plumbing repair and the installation of water heaters and water filtration systems. Contact Cozy Home Services today and let us deliver the services and care your home deserves.