How Big of an AC Unit Do I Need?

June 21, 2021 8:10 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Fair Oaks gets its share of hot California sunshine, so it’s only natural that you’d want an air conditioner that can stand up to the weather. Our clients often ask which size air conditioning unit they need. The answer varies, depending on how large their home is, how many people live there and how well the home is shaded and insulated.

Some people assume that the bigger the AC, the better—but if you get an air conditioner that’s too large for your home, you’ll waste valuable energy and your power bills will go up. That’s why it’s important to calculate the right size for your specific home. Read on to find out how.

Air conditioner BTUs

BTUs stands for “British thermal units,” which is the amount of energy your air conditioner uses per hour. In order to find out which size air conditioner you need, you’ll need to calculate how many BTUs your home requires.

To figure out how many BTUs you need, you’ll need to know the square footage of your home and/or each room. A BTU calculator can help you get the job done: simply enter your square footage, how many people live in your home, how high the ceilings are and a few other factors. You can either do this room by room, by floor or throughout the entire house.

For example, a 2,000 square foot home with nine-foot ceilings, average insulation and two occupants might require 45,000 BTU or 13,188 watts per hour. However, the same house and occupants in a very hot climate, without any shade, could use 59,400 BTU or 17,408 watts per hour. Make sure you enter these variables accurately—otherwise, you might get an HVAC unit that’s too powerful or too inefficient for your space.

Finally, remember that rooms with heat-generating appliances, a lot of natural light and more occupants will be harder to cool down than a small, shady room with no appliances and only one occupant. This is why it’s sometimes better to calculate your BTUs room by room instead of coming up with a single number for the entire house.

How to choose the right AC unit

Once you’ve determined how many BTUs it takes to cool down your home, it’s time to choose an AC unit. Working with a reliable HVAC contractor can make this process easy. Once you do a preliminary BTU calculation, set up an appointment with your contractor. They can inspect your existing system, as well as your ductwork, and give you some suggestions about what kind of air conditioner would work best for your needs. Be sure to tell them about any quirks in your home, such as inefficient insulation or windows.

If your air conditioning BTU requirements fall between unit sizes, it’s usually better to go with the bigger unit. Getting a smaller unit will make it more difficult to cool your home on the hottest days.

For help choosing your next air conditioner, call Cassel Air Conditioning and Heating Service today.

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