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What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

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There are many myths and misconceptions about picking out a new air conditioner for your home or building. In a hot Texas climate, it’s even more important to have the most reliable and efficient air conditioning system to stay cool, dry, and comfortable while keeping energy bills in check. 

Getting the most out of an air conditioner starts with a quality installation of a properly sized unit. In this article, we explain why the correct size air conditioner is so critical and how you go about determining what size air conditioner you need.

Why You Need the Correct Size Air Conditioner

Systems too large or too small won’t properly maintain the air in your home. They’ll undergo additional wear and tear and not run as efficiently. The result is an uncomfortable home with higher-than-necessary energy bills.

If a system is too small, it will run constantly, trying to cool the space. This results in high energy bills, heavy strain on the system, and uneven cooling throughout the building.

If a system is too large, it will cycle on and off too frequently because it cools the space too fast. Frequent cycles directly contribute to higher energy bills. 

It seems contrary, but cooling a space too fast is bad. It doesn’t allow time to remove humidity in the air, which is a secondary function of an air conditioner and essential to the quality and comfort of indoor air. Plus, cutting off a system before it runs a full cycle is hard on the unit. Doing so repeatedly over several years puts advanced strain on the unit.

How To Determine What Size Air Conditioner You Need

First, calculate the amount of square footage you need to cool. Air conditioner capacity is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs), which, in total, is the amount of heat an air conditioner can remove from a space. To know how much BTU capacity is required, you must know the amount of space it needs to cool.

Rule of thumb: Multiply the square footage by 20. That figure is the starting point for the number of BTUs you need.

From there, the best sizing estimates will adjust calculations based on other factors, including:

  • Quality of home insulation
  • How much direct sun exposure your home gets
  • Usage of heat-generating appliances
  • Climate and average temperatures in the area
  • Quality and number of windows and exterior doors
  • Home construction materials
  • The existing duct system (if any)

These factors affect temperature fluctuations in a building and should be considered when determining how much cooling power is needed.

Once you’ve calculated your square footage and other factors, you can talk with an HVAC professional about air conditioner options and sizes. Air conditioner sizes are classified in “tons.” One ton of air conditioning removes 12,000 BTUs of heat in an hour. 

Example: If your final BTU calculation for a 2,000-square-foot space is 40,000 BTUs, then, based on most standard sizing charts, you need a 3-ton unit.

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The Best Advice for Finding the Right Size Air Conditioner

At this point, it’s best to talk with an HVAC professional. A properly sized unit is crucial to the comfort and efficiency of your home (and long-term cost savings!). Therefore, you want those complex calculations to be as precise as possible.

Having a certified HVAC professional from Damiani’s Comfort Design assess your home is the most reliable way to determine what size air conditioner you need. Our team is prompt, professional, and highly experienced in heating and cooling systems.

Contact Damiani’s Comfort Design for the best size and type of air conditioner for your home or building.

Call 210-646-9600 or contact us online today for trustworthy air conditioner service.

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