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What Size Central Air Conditioner Do I Need?

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There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” central air conditioner. Homes come in all shapes and sizes, and as a result, central air conditioning equipment does as well. Choosing the incorrect size air conditioner for your home may lead to higher energy bills, discomfort or a mix of both. If you are currently living without a central air conditioner or you need to replace an old unit, determine which size you need before you start browsing. Stop asking, “What size central air conditioner do I need?” and improve your home comfort today.

Why does AC size matter?

There are two ways to buy the wrong air conditioner — going too large or too small.

When you buy an air conditioner that is too large, it can cool a home in a relatively short amount of time. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, rapid cooling is not the ideal way to make a home comfortable. When the home reaches the desired temperature, the system will stop cooling, and indoor temperatures will rise quickly once again. The air conditioner will need to kick in repeatedly to maintain the balance, leading to higher energy bills. Additionally, rapid cooling means the air conditioner cannot remove humidity effectively, leading to a cold yet sticky-feeling home.

On the other hand, purchasing a central air conditioner that is too small may lead to a home that is always warm during hot summer days. Without the correct amount of power, the unit will work constantly to lower the temperature, even if it never reaches a comfortable level. More work for your air conditioner means higher energy bills for you.

What are the AC sizes?

Air conditioner sizes are measured in tonnage, which is a bit of a misleading term. Tons do not refer to how much the air conditioner equipment weighs, but rather how many BTUs (British Thermal Units) it can cool. BTUs are a thermal measurement, and one BTU is the amount of energy it takes to cool one pound of water a single degree Fahrenheit.

A one-ton air conditioner can cool 12,000 BTUs in an hour. Residential air conditioners range in size from 1.5 to 5 tons, and it takes some math to figure out the cooling power of an individual unit.

How do I choose an AC size for my home? 

While it’s possible to make a ballpark guess for what air conditioner size you need, the best course of action is to leave it to the experts. Variables such as direction of the home, number of windows, window quality, shade and home insulation are extremely important when calculating air conditioning requirements. When purchasing an air conditioner, your home’s square footage alone does not provide enough information to make the right decision. Turn to home comfort professionals with years of experience when you need to determine the correct air conditioner size.

Next Steps:

When you’re ready to figure out the size of your next central air conditioner, it’s time to reach out to our team. We can help you properly determine the appropriate size and install your air conditioner just in time for spring and summer. Once the unit has been installed, consider a maintenance plan to keep it running efficiently for decades. All warranties require regular maintenance, so check out our air conditioning services today!

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