When Choosing An AC, Bigger Is Not Always Better

Your home environment can be downright miserable when your air conditioner breaks down. While you may be able to nurse an aging air conditioner along with frequent repair work, there will come a time when you realize that it may be more cost-effective to update your equipment. Some homeowners are under the impression that purchasing a larger air conditioning unit is better overall, but this is not actually the case. In fact, you may waste money in several ways when you purchase the wrong size of air conditioner for the size of your home.

When Your Air Conditioner Is Too Large or Too Small

Air conditioner size is described in terms of BTUs, or British thermal units. For residential air conditioners, the typical BTU range is between 5,000 to 15,000, but there is variation outside of these ranges as well. A system with a higher BTU will usually cost more to purchase, but other factors are also at play when determining cost. For example, the type of air conditioner being purchased and the energy efficiency rating also impact the cost of the unit. While you may be inclined to purchase the system with the largest BTU rating that you can afford, this may not yield the results that you are hoping for.

When the BTU rating for an air conditioner is too low for the space that you need to cool, the system will have trouble keeping up with the demands that you place on it for temperature control. It will continue to turn on and off frequently, and the effects of wear and tear will magnify. Humidity levels in the home may be difficult to control, and an unnecessary amount of energy will be wasted cooling the home.

On the other hand, when the BTU rating of the system is too high for the space, the system may spread a gush of chilly air through the area to maintain a desired temperature. However, remember that a system with a higher BTU rating will use much more energy. In addition, because the air conditioner will turn off very quickly, it will not adequately maintain a desired humidity level in the home. You can see that buying an air conditioner that is too large or too small for the space can create an uncomfortable home environment and can cause expensive energy waste.

How to Find the Right Size

Finding the right size of air conditioner unit may be easier to do than you think. You simply measure the square footage that needs to be cooled. If your home is designed with one AC unit, this will be the entire interior space of the home not counting the garage. If your home has multiple AC units, specialized measuring effort is required. Then, use a BTU chart online to determine the right size range to look for. Be aware that some factors may result in the need for a slightly larger unit. For example, if your home has many windows that face the direction of the sun, if it has a large kitchen that is used frequently and if you have a larger family, a larger unit may be a smart idea.

Because the size of your air conditioner unit plays a major role on energy costs and comfort inside the home, it makes sense to obtain advice from an HVAC specialist. Through a consultation, you can get the information that you need to knowledgeably make a buying decision.

Charlie Teschner started MESA Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.

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