Sizing Your New Air Conditioning Unit
Although it might be cool now, the reality is that the warmer temperatures are on their way. If your current air conditioning unit gave a lackluster performance last year and you considered the idea of a replacement, now is the time to start planning. If you're anything like the average homeowner, you probably don't know where to start. This is especially the case when it comes to sizing your unit. Here are some helpful points to help you plan better.
Make sure you understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to air conditioner units. In terms of cost and efficiency, having the proper sized unit is important. A unit that is too small won't adequately cool your home, which will cause it to work harder and ultimately drive up your energy bills. The same is true for a unit that is too large; however, a unit that is too large can also lead to increased wear and tear, which generally means higher repair cost.
Air conditioner units are measured based on tonnage, but not the weighted tons you typically think of. In this case, tonnage refers to the amount of heat a unit is able to extract from a home within an hour. A one-ton unit can extract 12,000 British Thermal Units, or BTUs, a two-ton unit can extract 12,000 BTUs, for instance.
Making Sense Of BTUs
Now that you understand how air conditioner units are sized, the next question would be how many BTUs do I need for my home? The most conventional method for determining this is based on square footage. Using a simple formula, you would multiple the square footage of your home by 25 to establish your base BTUs. If you have high ceilings, multiple base BTUs by 25% and add this figure. Multiply the number of people who live in the home by 400, and also add this figure to the base BTUs. Divide the final base BTUs figure by 12,000.
The final answer will tell you how many tons you need. To put this in better perspective, take a family of four who lives in a 1,700 square foot home with high ceilings, for example. Using this formula, this home would probably do well with a 4-ton unit.
It's important to understand that even with a formula, sizing a unit isn't always black and white. There are a number of factors that can have an impact on sizing. It's best to consult with a professional (like those at Uni-Serv Air Conditioning Co) before making a final decision on the size of your unit.