When you’re shopping for a new central air conditioning system, there are a lot of factors to consider – like efficiency ratings, brand reputations and the amount of money you feel comfortable spending. Another variable you need to take into account is the size of the unit. Pick the right-sized unit for your home and you can relax in comfort and efficiency, while a model that is too big or too small can leave you with insufficient climate control or excessive electric bills. Read on for tips on how to find the central air conditioning system that's the perfect size for your home.
Too Big, Too Small, Just Right
The average household spends 40 percent of its energy budget on heating and cooling, with Americans spending $24 billion each year to power their air conditioners alone. That means it's important to find savings anywhere you can – and getting the right size central air conditioning system is a key factor.
If your AC unit is too small, it will run constantly without ever properly cooling your home, gobbling up an excess of electricity while it's at it. If you buy an oversized model, on the other hand, it will cycle on and off too frequently, leading to excessive wear and tear as well as inflated bills to cover cooling power that you don't even need. Furthermore, if the air conditioner only runs intermittently, it won't pull as much humidity out of the air and you will be left uncomfortable no matter where you set the thermostat.
Calculating Your Load
Finding the right size range for your central air conditioning system can be a complex process. You’ll need to know the square footage of your home, but there are several other factors to consider – insulation, how much sun the house receives, the layout of your rooms and the number of floors. You also need to consider your climate to estimate how frequently your AC will need to run. All of those factors taken together are called the “load.”
You can compare your load to the cooling capacity of a particular central air conditioning system, measured in BTUs per hour. Some units are also measured in tons, with a conversion of one ton for every 12,000 BTUs/hr. Since there are so many factors to consider when determining the number of tons you’ll need to fulfill your load requirements, you should check with the manufacturer or a home services professional to find your sweet spot.
Taking the Plunge
If you need more help picking out or installing a properly-sized central air conditioning system, contact an HVAC professional today.