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how do i know what size air conditioner i need

How do I know what size air conditioner I need? Though often taken for granted, air conditioners are crucial to any modern home. They provide relief from the sweltering heat of summer and help to circulate and filter the air in your home, making it a healthier place to live.


However, with so many different types and models of air conditioners on the market, it can be tough to know which one is right for your home. Here are a few factors to remember when shopping for an air conditioner.


How to Measure Air Conditioner Sizes

Let’s examine the process used to calculate air conditioner sizes. British Thermal Units (BTU) is used to determine an air conditioner unit’s cooling capability, which is measured in tons. For instance, a one-ton unit has a 12,000 BTU capacity, and a two-ton unit has a 24,000 BTU capacity. Most residential air conditioners start at 1.5 tons and increase in half-ton increments. Your house probably won’t need an AC unit that weighs more than five tons.


To obtain a rough idea of the unit size you would require, you can apply some basic parameters depending on the square footage of your property. For instance, you might estimate that one ton is needed for every 750 to 1000 square feet. Thus, a house with 2,000 square feet could need a 2.0 to 2.5-ton unit.


But remember that the AC unit’s size will be affected by various factors, including the size and number of windows, their access to the west and south, and how the house was insulated.


Factors to Consider for Proper Sizing Your AC Unit

As we’ve briefly seen, there are numerous factors to consider when determining how big of an air conditioner you need. Here are some other considerations:

  • The height of your ceilings will also influence how much cooling power you’ll need. Higher ceilings require more BTUs to cool down the space effectively.
  • The number of people living in your home will also impact how much cooling you’ll need. More people in your home means more heat generated; Thus, you’ll need a unit with more BTUs to cool everyone down effectively.
  • Your climate will dictate how often you use your air conditioner and how much cooling power you need. If you live in a climate with hot summers and mild winters, you’ll need a unit with more BTUs to keep your home comfortable throughout the year.
  • The type of air conditioner you choose will also affect how much cooling power you need. Central air conditioners are generally more powerful than portable units, so if you’re looking for a unit to cool your entire home, you’ll need a central air conditioner with a higher BTU rating.


Why is Proper Sizing of Air Conditioners Important?

Many people believe that bigger is always better. But when it comes to your air conditioner, that is not the case. A too-large AC unit will be less effective and more expensive than a properly sized unit.


Here’s why proper sizing of air conditioners is so important.


  1. Bigger isn’t always better. Regarding your air conditioner, a too-large AC unit will be less effective and more expensive to operate than a properly sized unit. 
  2. A too-large air conditioner will cool your home too quickly without removing enough humidity. It can leave you feeling chilly and uncomfortable. 
  3. A properly sized air conditioner will remove heat and humidity from your home, making you feel cool and comfortable. 
  4. A too-large AC will cycle on and off more frequently, which can shorten its lifespan. Also, it will cost more to operate because it will use more energy to cool your home quickly. 
  5. A very small air conditioner will run continuously and never reach the set temperature on your thermostat. It can cause the unit to freeze up and break down.



Now that you know how to select the right-sized air conditioner for your home, it’s time to start shopping! Keep in mind the square footage of your home, the number of people living in your home, and the climate you live in when choosing an AC unit. And don’t forget to factor in the height of your ceilings and the type of air conditioner you want. With all these factors in mind, you’ll surely find the perfect-sized air conditioner for your home.

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