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Calculating The Right Air Conditioner Size For Your House

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You know you need an air conditioner in your home. It’s essential in this area. But what size unit is right in your situation? It’s a complex question involving a large number of factors, but we can help you understand the calculation a little better.

Are you ready for a quick math lesson?

Here are two facts to keep in mind from the start:

  • First, bigger isn’t necessarily better. A system that’s too large will turn on and off too often, creating high energy bills and not staying on long enough to properly regulate humidity.
  • Second, factors including your climate zone (it’s zone 1 around here), how much insulation your home has and its landscaping must be considered for an accurate assessment of how much AC you need.

With those things in mind, let’s talk about the most important factor in determining the size of the air conditioner for your home: tons per square foot.

An Introduction To HVAC Math

If you’re considering replacing your air conditioning system, you can do a quick estimate yourself to get an idea of how much cooling power you will need.

Every ton of air conditioning capacity can remove 12,000 BTUs of heat from a building each hour. For residences with fewer visitors than commercial buildings and fewer windows too, the amount of cooling loss may be fairly low. It’s usual to assume that an HVAC unit can cool about 400 square feet per ton of AC capacity. Rarely should a system ever be depended upon for more than 600 square feet per ton.

If you go with the 400 square feet per ton number, a typical 1,600 square foot home would need a 4 ton AC unit. That’s 1,600 square feet divided by 400 square feet per ton. This unit would remove 4 times 12,000 BTUs or 48,000 BTUs per hour.

But remember that we started by saying there are multiple factors that must be considered. When you take into consideration your home’s insulation, landscaping, climate zone, number of stories, condition of ductwork, positioning toward the sun and other factors, your cooling needs could be as much as 25 percent higher than this rough estimate suggests. And remember that you don’t want a system that’s too big.

Let Us Do The Calculations For You

Most homeowners leave the air conditioning capacity calculations to professionals. After a thorough review of your home and the factors mentioned above, we can plug all the right numbers into a computer program that will generate a recommendation much more accurate than you can get with a simple AC size calculation by hand.

Today’s air conditioning units are more efficient than ever before, and you can get energy-efficient new systems that will work better than anything that was on the market just a few years ago. Working alongside your HVAC contractor, you can get the most for your money without having to do any work – or math – for yourself.

Turn to us when you want a full-service HVAC contractor who will work with you to determine your needs and custom-design a solution to exceed your expectations while staying within your budget. It’s what we do every day.

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