What Size AC Do I Need?
Summer is upon us and the sweltering heat appears to be back with a vengeance. It’s that time of year when many of us turn to air conditioning to provide relief from the heat. If you’re the type of person that values time, money, and effort, then getting the best air conditioning unit for your needs means asking yourself: “What size AC do I need?”
As a licensed AC technician with over 15 years of experience under my belt, I can tell you that the answer to your question, “What size AC do I need,” is a lot more complicated than it first seems. For one thing, size here means finding the right capacity of air conditioning system (or a combination of systems) that will work for you, rather than the actual type or dimensions of the unit. These are the most important things to consider:
Sizing Your AC System
If you’ve been plagued by problems like inefficient cooling or ridiculously high electricity bills in the past, then it’s likely that your AC system’s size is all wrong. It could be too big or too small for your home.
Sizing is extremely important in air conditioning, but many of us are unaware that it often takes a professional to determine the right size air conditioner you need. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t a simple matter of going out to the mall and buying something right off the shelf.
So when I’m asked, “What size AC do I need,” I explain it this way. Many important factors — many of which most people are unaware of — can come into play. Among the critical things that can affect AC sizing are, among other things:
- Your location.
- The orientation and layout of the rooms and of the home itself.
- The total area of sun-exposed exterior walls.
- Your windows — How many are there? Their age and condition? Orientation?
- Insulation levels and degree of air sealing.
- Your ventilation system and ductwork.
- Your type of roofing, and your home’s construction. What materials were used? How old is the home?
- How many people live in the home?
- The amount of shade from trees and shrubs.
When your AC compressor and other components fail, it often has to do with improper sizing or installation of the air conditioning unit. Oversized cooling systems will work in shorts bursts that will be inefficient at removing humidity and will drive energy consumption up. The right sized system, on the other hand, will run for a longer period and will both dehumidify and cool to better provide the comfort you seek.
Your Structure’s Size and Orientation
The total volume of the home’s living space — not just the square footage, but the height of the ceilings and open/partially open spaces within the home — all these come into play when seeking to determine the size of your entire structure.
You may well ask: Why is your structure’s size also important? Because the size and orientation of your home and your windows should also come into consideration when determining the size and type of your cooling system.
Do you have north or south facing windows? How big are they? Even their age will matter, as older windows may be more prone to energy loss, and this will certainly increase the cooling load.
Consult a Trained Professional
Homeowners know that air conditioning is one of the more expensive conveniences to have in the home, so it’s important that you consult with a trained professional before making a purchase.
A licensed technician will take the time to thoroughly examine the areas involved in the installation and will properly assess your needs. He can guide you through this complex process and help you find the right-sized energy efficient cooling system to save you money.
“What Size AC Do I Need?” Is a Question We Can Answer
As you can see, many factors come into play when choosing the right size air conditioner for your needs. It’s best to ask a professional, so have a certified HVAC contractor come over to survey your home and determine your specific needs. Give us a call today at (813) 929-4295; we will be more than happy to help you.