Finding the right size air conditioner for your house is paramount to achieving efficiency and effective cooling. So how big of an air conditioner do I need? It depends on several factors. Here are the things you should be considering as you shop around.
How Much Space You Have
The first thing you need to consider is how much actual living space you have. When asking what size air conditioner do I need, you will be accounting for the spaces that need to be cooled daily for a comfortable living. This may not be the same as the square footage of your home, which could include more space than you actually intend to cool.
The next thing you need to think about is the environment surrounding your house. Shade trees can drastically reduce the amount of cooling power you need to have. However, if you have old, drafty windows that bring in a ton of sunlight, you may need extra cooling. The orientation of your house can also change the amount of cooling required as the sun’s path crosses your open living spaces. Furthermore, the climate zone you are in is part of the picture as well. The further South you live in the US, the hotter and longer your summers will be. AC installation in Phoenix requires a larger unit than installation in a northern state.
The Quality of your Existing HVAC
Before you order a new AC unit, your HVAC contractor should first conduct an assessment of your system to make sure that your ducts are clean, clear, and in good repair. Many homes have damaged ducts, which mean that some of the cool air is getting lost before it ever makes its way to your living spaces. These problems must be remedied before a new AC unit can be installed.
The Heat Load Equation
There are several other factors such as insulation and ceiling height that can also have an effect on the size of AC you need. There is no simple way to put all of these factors on the packaging for an AC unit. Instead, your HVAC contractor will use a special formula for the heat load that will take into account all of these factors, plus a few more, and that will tell you what size unit you actually need. To ensure you are getting the correct size, you may ask your technician about the heat load formula and how they arrived at their recommendation.