Looking for a new AC unit, whether it’s a replacement or part of new construction, can be a daunting task. Between all of the brands, models and a million different specifications, it’s easy to become overwhelmed because you most likely aren’t an AC installation expert. Luckily, the team at Air Tech of Houston AC & Plumbing is full of experts that are ready to guide you through the many aspects of choosing a new AC, starting with the most important one: size.
What exactly is AC size?
When it comes to AC size, HVAC professionals aren’t talking about the actual size of the unit. We’re actually talking about the amount of space that the unit can cool, which is measured in tonnage. When choosing a central air conditioner, it’s important to choose the correct AC unit size to ensure that your AC system will be able to provide adequate cooling throughout the house.
Calculating AC Size
In order to figure out what size AC unit you need, you’ll need to measure the British Thermal Units (BTUs) needed for your home. Simply put, BTUs are a measurement of how much cooling power you’ll need to keep your home comfortable. There are a few different ways to complete this calculation.
Manual J Calculation
A Manual J Calculation is a complicated formula used by HVAC and energy professionals to measure BTUs for your home. While it’s not something you can do on your own, a Manual J Calculation is the most accurate way to size your AC unit because it takes every factor into account, including:
- Square footage
- Number of residents
- Regional climate
- Sun exposure
- Number and style of windows
- Ductwork condition
- Insulation quality
- Heat-generating appliances
All of these factors and more determine the amount of heat that your home produces, which affects the required size of your AC unit. With a Manual J Calculation, you can rest easy knowing that your AC system will provide the most accurate cooling power for your home.
Online BTU Calculator
If you’re determined to size your AC unit on your own or would just like to have a number in mind before speaking to a professional, there are online BTU calculators available to guide you through the calculations. Depending on which site you use, the calculation may include many of the factors listed above from the Manual J Calculation.
The easiest — and simplest — way to calculate your AC size is through a simple formula that relies only on your home’s square footage and the number of BTUs per square foot in an average home. Simply multiply your home’s square footage by 25 BTUs. While you shouldn’t base your AC purchase on this calculation, it is a good estimate to help narrow down your search.
Choosing an AC Unit
Once you’ve calculated your home’s BTUs, it’s time to choose an AC. In the unit specifications, the size will be listed in either BTUs or tons — one ton is equal to 12,000 BTUs. If your BTUs don’t exactly match the range of AC sizes, round up to the next biggest size to ensure adequate cooling.
While it’s tempting to go for a bigger unit, bigger isn’t better in the world of heating and cooling. If your AC is too big for your home, it will cycle frequently and wear out too quickly, resulting in early replacement. Likewise, if your AC is too small, it won’t be able to keep up with your home’s energy demands and you’ll never be satisfied with its performance.
Rely on HVAC Professionals
Choosing a new AC is complicated, which is why you should never go in alone. The experts at Air Tech of Houston AC & Plumbing will take care of all of the requirements for your home so you can focus on what you want out of your AC rather than the complex details.
Contact us today to schedule your first appointment with one of our licensed professionals.