Multiple factors determine the best air conditioner (AC) for your home. However, the AC's size is probably the most critical of these factors. Below is an overview of AC sizing and why it's critical for your choice of a cooling system.
Meaning of AC Sizing
An AC's size is not the same as its physical dimensions. Rather, an AC's size is the system's cooling capacity in British Thermal Units (BTUs). Your AC's sizing should match your cooling needs for optimal performance.
Consider a case where you need 4,000 BTUs to keep your house reasonably cool at all times. That means you also need an AC that can supply a similar cooling capacity. An improperly sized AC is either too big or too small for the house you want it to cool.
Dangers of Improper Sizing
An undersized AC will run all the time since it cannot supply the necessary cooling capacity. The continuous running will make the AC wear faster than it should, struggle to cool your house, and consume more energy than it should.
An oversized system will shut down soon after switching it off since it will cool your house extremely fast. While fast cooling might look like an advantage, it creates several problems for the AC and your house. For example, an oversized system:
- Keeps running and stopping, and the frequent startups increase the rate of wear and tear
- Might not run long enough to control humidity in the house (humidity control is an AC's secondary function)
- Might trigger uneven cooling (that creates hot and cold spots in the house) due to short run times
In the end, an improperly sized AC will likely have a shorter lifespan than a properly sized one.
An AC contractor will help you size your AC properly. Below are the critical factors the contractor will use to determine the right AC for your house:
- The house size. The dimensions, specifically the house's width, size, and ceiling height, determine how much air the house has at a time.
- The house's construction materials. The materials determine how much heat escapes the house or penetrates from outside.
- The household size. The number of people in the house determines the body heat generation and heat-generating activities inside the house.
- The local weather and climate. Weather factors determine how much the AC has to lower the temperature for comfort.
The sizing or load calculation involves other factors in addition to the above critical ones. Your professional AC contractor will consider all relevant factors and help you install the right AC.
Contact a professional to learn more about this and other steps in the air conditioning installation process.