What size central AC do you need? At Foothills Heating and Cooling in Denver, we want you to understand more about how to determine what air conditioner might be right for you. When it is hot, all you may be thinking about is making your house cooler, but really choosing the right size is one of the important aspects to consider when choosing the right air conditioner to cool your home.
How is AC Size Measured?
Central air conditioners come in a number of different sizes. These sizes are generally measured in tons. Though it sounds like this measurement is related to the weight of the unit, it really measures the unit’s ability to cool. 1 ton equates to cooling 12,000 BTUs (British thermal units) per hour. A BTU is the amount needed to cool or heat one pound of water by one degree (measured in Fahrenheit). While it sounds complicated, what it all really means is 1 ton can cool 12,000 pounds of water one degree an hour.
An air conditioner generally weighs between 1 and 5 tons (available in half ton increments). AC units over 5 tons are commercial units. If your home requires more than a 5-ton air conditioner, your HVAC professional may recommend two regular units instead of one commercial unit.
The Right Size
When it comes to what size central AC do you need for your home, getting the wrong size air conditioner can mean expensive energy bills and can still potentially leave you feeling hot at home. If your unit is too small, your AC will need to run constantly to achieve a cooler temperature. If it is too large, it will cool your home so rapidly, your home will experience uneven temperature spikes. A proper size AC will use energy efficiently and keep your home at a more even temperature.
There is a formula that will give you a rough estimate of what size central AC do you need. Take your home’s square footage and multiply it by 25. Take this total and divide it by 12,000. Take this total and subtract .5 and this will equate to the total needed tonnage. For example, if your home is 1440 sq. ft then:
Step 1: 1440 x 25= 36,000
Step 2: 36,000 ÷ 12,000= 3
Step 3: 3 – .5= 2.5
So, for a 1440 sq. foot home, a 2.5-ton central air conditioner should be the right size. Keep in mind that this is a basic estimate and does not take any other conditions into account (ceiling height, insulation levels, etc). Your HVAC specialist can tell you more about your needs based your home’s specifics.
So, what size central AC do you need? We here at Foothills Heating and Cooling in Denver, hope the above information has given you a solid starting point. Of course, there are more considerations to determine the specific central air conditioning system that would be right for you. Call us and we can help get your home cooled down quickly and correctly.