Need an AC Unit? 3 Sizing Factors to Consider
You need a great AC unit to create a cozy, positive environment where your family can be comfortable. Unfortunately, if your space is hot and stuffy due to a damaged or dated air conditioner, you might need to replace your system. Here are three factors you should consider before selecting an air conditioner size and why the unit’s size will matter in the long run.
Total Square Footage
Oftentimes, homeowners choose air conditioners based on the notion that bigger is better, but that isn’t always the case. While it might make sense to overshoot your air conditioning needs, choosing too large of an air conditioner could actually waste energy in the long run, since your unit will cycle on and off more frequently.
However, by measuring your space, you can develop a good starting point for sizing your air conditioner. AC units are sized based on the number of BTUs worth of cooling power they can produce in an hour, and the larger the space you have, the more energy your air conditioner will need to use to keep your space cool.
As a general rule of thumb, you should multiply the square footage of your home by 31.25. For instance, if your home takes up about 1200 square feet, you would start the air conditioner sizing process by determining that you need a unit that provides at least 37,500 BTUs of cooling power each hour.
Although many homeowners are tempted not to count square footage in areas that aren’t used as frequently as main rooms, the fact of the matter is that closing vents in unused spaces can actually waste energy by making your system work harder to circulate air. Add square footage carefully and don’t forget about areas like storage spaces and spare bedrooms.
UV light is one of the biggest sources of unwanted heat gain inside buildings, so the well-lit space you love so much might be difficult to cool properly during the summer.
To account for this heat-generating light, add 10% to your base number if your home has a lot of windows. On the other hand, if your home is mostly shaded, you can reduce your needed AC capacity by 10%.
Since something as simple as shade or window choice can impact heat gain, think carefully about any changes that might occur with your space in the future. For instance, are you thinking about upgrading your windows with UV protective tinting? Is a building going up next door that will shade your windows in the afternoon?
Although it might be impossible to tell how things will change down the road, accounting for natural lighting can help you to size your air conditioner properly so your space doesn’t become uncomfortable during the brighter parts of the day.
Number of People
Since the human body also generates heat, it is important to think carefully about how many people you have in your home and what those people will be doing at any given time.
Experts recommend adding 245 BTUs for each person who will do light work within the home and adding 305 BTUs for each person who will spend a lot of time doing activities such as dancing or running on a treadmill.
Choosing the perfect system for your home can be a complex decision, which is why our team is on hand to help. Here at Mauzy Heating, Air & Solar, we are committed to providing our clients with top-of-the-line products and service. From HVAC upgrades and furnace repair to solar panel installations, our expert contractors can help you to make your home a more comfortable, efficient space. Contact us whenever you need help.