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What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

When shopping for a new air conditioner, you’ve probably asked this question: What size air conditioner do I need? Air conditioners aren’t one size fits all, but not any size will do. Did you know bigger is not better? It’s important a new air conditioner is sized correctly for your Birmingham, AL home. It’s the best way to deliver the performance and efficiency you deserve.

In this blog, we’ll cover the importance of air conditioner sizing and the problems when you have the wrong fit. Our NATE-certified technicians are here to help you find the right answer to that all-important question: What size air conditioner do I need?

What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need? Here are the Factors

The right way to determine what size air conditioner you need is to work with Douglas Cooling & Heating to find the right fit. There are many elements used to determine the appropriate size. Hint: it’s more than square footage.

Some of the many characteristics considered to properly size an air conditioner include:

  • Square footage of the home
  • Volume of living space
  • Climate
  • Height of ceilings
  • Age of the home
  • Sunlight exposure of the home
  • Shade around the home
  • Foundation type
  • Color of the roof and exterior materials
  • Type of windows, age, orientation, and how many
  • Insulation
  • Existing ductwork
  • Average occupancy
  • Energy goals

These factors and more allow our NATE-certified technicians to find the right size air conditioner for your unique house. We look at these factors to determine your home’s cooling load, which is the amount of heat to be removed from your home to keep temperatures manageable. All the factors above contribute to heat gain indoors, which your new air conditioning unit removes.

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Air Conditioner Sizes & Efficiency

Air conditioners are sized by tons. This is not the actual weight of the unit, but tons of cooling capacity. A ton of cooling equals 12,00 BTUs (British thermal units) per hour. A one-ton air conditioner provides 12,000 BTU/hr, a 2-ton air conditioner provides 24,000 BTU/hr, and so on.

Separate from size is the air conditioner’s efficiency rating, which is measured in SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio). Our selection of Bryant air conditioners offers 16 SEER all the way up to 19 SEER. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the air conditioner.

Problems with Too Small or Too Big Air Conditioners

Now that you know what goes into answering, “What size air conditioner do I need,” let’s go over why it’s so important to get the right size.

Oversized air conditioners (too big for your home) and under-sized (too small for your home) do not cool your home efficiently. In fact, they are often unable to adequately cool it in the first place.

Too Little

An undersized air conditioner doesn’t have the ability to keep your home cool. It simply doesn’t produce enough cooling. As a result, the unit runs longer in attempts to keep up. This places more stress on your unit and consumes more electricity, which results in higher energy bills, more breakdowns and shorter system life.

Too Big

An oversized air conditioner provides too much cooling too fast for your home. This creates shorter cooling cycles unable to properly remove moisture. This allows high humidity in the home and poor air quality.

Because they cool the home too fast, the system short cycles (turns on and off frequently). This excess wear and tear to the system means it’s more likely to break down and require early replacement.

An improperly sized air conditioner costs you more in unnecessary equipment cost (common when buying an over-sized unit), more repair expenses, and higher energy bills. Additionally, the wrong size air conditioner costs you as it denies you comfort.

Call Douglas Cooling & Heating for a Free Estimate for a New Air Conditioner or Heat Pump

“What size air conditioner do I need?” is a question we hear from many of the Birmingham, AL homeowners we serve. Our NATE-certified technicians know the right techniques to properly size a new air conditioner for your home to ensure excellent cooling performance and efficiency.

Contact us today to learn which size air conditioner is right for you in Bessemer, Pelham, Helena, Homewood, Hoover, Calera, Mountain Brook, Chelsea, Vestavia Hills and many other Birmingham communities.

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