What Size of Central AC Do I Need?

When the time comes to invest in central air conditioning, it’s crucial that you buy the right size for your property. Every square foot of your home requires 20 BTU to be properly cooled, so the right capacity unit might be more or less than you expect, depending on the scale of the space.

As you shop, you’ll notice that most central air conditioning units possess a range from 5,000 to 12,500 BTU.

The Importance of a Correctly Sized Air Conditioner

To cool your house effectively, you need the right size of air conditioner. Otherwise, it might make your home or office excessively cold. In a commercial environment, that’s bound to generate staff complaints!

On the other end of the spectrum, it might not have enough power to keep the entire place cold, leaving some parts of your space uncomfortably warm.

You might think that buying a larger air conditioning unit than you necessarily need is the safer option; however, it could end up suffering from short cycles—turning itself on and off too often.

This shortens the lifespan of your unit, meaning that you’ll be back where you started before you know it!

Different Sizes of AC Units

When we talk about an air conditioner’s size, we’re really talking about their cooling capacity, which is measured in BTUs per hour. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit.

This measurement tells us how much heat a unit can remove from the air in the time period of 60 minutes.

To determine the best size of air conditioning unit for you, you need to know how big your space is in square feet and how much cooling power you need per square foot. We would generally recommend a BTU of 20 per square foot.

Making The Calculations For Your Space

You might need to make some adjustments depending on the space itself. If it’s especially sunny, capturing a lot of heat and light from outside, then you might opt for an increased capacity, for example.

If you’re cooling an entire house, you’ll obviously need a higher capacity. Where your house is located also matters. Northern houses need less cooling capacity than Southern houses.

To calculate how big your air conditioning unit should be, multiply your home’s total square footage by 20 then divide that total by 12,000. To find the total number of tons you need, subtract 1.0 from that figure.

Bear In Mind That…

  • Choosing the right size of unit will make it more durable, meaning you won’t have to replace it for a longer time.
  • The larger the air conditioner is, the higher the price. This is the same whether you’re investing in individual units or central AC.
  • You should expect to spend between $3,000 and $10,000 for a central air conditioning unit. For single-room air conditioning units, prices could be as low as $100, and they come in a range of models including freestanding or window units.

Does that still sound confusing? Don’t worry! You can always contact the experts at Beehive Heating and Air to work out the best air conditioning unit for your space.

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