What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need for My Home?

September 3, 2021

When it comes to air conditioners, one size doesn’t fit all, and bigger isn’t always better. The size air conditioner you choose will depend upon a number of factors, including the size of your living space and the age of your home.

How to Determine the Size Air Conditioner You Need

An HVAC technician can help you figure out what size air conditioner you need for your home. He or she will perform an inspection and ask you questions to help determine your home’s needs. Some of the factors to be considered are:

  • The size of your home’s living space, in total volume.
  • The area of exterior walls that are exposed to the sun.
  • How many windows you have, how old they are, their condition, and how they’re oriented in relation to the sun.
  • When your home was built.
  • The amount and quality of the home’s insulation.
  • The existing ductwork and ventilation system.
  • How much shade the house gets from trees and shrubs.

Any good HVAC contractor will perform this very necessary inspection before installing a new heating and cooling system.

Why Installing the Right Size Air Conditioner Is Important

Once air conditioners are installed, they usually last for over a decade. Unfortunately, many homeowners purchase the wrong size air conditioner, either because the HVAC company didn’t provide a consultation to determine the correct size, or because the homeowner wasn’t aware of just how important size is. Units that are too big shut on and off too quickly, and units that are too small never reach the desired temperature. If the wrong air conditioner is installed, the system will encounter a variety of problems that affect the consumer in the following ways:

  • Wear and tear—If a unit has to shut on and off frequently, or has to run continuously, you’ll find that it will need repair much too early, and way too frequently. The parts will be under undue stress, which can cause various complications to the system.
  • Decreased energy efficiency—If a unit isn’t cycling properly, it’ll use energy much less efficiently. For instance, if a system is never able to shut off, it will be exerting energy continually that will then show up on your utility bill.
  • Discomfort—A system that isn’t the proper size won’t heat your home very well, and it will cause the air inside your home to never reach its optimal temperature. This can create discomfort for you or anyone else inside the home.

When it’s time to choose a new air conditioner, make sure you contact your HVAC company for a consultation. The company’s thorough inspection can give you the information you need to confidently purchase a system that is just the right size.