If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, you’re likely considering several important factors. The brand is important as a well-manufactured unit will last two decades or more. The SEER rating is also vital as it tells you how efficient the unit is and how much you can expect to save on your energy bills. However, another important consideration when it comes to choosing a new unit is size. Here’s what you need to know.
What You Need to Know about BTUs
Every air conditioner unit has a BTU rating, which simply tells you its overall cooling capacity. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, and it is defined as the amount of heat you would need to raise the temperature of a pound of water (by weight) by a single degree. To simplify things, the more BTUs, the larger the space a unit can cool. The fewer the BTUs, the smaller the space a unit can cool. It’s important to purchase a new air conditioner unit with the proper amount of BTUs for the number of square feet the unit is expected to cool.
When Your Unit is Too Small
Sometimes homeowners make the mistake of purchasing an air conditioner unit that is too small for their homes to save money. After all, the smaller the capacity, the less expensive the unit. What’s more, these homeowners believe that it takes less energy to run a smaller unit. Unfortunately, this decision often backfires. When homeowners purchase air conditioners that are too small for their homes, these units often work nonstop trying to get the temperature inside the home to reach the temperature set at the thermostat – without ever quite achieving that temperature on the hottest days. This can actually drive up energy costs, and it even has an impact on the unit’s lifespan. That’s why a new air conditioner should always be large enough to handle cooling the entire space.
When Your Unit is Too Large
In other cases, homeowners may choose a larger air conditioner unit because they think the larger size will allow more comfort with less runtime, thus saving energy and cutting back on costs. While this may sound great in theory, it isn’t the case at all. When your new air conditioner is too large for the space it’s trying to cool, several things may occur. First, your unit will likely short-cycle, which simply means it will kick on and off frequently in an attempt to maintain the temperature you set. The air conditioner is so powerful that it cools your space very quickly, which means it’ll have to turn itself off and on more frequently. This causes unneeded wear and tear, and can drastically shorten the life of your unit.
Getting it Just Right
The best way to choose the right air conditioner unit for your space involves hiring a professional. If you know the total amount of square footage in your home, you can provide this information to an HVAC technician who will help you choose the proper unit with just the right number of BTUs for your space. Of course, there are other factors that come into play, as well, such as the climate zone and whether your home has one story or more, so that’s why it’s so beneficial to ask for professional advice when choosing the right air conditioner.
An air conditioner unit that is too large or too small for your space may seem like it could save you money, but the truth is that neither is a good idea. Choosing the right number of BTUs for your unique space can provide you with ultimate comfort, better efficiency, and a longer lifespan – all of which will save you money over time.