How to Choose the Right Size Air Conditioner

Knowing how to choose the right size air conditioner plays a big part in keeping ever-rising utility bills in check. Additionally, an AC unit that fits your home properly makes it more comfortable. Many people mistakenly believe that the larger the air conditioner unit, the better job it does to cool and condition the air.

In reality, a too-large air conditioner fails to properly dehumidify the air in a room because its run time is too short. Big-capacity air conditioners cool small rooms quickly, which signals the thermostat to cycle off before humidity can be adequately removed. This not only causes higher utility bills, it also makes a room feel damp and uncomfortable.

About BTUs

In order to know more about how to choose the right size air conditioner, learning the lingo helps. An AC's capacity to cool is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). BTUs measure how much heat it takes to elevate the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. One hundred forty-three BTUs melt one pound of ice.

This method of measurement is used to designate the capacity of residential air conditioners and clues us in as to how to choose the right size air conditioner for our home. By taking measurements of the rooms in your home, it will help you to decide how many BTUs the air conditioner you decide upon needs to do the job optimally.

For instance, a room that measures 12' x 12' (a typical size for a bedroom) or 144 sq. ft. would need an air conditioning unit with a 5,000 BTU capacity to cool it most efficiently and adequately. A room with a square-footage measurement of 450, a family room, for example, warrants a much bigger unit, one with BTUs of 10,000.

Other Considerations

In addition to room size, many other factors play a part in determining how to choose the right size air conditioner, as well. How many people are living in the home, how often they are actually in the home (as opposed to being at work, school, etc.), how much insulation is in the rooms of the house, whether or not the ceilings are standard or vaulted, the degree of direct sunlight, how many windows/doors are in the house and where they are located, and the general climate of the area in which the home is located all factor significantly in the necessary size of an AC unit.

Use All Your Resources to Learn More

Almost all companies that market and sell them maintain customer service staff trained to help you figure out how to choose the right size air conditioner for your home, as long as you know your measurements and other information (see above). Be sure and write all necessary information down before you leave home to do your shopping around.

You can also visit any number of online resellers to check out what is available that accommodates your own personal needs and to find out about the different brands, models, and pricing. Don't forget to talk to neighbors, friends, as relatives, as well to learn more about home air conditioning as well as visiting consumer opinion Web sites.

Air conditioners aren't cheap, so do your homework! It pays off in many more ways than one to know how to choose the right size air conditioner for your own, unique living environment.