Size Matters in Air Conditioning
When you finally make the decision to install a new air conditioner in your home, keep in mind that the size of the unit really does matter. While some contractors may push you to buy a system that is much larger than you really need, a quality heating and air contractor will conduct the proper home survey and provide you with the correct size air conditioner for your home needs.
There are two schools of thought about the size of an air conditioner: bigger is better and a little bit of cooling is better than no cooling at all. These thoughts are both just plain wrong, and there is such a thing as just the right size for your home.
If a system is too large then the desired temperature is reached much faster but the result is that a reduced amount of humidity will be removed from the air. An oversized unit will also cycle on and off more often putting additional stress on the unit while increasing the cost of its operation. If a unit is too small it will cause the unit to run almost continuously to reach the temperature to which it is set and will effectively shorten its life. Additionally, since it will be running almost constantly, your electric bills could go through the roof.
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Remember that bigger is not always better! Buying an air conditioner that is too large does not provide better cooling.
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Some Useful Tips to Consider before Making a Purchase
Before buying a new unit you should contact a qualified heating and air contractor to determine what size unit is right for your house. If you want to estimate how big of a unit you need on your own to have something to compare the company’s estimate you can follow these directions to see how much air conditioning you need.
Take measurements of the floors in all of the rooms that you plan to cool. Multiply the width and length of each room and then add of the room’s dimensions together to get the square footage of your home. Some may recommend also measuring the height to get the total cubic feet in each room but since cold air drops, it really isn’t necessary.
Measure all of your windows that face south, length by height and add all of the window measurements together. Multiply that number by 871. Measure all of the windows that face north, add them together and multiply that number by 166. Add the two numbers for both sets of windows together.
You will need to calculate the BTU required for each person in the home and, according to heating and air contractor experts, each person will require about 400 BTU. Multiply the number of people living in the home by 400. Now, to really get into it, write down the wattage of every light in the house and multiply the total number by 4.25. This is the average number of BTU required to overcome the heat from the lights.
When you add up all of your figures you will come to the BTUs for an air conditioner to keep your home sufficiently cooled. You will also want to have the heating and air contractor check out the ductwork in your home to ensure there are no blockages or leaks that will reduce the efficiency of your air conditioner. By having the right size unit you can maintain your home’s comfort while keeping the cost of its operation to a minimum.
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