If you’re purchasing a new air conditioner, you need to know how powerful it should be to adequately cool your home. Undersized air conditioners simple won’t do the job, while oversized ones will short cycle – turning on and off too rapidly – which wastes power and adds undue strain on the system. (Air conditioners use most of their power starting up and shutting down, which is why you want yours to run for at least 15 minutes every time it turns on.) Both of those situations can cost you a great deal of money in monthly bills and add to the risk of a breakdown, which is a serious concern here in Hammond, LA, where our summers are blisteringly hot. A good technician can perform proper calculations on your home to determine the properly sized air conditioner for you. But what factors go into air conditioner sizing? Here’s a quick rundown.
- Square footage. This is the simplest part of the equation, though it still takes some factoring to figure out properly. The raw square footage can be used to make a rough estimate of your power needs, adding a little more for spots like the kitchen, which tend to be hotter than the rest of the house.
- Sunlight exposure. A home with big picture windows, especially those facing west in the direction of the setting sun, can warm up your home and thus require a more powerful air conditioner.
- Insulation. Insulation helps your house retain cold air as well as warm air, so a home with a lot of insulation will usually require a less powerful air conditioner.
- Winders and doors. Energy efficient windows help you retain cool air in the summer time, while windows and doors with cracks around the edges won’t hold the temperature as well.
If you’re installing a new air conditioner, contact A Professional Heating and Air for proper sizing.