With summer in full swing and the temperatures rising fast, you might find yourself sweating over your upcoming electric bill. If you have energy savings in mind, considering a new air conditioning unit packed with energy-saving features may well be on your mind also. Surely, we all would enjoy better year-round energy efficiency and savings as well as higher comfort levels in our home, but it’s important to remember that not all AC units are created equal. Of course they all have similar features, and other not-so-similar features—and don’t forget to take the air conditioner size into account.
Air Conditioner Size is Primary
Though the primary function of your AC unit is to cool the air temperature and make the atmosphere in your home safe and comfortable, dehumidifying your home’s air is yet another important function of your AC system. To ensure the comfort of your home it is necessary to remove the moisture, which also keeps your home free from mold spores and other bacteria.
When you are looking to find your home’s proper air conditioner size, it is important to keep those two important features and functions in mind. If you purchase an air conditioner that is too small for your living space it will have to work a great deal longer and harder in order to keep your home and family cool and comfortable. Running longer and harder will obviously result in higher energy and utility costs. On the flip side, however, a unit that is too big is not a whole lot better. An over-sized AC unit will present with short start up and stop cycles. Start and stop cycles not only prevent it from running long enough to effectively remove the moisture from the air, but can over time, shorten the lifespan of its compressor as well as increase energy consumption with excessive startups.
Choosing the Correct Air Conditioner Size
The cooling power of your AC is measured in British thermal units (BTUs). The sizing of an air conditioner is determined by the total square footage of the living space that is to be cooled. You must begin by determining how much power is required to dehumidify and cool down any specific living space. This calculation of your home’s square footage is a good rough estimate of the sized AC unit you will need to purchase.
Once you have the total square footage you can then consult with the Federal Energy Star Chart so as to determine how much power your AC system will need to produce in your home. You would then take that number and determine the appropriate load size needed. The load size is actually measured in tons and a ton is the equivalent of 12,000 BTUs. For example, if you calculate that a new system would need to produce 24,000 BTUs for your home, then you would be in the market for a 2-ton air conditioning unit.
The next variable you need to take into consideration is that of the R-rating of your home’s insulation. The lesser the insulation the more cooling power will be needed. You also want to include in your formula the north or south facing portions of your home as well as your typical local climate and temperatures. Once you have incorporated all of these factors you are then able to determine the appropriate air conditioner size you will be best suited with.
South Nashville Heating & Cooling performs a “Manual-J” load calculation on every client’s home using a computer program to determine proper equipment sizing. Many contractors size the air conditioning and heating equipment based solely on square footage, or they assume that the existing system was properly sized in the first place. This is wrong! New equipment is more efficient and has more heating and cooling capacity, therefore you may not need the same size unit that you have had for years.
Every home is different. A load calculation takes into account every aspect of your home’s construction, including which direction the house faces, whether the exterior is brick, wood, vinyl siding, or stucco. It also includes what the R-value (thickness and density) of the insulation is in your walls, attic, crawlspace or basement, as well as what type of windows are in your home. We enter all of this information into a computer program, which tells us exactly how much cooling is needed to maintain 75-degrees on a 95-degree day, or how much heating is needed to maintain 70-degrees on a 15-degree day. These are the design conditions that have been established for our geographical region, according to the standards set forth by Energy Star and ACCA. (Air Conditioning Contractors of America).
When equipment is oversized, the efficiency is reduced and the system does not run long enough to dehumidify the air. When a system is undersized, it will run all the time and result in uncomfortable conditions. An improperly sized system will have higher operating costs, more breakdowns / repair costs, and a shorter life span. The load calculation not only determines what system to install, but also how to properly design the duct system. A properly engineered duct system will deliver the exact amount of conditioned air needed to each room, resulting in a more consistent temperature throughout your home.
As a matter of insight, installing a new HVAC system is a sure-fire way of making your home much more energy efficient. But remember, if you purchase a unit that is not properly sized for your home it will end up costing you more money in the long term. For that reason, you want to be sure to reach out and consult with the highly skilled professionals here at South Nashville Heating and Cooling who can help you with any federal or local laws that may require the installation of units that have a specific SEER rating. You want to ensure that you comply with any and all requirements and may even learn that there are tax incentives offered by local or state governments when you choose to purchase a more efficient air conditioning system.
The skilled and licensed technicians here at South Nashville Heating and Cooling will be more than happy to help you with all your decision making. You are our #1 priority which is why we are committed and dedicated to providing the highest quality products and services season after season.
If you are thinking about purchasing a new AC unit and want to be certain you are purchasing the best and most efficient size air conditioner then we are the team for you. Give a shout out to our professionals today and schedule your free consultation. We look forward to serving you and to providing you with the best all round HVAC products and services this side of Nashville.