What Air Conditioner Size Do I Need?

It’s that time of the month again: when the sun’s actively intent on frying us all up, when walking to work suddenly seems like too much of a hassle, and when you decide to set your sights on finally buying an AC unit. Yes, the summer heat can often be a bummer (unless you reside in someplace like Greenland, where it might just come off as a blessing), and we often need some respite in the form of air conditioning.

However, as with all such new and major purchases, the question is put forth: what size air conditioner do I need? How do I select the right option? Well, I’m here to help partially answer that question by discussing AC sizes, which one fits you, and the condition it needs to be applied to best.

What Does an AC’s Size Mean?

So, here’s the thing: an AC’s size hardly ever refers to the physical dimensions that a unit occupies. Rather, it speaks to how efficient the cooling system is; a measurement by the name of BTU (British Thermal Units) helps us assess such features. We’re ideally looking for an AC unit that can both pull heavy duty and cool up a room efficiently without also costing an arm and a leg in terms of electricity.

With bills skyrocketing across the planet, it’s perhaps best to keep one’s wallet as in check as possible. So, as with all things, moderation is key to ensuring you get the perfect air conditioning unit, as annoying as said moderation might be. It’s one of those cases where having too big or too small of an AC unit will both have heavy ramifications for your wallet, but pay close attention and we’ll learn how to navigate this particular issue.

What’s a BTU? More Importantly: Why Should You Care?

So, let’s start with learning how to utilize BTU in order to assess how much cooling a room really needs. For starters, assess a room’s dimensions, more specifically its length and width, and multiply them. That gives you the area needed to be cooled; then just multiply that number into twenty-five. The final number we’ll be left with is the approximate BTU a room needs in order to stay comfortably cool during a hot winter night.

An Easy Method for Calculating a Room’s BTU

To make sure our bases are clear, let’s have a go at this with a math equation. Say a room is maybe 15 feet in length and 20 in width. The room’s total area would be 15 times 20, which is 300 ft2. Finally, take this 300, and multiply it by 25 BTU. The final answer we end up with is 7,500 BTU. Congratulations, we now know what our AC needs to size up to. Now, let’s discuss a unit’s actual size.

The Art of the Deal – Buying an AC with the Right BTU

Most people ideally shoot for the smallest possible unit in the attempt of saving up some cash. Certain small window units also have a lot of BTU, which makes them all the more enticing. However, these units also consume a startling amount of electricity, and can often cost much more than they’re truly worth.

The same can also apply to the massive behemoths that someone often finds adorning sweeping opera halls and theaters; these are just impractical for a home or even an office setting.

Meeting an AC Unit’s BTU in the Middle

The ideal middle point is to find an AC unit that matches the calculated BTU, and is also sizable enough to not cost a fortune. Window units are perhaps not the best option to start out with, so maybe consider a relatively small wall-mounted AC with the calculated BTU, or a unit that’s slightly above and below the calculated amount.

Here are some factors to consider when it comes to an AC’s BTU:

  1. Do you work in a setting which harbors over five people simultaneously?
  2. Is your room/workspace larger than the average bedroom?
  3. Is your room/workspace used by multiple individuals well into night time?

If the answer to at least two of these three questions are a profound yes, then higher BTUs can be considered.

Work On Your BTU’s Surroundings!

However, that’s just looking at the size of a room; many other factors need to be included in the mix in order to determine the perfect BTU. For starters, is the room under a near-constant barrage of sunlight. If the room’s constantly lit by hot, hot UV light then it’s always best to aim for a higher BTU. The second factor that’s needed to be considered is residence: how many people occupy this space for prolonged hours.

Increasing Your BTU According to Demand

A workspace may be small enough to fit an affordable BTU, but is also then constantly occupied by a barrage of employees that are absolutely going to spike temperatures. The ideal solution is to go ahead and increase the capacity by a fixed amount per person; an increase by 500 or 600 BTU sounds ideal.

Finally, if the room harbors other electric units that radiate heat (such as stoves or refrigerators), then increase the BTU a tad bit more per unit. This’ll help offset their heat, and actually give you your money’s worth.

In Conclusion, The Right Size Takes Effort and Care

Purchasing an AC unit is a big step to take, and it’s important that you take this step with an educated mindset. Take your time with the purchase, review all possible options, and discuss them with your local vendor as well if you’d like. No need to be hasty with a long-lasting decision such as this.

Ultimately, with making any such purchase, you must come from a place of knowledge. “What size air conditioner do I need” is a massive question that requires extensive research. I only hope this article helped supplement such knowledge effectively. Best of luck with the purchase, and may your summertime be spent in less-than-sweltering conditions!

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