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Is a Larger AC Unit Always Better? Top Considerations When Buying a New AC 

Written by Comfort Solutions HVAC on . Posted in .

The Factors to Consider When Selecting an AC Unit Size

If you’re shopping for an air conditioner, your first impulse may be to purchase the largest unit on the market. You may believe bigger is better, but this isn’t always the case in the world of air conditioning. The most suitable unit for your home will always be determined by a combination of factors pertaining to your floor plan. If you’re having difficulties finding the appropriate fit for your new air conditioner, keep these considerations in mind.

Cooling Capacity

A major consideration you should take into account when purchasing a new AC unit is the cooling capacity. The cooling capacity of your AC is dependent upon British Thermal Units (BTUs). By definition, a BTU is the energy it takes to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree. This unit of measure can also be used interchangeably with what is known as tonnage. Tonnage is the amount of heat that can be removed with an AC unit’s cooling capacity within one hour. The higher a BTU rating, the greater the capacity to cool a room. However, this does not mean that larger units are more efficient. The cooling capacity relies on the square footage of your space. Purchasing a unit that is too large for your home will not only fail to adequately cool the space, but it will also lead to an increase in cooling costs and a reduction in the unit’s lifespan. 

Load Calculation

To find the proper air conditioner for your home, the best option is to have a certified HVAC technician perform a load calculation. A load calculation is an evaluation to help determine your home’s heat loss and gain to assess what AC unit size is right for you. A load calculation will take into account several variables, such as:

  • Your home’s age and its floorplan
  • Your home’s direction in relation to the sun
  • Your home’s energy efficiency and your appliance’s EE ratings
  • Your home’s windows and their u-values 
  • The number of occupants within your home
  • If you have shade or trees surrounding your home
  • Your roof’s age and its material
  • Regional weather patterns 

SEER Rating

The SEER rating is an important factor to think about when buying a new air conditioner. A SEER rating also known, as a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is used to determine an AC unit’s efficiency. This energy rating is calculated by dividing your cooling output by the total electric energy input utilized in your home. An air conditioner that provides a higher SEER rating means it is more energy efficient. There is no set range for SEER ratings, however, the minimum requirement for an AC unit is at 13 and can reach a maximum rating of 22. To determine what SEER rating is right for your home, it’s best to consult a certified HVAC technician who can assist you with what level of energy efficiency is necessary to cool your space.

Are you in the market for a new air conditioner but are stuck on how to find the perfect fit? Comfort Solutions has certified HVAC technicians that are trained to remedy your situation. We can help you identify the right AC unit for your home and help with the installation. 

For more information, please call us at 610-438-9300 or contact us online to book your service appointment.