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What Size AC Do I Need?

August 25, 2021 | Blog

When trying to decide what size AC unit is best for your home, there are quite a few steps you need to take before actually buying a new unit. It’s easy for one to think that ‘bigger is better’ when it comes to the power of an AC unit.

At Air Clinic, we want you to be comfortable with your buying options when pursuing a new AC unit.

Just because the AC unit is bigger, doesn’t always mean that it will perform better for the areas of your home that you want to cool. If you buy an AC unit that is too big, the chances are high that you’ll just end up wasting energy and money. Too small of an AC unit means you won’t get the right amount of the desired airflow. In this blog post, we will cover what the typical sizes of an AC unit are best for the square footage of the areas that you are trying to cool.

Read more to discover all of the helpful information provided by the professional AC installers at Air Clinic.

Get a load calculation

One of the first and most important steps you should take when trying to decide on the best AC unit for your home is by calculating the size you might need. It is recommended that you hire a professional dealer for what is called a “load calculation.” Load calculations are what will tell you the amount of cooling capacity that is required for the area you are trying to cool. The calculations take in multiple contributing factors that account for the way your system will operate.

Consider the air conditioners rating

Air conditioners are most commonly rated based on their cooling capacity and their energy efficiency. Cooling capacity is measured in tons or BTUh. When looking at energy efficiency, you’ll focus on the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). This is commonly compared to miles per gallon for a car.

Cooling Capacity

Commonly expressed in BTUh (British Thermal Units per Hour) or tons, cooling capacity is what helps to determine what specific air conditioner is best for space you’re working with, Always measuring an air conditioner cooling ability unit over an hour; one ton of cooling is equal to 12,000 BTUh. Household or residential air conditioning units usually range from 1.5 tons to 5 tons. For any cooling size larger than that, you’re moving into the commercial sizes.

When considering the size of tons, it can also be considered tonnage. Tonnage is expressed in increments of .5. Residential units usually only go up to about 5-ton units.

One important note: there is a distinct difference between BTU and BTUh. BTU (British Thermal Units) is the measurement that is required for the amount of heat that is needed to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. BTUh is a measurement of how much heat can be removed in an hour from your home.

SEER rating

The SEER rating is what air conditioners use to indicate the level of energy efficiency. SEER, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is the total amount of cooling that is provided during the whole cooling season divided by the total electrical input during the cooling season. Commonly compared to miles per gallon in a car, the larger the SEER rating, the more energy-efficient your system will be. What is to consider is that many AC units with the same cooling capacity have different SEER ratings.

Contact the professionals at Air Clinic

Load calculations, cooling capacities, and SEER ratings are the biggest things to consider when doing your research on an AC unit. For more information on different options and help installing, repairing, or tune-ups on your units, contact us at Air Clinic!

Why Choose Air Clinic?

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Professional Team
Our team of technicians are licensed, highly trained and trustworthy. You can count on us to get the job done right the first time.
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Locally owned and operated, we strive to offer the best customer service with transparent and upfront pricing.
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Proud to offer the best products from top HVAC brands including Trane, American Standard and Carrier.

What Our Customers Say

Professional and Knowledgeable

Air Clinic has always been fantastic to work with. Honest, reliable and flexible. They have excellent communication and fair prices. I’ve used them for 8 years now!


Outstanding Job

Ryan, Justin, Austin and Kevin did an outstanding job. The communication among us for the H/VAC exchange was right on point. I would highly recommend this company to family members.


Friendly and Helpful

Fantastic company Andrew and Steven did a great job. Very friendly and helpful on set up.


Reliable and Professional

Service was on time technician very clear with our problem and addressed it. Price quoted was the same price at the end of service.


Professional and Punctual

Bought my AC unit through Lowes and was installed by Air Clinic. They did a great job. They were professional and punctual.