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What’s the Right Size Air Conditioner for My House?


As summer activities get us outside in the sun, we can start to look forward to a cool room for a relaxing escape. But the size of your air conditioning unit plays a big part in whether that escape will happen.

If your home or space you are cooling is too large for your AC unit to handle, it will end in you feeling hot and uncomfortable. This will also result in a much larger energy bill, and no one wants that. Understanding the types of AC systems and their size will help ensure that your air conditioner will keep your home or office cool all summer and won’t break the bank.

Understanding BTU Outputs

If you’re currently looking to size up your current AC system or are in the market for a new one, it will be helpful to understand what size you need. Below is everything you need to know about air conditioner specs.

What is BTU?

The unit of measure to quantify heat energy is British Thermal Units or BTU. For air conditioning units BTU is used to assess your AC system’s cooling load. If your AC has a high BTU rating, they have a high cooling capacity.

Why are they used?

Learning your air conditioning unit’s cooling capacity is very important in determining if your unit has enough cooling power. If your unit has a low BTU and the room is very large, it will struggle to cool the space down efficiently, resulting in extra expended energy and a higher energy bill.

On the other hand, if your BTU is very high and is cooling a small space, it can overcool the room which wastes just as much energy.

How to Check Your AC’s BTU

Checking to ensure you have the correct BTU rating for your air conditioning system is easy. Just take a look at your AC unit and check the manufacturer’s sticker for this info. You can also check the unit’s owner’s manual or call the manufacturer.

Does One Size Fit All?

Sadly, the answer is no.


Depending on the square footage of the room you are cooling, the BTU rating will differ. Measuring the square footage of the space will help you in determining which air conditioner is right for you.

Types of Central Air Conditioners

Types of ACsJust like there are different BTUs for an air conditioning system, there are different types as well. Below are the most common types of AC systems and their features and benefits:

  • Central Air Conditioners with Heat Pumps – These systems provide both heating and cooling in one system. They also are the most energy efficient but do require more time for installation and can cost more than other kinds of ACs.
  • Packaged Air Conditioners – Perfect for commercial buildings that cool a smaller area or space, these units combine the compressor, evaporator, and condenser into one unit. They are usually installed on a concrete slab next to the home or building or on the roof.
  • Split System Air Conditioners – The most ideal units for homeowners! These AC units have both indoor and outdoor systems that work together to cool a space. The installation process is fast and they are easy to use.
  • Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners – Similar to a split system AC by using both outdoor and indoor systems to work together but these types of units do not require ductwork. They are also more energy efficient but recommended for cooling smaller spaces.

Understanding Energy Efficiency Ratings

While we now know that BTU outputs are important in choosing the best air conditioning system for your home or office, the energy efficiency rating of an AC unit is just as important. Similar to BTU ratings, the higher the rating the more efficiently the unit will function. (psst, this means you’ll have a less environmental impact and lower energy bills!)


Typically rated by a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER and ranging between 13 to 21. The higher the SEER, the more energy efficient.

Purchase Considerations

When you’re looking to purchase a new air conditioning system there are a few things to take into consideration before swiping your card.

Price Range

Of course, you’ll be checking out different-priced units but keep in mind that these prices vary based on the type, features, and brand. Central air conditioning systems can cost upwards of $3,000 while a window AC unit can range between $150 – $800.

prices for ACFinancing

If you’re looking for a way to manage the cost of a new air conditioner, financing is a great option. Check with retailers and manufacturers to find out if they offer a program.

Tax Credits

When your AC system meets specific criteria for energy efficiency, the government may give you tax credits. You can find out if you qualify for those when you do your taxes.


Rebates are a great way to help you get some money back after purchasing a new AC system. Contact a retailer or the manufacturers to find out if they offer anything like this.

Now that you’re up to speed on the basics of air conditioning systems you can begin your search for a new unit. Contact us at HELP to get started!

Posted in: Air Conditioning

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