How to Choose the Right Sized Air Conditioner: A Guide for Homeowners

Family sitting in living room on a couch with functioning air conditioning system in Atlanta

What size air conditioner do I need?

This is a common question from homeowners who are either outfitting a new build or looking to replace an old unit. And as it ends up, it is a very important one to ask.

How do you know if your air conditioner is the right size? How many BTUs does it need to be? What about square footage or windows in the home? This blog post will answer all of these questions and more! We'll talk about how big your AC should be based on square footage, what type of windows you have, and much more.

First, What Are BTUs?

Let's start by taking a look at BTUs. What are these? Well, you've probably seen the number of BTUs on your air conditioner before and maybe wondered what it meant.

Well, a British Thermal Unit is basically just how much energy it takes to heat or cool something by one degree Fahrenheit in one hour. So if an AC unit has 12,000 BTUs, it can cool 12,000 BTUs worth of space in an hour. When thinking about what size AC unit you need, you really are asking about how many BTUs your unit should have.

Next, How Big Is Your House?

Now that you know about BTUs and how they work, let's talk a little bit about how this interacts with the square footage of your home.

First, you need to know the square feet of space in your home. This will help determine how many BTUs are needed per hour so that it can adequately cool down or heat up your house. So if you have a bigger area, then more energy is required! The standard is 20 BTUs per square foot of space. So, if you have 1,200 square feet, what size air conditioner you need is 24,000 BTUs or more.

What If You have Tall Ceilings or Lots of Windows?

Another thing that impacts the selection of air conditioning units in Atlanta is if your ceilings are tall or the windows in your home are particularly large.

If either of these things is true for your space, then it's important to take them into consideration when choosing an AC unit. Taller ceilings require more BTUs per hour. This is because the higher your ceiling, the more heat gets trapped up there and needs to be cooled down so that it doesn't impact the temperature of the rest of your home!

Having large windows, especially in an older house, can do something similar. Of course, modern houses don't usually have this problem.

Now you know all about how BTUs work and what impacts the size of your AC unit! If you need extra assistance making your selection, Moncrief Air is here to help. Just contact our HVAC service in Atlanta and we will guide you in selecting the right air conditioner for your home.

Not sure about replacing your AC unit just yet? Read about the benefits of a new air conditioner.