Choosing The Best Home Air Conditioner For Your Space

how to choose best home air conditioner for space top ac unit

As the weather finally begins to warm up again, it’s time to start thinking about air conditioning. Before you know it, the mercury will begin to creep steadily upward, until the hottest days of the year are upon us again. That’s why it’s best to start preparing early. Making sure you have the best home air conditioner for your space is a key part of this preparation. 

Finding the right air conditioner isn’t always an easy task, however: there are actually many variables to consider before you can make a choice. Below, we’ve listed a few things you should look into when choosing the best air conditioner for your home: 

Consider Your Square Footage 

When selecting an air conditioner, it’s important to consider the size of the home it will be cooling. If an air conditioner is too small for the home, it won’t be able to cool it effectively. Besides dramatically increasing your energy bill, it may fail to get your home to the desired temperature during the hottest summer days. If, on the other hand, the air conditioner is too large for a smaller home, it will struggle to work efficiently—frequently cycling on and off—and also drive up your energy costs. 

To figure out which sized AC unit is right for your home, you’ll have to look at the BTU rating. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, and it’s used to measure heat energy. The measurement on an air conditioner indicates how much heat energy is removed from the air per hour. The number can be as low as 5,000 to as high as 36,000 BTUs. 

A BTU rating that’s too low for the room won’t be able to get it cool enough; one that is too high will cycle on and off repeatedly. You need to match the BTU rating to the square footage of the space itself. 

To determine the square footage of a rectangular room, you simply measure the length and width of the room and multiply them together. 

The formula for rooms that aren’t shaped like squares or rectangles is nearly as simple: use painter’s tape to divide the room into even rectangular shapes. Determine the square footage of these and then add them together to discover the total room size. 

Finally, you’ll have to compare your square footage to a BTU chart, such as the one here on the ENERGY STAR® website

Other Factors That Affect BTUs 

While the size of the room may be the most important factor when determining the type of air conditioner for your space, it’s far from the only factor. After all, there are many other things that can affect the comfort of a home. For example, is it usually shaded? Or is it often in direct sunlight? A room that’s shaded during the majority of the day will require a smaller BTU capacity than one that’s usually awash with sunshine. 

The height of the ceiling must be taken into consideration as well. After all, if your ceiling is particularly high, this will greatly increase the square footage of the room. The number of people living in the home will also increase your energy needs. The more people, the higher the BTU rating you’ll need for your air conditioner. 

Types Of Air Conditioners 

When choosing the best air conditioner for your home, you’ll need to consider more than just the power of the appliance. What’s your space like? Do you have a lot of room inside and outside, or is it important to conserve space? Can you make modifications as you see fit, or are you a renter who can’t adjust the building at all? Does the home have an existing system of ducts, or will they need to be installed? Or are you planning to opt for a ductless air conditioner? 

Central Air Conditioner 

Most houses today are cooled using a central AC unit. This makes use of a large compressor located outside the home. The central AC unit cools air and then pumps it through a large system of ducts into every room in the house. If you don’t already have the ductwork in place for a central air conditioner, it can be extremely expensive and invasive to have it installed. There are other options. 

Mini-Split Air Conditioner 

Ductless systems do exist; the most common of these is the mini-split air conditioner. These systems work by way of an outdoor compressor/condenser that is connected to one or more indoor evaporators. These evaporators can be placed in multiple rooms and are minimally invasive compared to central AC units and ductwork. The evaporators are connected to the outdoor condenser by a small tube that contains power and communication cables, as well as a drain line for condensation. 

Ductless systems can be one of the best choices for a home, although it depends somewhat on the size of the home itself. For smaller homes, mini-split air conditioners can keep the cost down due to their significantly improved energy efficiency. They may not, however, be feasible for larger homes because they will require more evaporators, which can drive the energy costs up. 

Window Air Conditioner 

Window air conditioners are another option and are great for apartment living or small houses. These are excellent if you aren’t able to modify the house at all because you’re renting or for any other reason. Essentially, a window unit is a miniaturized version of a central AC unit and is mounted outside of a window. It circulates cooled air through the window and does not require vents. Window units, however, are usually only effective in smaller spaces such as apartments. Their BTU rating will usually be too low to cool a larger area. 

Installing Your Air Conditioner 

Once you’ve given some thought to what’s the best home air conditioner for you, you want to contact a trusted HVAC professional who can perform the installation. In the Vancouver area of Washington State, your best option is Entek HVAC. In addition to performing the installation for you, Entek offers a maintenance plan to ensure your new air conditioner stays in excellent condition for years to come.

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