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Your AC’s Cooling Capacity: How Much Does Your Home Need?

cold-man-and-woman-in-parkasWe’ve written before about how much an air conditioner can lower the temperature in a house. This is known as an AC’s temperature differential: the maximum amount it can lower the temperature inside compared to the temperature outside. 

Today we’re going to look at the cooling capacity of your air conditioner. This may sound like it’s the same as the temperature differential, but it isn’t. Where temperature differential is the same for all ACs, cooling capacity has a large range. Ensuring the AC for your home has the correct cooling capacity is vital for having an effective and energy-efficient cooling system.

Cooling Capacity, a.k.a. an Air Conditioner’s Power/Size

As we just mentioned, the temperature differential is the same for all air residential air conditioning systems. They can lower the indoor temperature by a maximum of 20°F. This is true for a small window air conditioner cooling down a single room and a central air conditioner managing comfort for a large house. But can a window AC cool down a large house? No, and that’s where cooling capacity comes into play. 

You can think of cooling capacity as the power of an air conditioner, or its size. Rather than the measure of how much an AC can lower the temperature in a space, it’s a measure of how much heat it can remove from the space per hour. A small window AC removes approximately 5,000 BTUs of heat per hour, while a small central air conditioner removes 12,000 BTUs/hour. This last amount is also called a cooling “ton,” which is often used as the base measurement for air conditioning cooling capacity. Most residential homes have air conditioners that can remove 1 to 5 tons of heat per hour (12,000–60,000 BTUs). 

Undersized and Oversized ACs

When professionals install an air conditioning system for a house, they must accurately size the new unit so it matches the cooling requirements of the space. A mistake that puts in an undersized or oversized unit will create major problems. An undersized air conditioner cannot remove enough heat from a house per hour to deliver comfort. An oversized air conditioner will remove too much heat, causing the system to waste energy and go through rapid cycling that wears it down. 

The Load Calculation

The important step in sizing an air conditioning system for installation is called a load calculation. This calculation combines the square footage of a home, the quality and quantity of its insulation, the number of heat-generating appliances, the number of windows and their directional facing, and the amount of natural shade. The results of the calculation tell the installers the necessary cooling capacity of the new system in tons. 

If you’re looking for a new air conditioning installation in Athens, GA, please leave the load calculation to our team. You want this part done perfectly, because the only solution to a badly installed AC is to have it replaced. We’ll get the job done right the first time, and you can trust us for all steps in a new installation.

At Snellville Heating, Air and Plumbing, “Your comfort Is OUR Business!” Schedule AC installation and repair with us today.

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