Though winter temperatures will continue to fluctuate, it is not too early to begin planning for the long, hot summer cooling season ahead. Are you considering purchasing a new, more efficient air conditioner before temperatures hit the 90’s and above? Do you need help deciding which air conditioner might be right for your home? Please read on to learn more.
By The Numbers
As with choosing the right heating system, your first step needs to be figuring out the total amount of square footage in your home that you will need to cool. Logically, the majority of Texas is located in the hottest of the US climate zones (Zone 1). The capacity of AC units is measured in a range from 1-5 tons, for most residential settings. Each ton is able to cool approximately 12,000 BTU per hour. For example, if you need to cool 2000 square feet, you will need a minimum of 20 BTU/hr per square foot. This would be equal to 40,000 BTU per hour (2000 x 20 = 40,000). To figure the tonnage of the correct cooling unit for your home, given this example you would take 40,000/12,000= approximately 3.33, likely making a 3.5 ton unit the most appropriate for the space. The efficiency of air conditioning units are measured with the SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). This can be determined by figuring the cooling provided over a period of time in BTU divided by the amount of electricity used during that same period of time. Units with higher SEER ratings are more efficient. Other factors to consider include how well your home is insulated and if there are an ample number of shade trees on your property.
Cooling Things Down: Choosing the Right New Air Conditioner
You can find information about new air conditioning units at a number of trusted manufacturer websites, or by contacting your local HVAC professional. If you choose to compare a new unit to the unit currently existing outside your home, you can study the outdoor unit for a code linked to tonnage in the model number. These numbers increase by a factor of six for each half ton. For example, the number 18 denotes a 1.5 ton unit (18,000/12,000= 1.5), while the number 60 would denote a 5 ton unit (60,000/12,000=5). To return to our previous example, a 3.5 ton unit would contain the number 42 within its model number, because (42,000/12,000 BTU per hour) = 3.5. When considering the costs compared to repairing an older model, versus purchasing a newer, more efficient unit, it is important to consider such factors as capacity, efficiency, and household budget. If you purchase a cooling unit that is too large for the space you need to cool, the unit may cycle too often, increasing the wear and tear on the unit, thus decreasing the overall lifespan of the air conditioner.
To learn more information about new HVAC systems available on the market, or to schedule your seasonal performance check, please contact the professionals of Expert Air and Refrigeration at (512) 255-6525.