Picking the Right Sized Air Conditioner for Your Chico Home or Condo
With a ton of central air conditioners on the market, it’s important to pick the right size for your home. Read on to find out both how to tell if an air conditioner is big enough to cool your home and also how to keep it running at its best from the experts for air conditioning repair and installation in Chico, CA.
Sizing isn’t Just Looks
Sizing isn’t about the inches of space an ac unit takes up, but rather it’s power output. Air conditioning unit’s power is measured in BTU or British Thermal Units. One BTU represents the amount of energy used to raise one pound of water one degree warmer.
A larger AC isn’t always the best choice, as it will cost more money upfront and also use more energy over time. It will also cycle on and off repeatedly, making it less effective at dehumidifying the air indoors.
On the other hand, getting an undersized unit means it will have to run too often to keep up with the cooling needs of your home. The best plan is to pick the right AC size for your home and our climate and slightly under sizing is better. Use a BTU calculator like this one to get a starting idea before shopping.
Other factors to incorporate into sizing are:
- Ductwork – make sure leaks are repaired
- Insulation – insulated walls and attic or basement space will mean you can get by on less BTUs
- Family Comfort and Lifestyle Needs – knowing if AC will be running all day long for someone working from home or retired, and being realistic about how cool family members like the home in cool months could mean more or less overall need for BTUs.
- Sun and shade facing rooms – a sun facing room needs about 10% more energy to cool while a shady room will need less.
Use these factors, along with a simple calculation to start, but always ask a qualified air-conditioning contractor for expertise when choosing and designing an AC system.
Getting the Most Cooling from an Air Conditioner
Since an AC unit will work hardest during our hottest Chico months, make sure you do what you can to reduce your energy use to keep utility bills down and help maintain your AC system investment. Here are a few easy tips.
- Change filters at least twice a year. If you’re running your AC constantly during a hot month, check it for dirt. Monthly changes are recommended during heavy use times. When filters are clogged, your system has to work harder to pull air inside, causing you higher utility bills and also adding wear and tear.
- Use ceiling fans to circulate the cool air from your AC system around the home. With this step, you may even be able to raise the temperature setting on your thermostat a few degrees while remaining comfortable because the air movement will make your home feel cooler.
- Improve your insulation. Consider attic insulation or newer spray-in wall insulation to keep the cool air in your home.
- Avoid humidity-increasing activities in the middle of the day when your AC will have to work hardest to remove it from the air. These tasks include showering, cooking, and doing laundry.
These sizing and energy savings tips are a great start to picking an AC unit.