Deciding to purchase a new air conditioner is never a fun task, but once the decision to buy a new unit is made the process only gets trickier. Finding the right size of air conditioning for your space is important and one of the easiest ways to ensure efficient cooling and energy savings.
According to ENERGY STAR many people purchase air conditioners that are not the correct size for their needs, which leads to improper cooling and climate control.
Many people buy an air conditioner that is too large, thinking it will provide better cooling. However, an oversized air conditioner is actually less effective — and wastes energy at the same time. Air conditioners remove both heat and humidity from the air. If the unit is too large, it will cool the room quickly, but only remove some of the humidity. This leaves the room with a damp, clammy feeling. A properly sized unit will remove humidity effectively as it cools.
ENERGY STAR offers a simple three-step process to ensure you are selecting the right size air conditioner for your room needs.
First, determine the square footage of the area to be cooled, using the following formulas. For square or rectangular rooms, multiple the length of the area by its width. For a triangular area, multiple the length of the area by the width and divide by 2.
Next, determine the correct cooling capacity, which is measured in British thermal units (BTUs). Use the calculated square footage and ENERGY STAR’s chart to determine the cooling capacity.
Finally, make adjustments to the BTUs based on the following criteria.
- If the room is heavily shaded, reduce capacity by 10 percent.
- If the room is very sunny, increase capacity by 10 percent.
- If more than two people regularly occupy the room, add 600 BTUs for each additional person.
- If the unit is used in a kitchen, increase capacity by 4,000 BTUs.
Following these guidelines will help you select the most efficient air conditioning unit for your needs. Additional information is available at ENGERY STAR’s website, http://www.energystar.gov/.
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