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How Big of an AC Unit Do You Need?

Jun 28, 2023

The importance of proper AC sizing

Getting the right-sized AC unit for your home or business is vital to having a long-lasting, efficient cooling and heating system. A unit that’s too small won’t have enough power to keep you comfortable, while an oversized unit will lead to more technical issues and cost you more than you need to spend on the upfront cost of the unit.

Under-sized AC unit problems

It’s important to not underestimate your heating and cooling needs when picking out a new HVAC unit. A unit that is too small for your space can lead to many problems that may even be immediately apparent.

Insufficient cooling capacity

Simply put, an air conditioning system that is too small for your space won’t have enough power to keep you comfortable. The units are designed to fit different types of spaces as efficiently as possible, so you can’t make the unit become more powerful than it was designed to be. This constant strain on the system can lead to serious, costly problems.

Increased wear and tear

If you’re consistently pushing your HVAC system to its limits, that is going to cause some wear and tear issues. There are a lot of moving parts in your air conditioner and they lose their effectiveness over time, but none more so than the components of an overworked system. The harder you push the system, the more repairs and maintenance you’ll need in the short and long term.

More frequent maintenance

With an under-sized HVAC unit, you’ll likely be reaching out to an air conditioner repair company much more often than you’d like. If you think your unit may be under-sized, it’s best to have a professional technician come out to evaluate your situation. They can give insights into the unit’s longevity and whether you need to replace it entirely.

Four AC units of varying size outside of a building

Oversized AC unit problems

Too much of a good thing can sometimes be a bad thing as well. If your unit is oversized, it can lead to issues with the system not being powered on enough as well as the upfront cost that is associated with larger units. Larger units cost more money, so you’ll be paying more than you need to.

Overpaying for your needs

Air conditioning systems can be pricey necessities for every home, so you don’t want to spend more than you have to on them. A unit that is too large for your home or business may seem like a good idea, but you’ll be incurring a much larger upfront cost than you need to. Why pay more when you can get the same efficiency at a lower cost?

Short cycling

If your unit is overpowered, you may run into an issue known as short cycling. This is when your air conditioner gets to the desired temperature too quickly, so it shuts off, causing the temperature to drop rather quickly. The system then recognizes this drop, boots back on, and the cycle repeats. This constant change isn’t good for your system or for your comfort as you may experience sudden shifts in temperature, especially during the hot Florida summer months.

Factors affecting proper AC unit sizing

In order to determine the correct size for your AC unit, we recommend speaking with an AC expert. Here are some of the most important factors that go into the decision of your HVAC unit’s size.

Square footage

The most important and obvious of all is the size of the space that you’re wanting to control the climate of. The larger the space, the larger the unit needs to be. The number of floors and rooms should also be taken into consideration, but the overall square footage of your space is the most important factor in determining what size ac unit you should get.

Climate and insulation

Where you live is a key factor in your AC unit decision. The weather, humidity, and overall temperament of your local area can affect your system in different ways. For Orlando, FL homeowners, we know this to be the case with our hot summers and less-hot winters. Taking this into account while working on what ac unit size to get is vital to keeping yourself comfortable.

A map of the United States showing different recommended R-Values depending on climate and area

The insulation of your home or business is also an important aspect of your air conditioning. Insulation keeps the cool air in and the hot air outside. There are recommendations and regulations on insulation in Orlando, so your space should be rated around a R25-R30 which you should disclose to your local air conditioning company.

Sunlight and windows

The more sunlight that your home gets, the hotter it will become, meaning you need a larger, more powerful cooling system. The number of windows also greatly affects this. You may have walked into a room in your home that has many windows and instantly recognized the difference in temperature. A great way to combat this is with blackout shades or blinds to block the windows during hot summer days.

Occupancy and usage

Do you have a large family or a bustling business? The more people utilizing your space throughout the day, the larger your unit should be. Speak with your HVAC company about how much use your home or business gets to learn whether you need to consider a larger unit as a result.

Work with an AC company to pick out your unit

Instead of trying to figure out the right AC unit for your home or business on your own, it is greatly advised to speak with a local HVAC company. An HVAC technician will be able to help you pick the right unit for your home or business, saving you time, money, and hassle in the long term.

Get the right AC unit