Air Conditioning Buying Guide

Picking the right air conditioner

This shopping guide will give you the confidence you need to choose an AC unit for your space.

Choosing Your AC Unit

When it comes to window units, most AC experts recommend 20 BTUs (British Thermal Unit) for each square foot of living space. Other factors, like the ceiling height of your space and the size of your doorways and windows, may require additional cooling power.

Measure your space by multiplying the length by the width. Add in the sizes of rooms not separated by doors or windows as well, since the AC unit will also be cooling these spaces.

air conditioning

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 BTU for each additional person

If the unit is used in a kitchen, increase capacity by 4,000 BTU

What is a BTU?

BTU is short for British Thermal Unit, a unit of measurement that measures the amount of energy your air conditioner uses to remove heat from your home within one hour. For example, a 12,000 BTU Window Unit will remove more heat from a space within one hour than an 8,000 BTU Unit. An air conditioner with BTUs that exceed the recommended square footage in your home might experience more wear over time because it will be initiating its on/off cycle more frequently, as it requires less operating time to reach it’s set temperature.

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