Investing in an air conditioning system can require a lot of research regardless of whether your chosen unit is a window air conditioner or a full central air conditioning system. Choosing the most efficient model for your home can cut back on your utility costs while maximizing your cooling experience. The keys to an efficient air conditioner are found in the output and the size of your cooling space.
There are a few different numbers on air conditioner units that hint towards the overall efficiency of the unit. Here are three numbers to look for when buying a new ac unit.
Window Unit: British Thermal Units (BTUs)
A British thermal unit, or BTU, is a thermal energy measurement that appears on window air conditioners in terms of BTUs per hour. Higher BTUs can cool larger rooms but that doesn't mean you should shell out the big bucks to get a unit vastly stronger than what you actually need.
Measure the square footage of the room you want cooled before you look at window units. You want to choose a unit that is labeled as close to that room's square footage as possible. The units should specify the square footage beside the BTUs but there are also some general guidelines. A 100 square foot room requires at least 5,000 BTUs. For every 50 extra square feet, add 1,000 BTUs.
Central Unit: Tons
Tons in an HVAC setting do not refer to the actual physical weight of the unit. The tons instead refer to how much heat the unit is able to thermally pull out of the house within an hour. Does that definition sound similar to the one for BTUs? The two are correlated.
One ton is equal to 12,000 BTUs so you can use the square footage requirements for BTUs as a guide for sizing a central air conditioner. But unless you are a math whiz, you might find it easier to either search for the square footage allotment on the paperwork for the unit or to ask your HVAC installer directly.
Central Unit: SEER Rating
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, or SEER, refers to how much energy the unit has to use to cool your home. Units with high SEER scores are more energy efficient than lower SEER units. Modern units are required to have a SEER of at least 13 while older units could have as low as 6.
Comparing SEER ratings can help you make a final decision to otherwise similar units. SEER might carry particular weight in your purchase decision if the energy costs from an older unit have been hurting your wallet.
For more information, talk to an HVAC contractor like Hallmark Service Company.