BTUs: An Overview
The cooling capacity of an air conditioner is measures in “tons”. One ton of cooling capacity is equivalent to 12,000 British thermal units (BTUs). As a general room of thumb, a 12000 BTU air conditioner will cool roughly 500 square feet.
Bear in mind, however, that this is just a rule of thumb. If you are investing big bucks in a new central air conditioner, we highly recommend that you get your contractor to come to your house and take detailed measurements. In some cases, you will need more or fewer BTUs to cool any specific room.
Important Considerations about BTUs
If you choose a BTU level that is too low, your home will still be hot even when you are running the air conditioner.
While this sounds like it could be a good idea because it will cool your house more quickly, an oversized unit can actually waste a lot of money.
Not only will you spend too much on the cost of the oversized unit in the first place, but you will also waste money each month on your electricity bills.
An oversized air conditioner will turn on and off frequently while cooling your home. This will cause wear and tear on the unit and it will also lead to temperature swings in your home. The other problem with a unit that is too big is that it may not pull all of the humidity out of your home because it keeps shutting on and off.
How to Prevent Oversizing
The best way to avoid buying an oversized unit is to ask your contractor to do detailed measurements.