What Size AC Unit Do I Need for My Home?


Whether it’s time to replace your old AC or you’re upgrading from fans and window units, make sure you’re getting the best air conditioning unit possible. While house size is central to this decision, other factors are also important. Selecting the right system for your home and pairing it with expert AC installation can help you stay cool while also ensuring that your system is as efficient as possible.

AC Size: Why Choosing the Right AC Unit Size Matters

Choosing the right AC size for your home impacts more than just how comfortable the temperature in your home is (though, of course, that’s important as well!) Here are the reasons you want to make sure you’re getting the appropriate AC unit for your house rather than estimating and hoping for the best:

  • Even, steady cooling. An AC that’s sized right for your home will keep your surroundings at a constant temperature without fluctuations or areas that never get as cool as they should.
  • Energy efficiency. An undersized AC unit will run constantly, never entirely making the house comfortable. This will cost you more on your energy bill and put extra wear and tear on the unit, which means you’ll need to repair or replace it more frequently.
  • Better for your AC equipment. A unit that’s too large for your space will “short cycle,” which means that it turns on, quickly cools the room, and then turns off before it can dehumidify the area… which will only result in the unit kicking on again quickly.

Related Content: Right Now Is the Best Time in History to Replace Your AC System

Air Conditioning Sizing Chart

As noted above, the size of your home is a major factor in making sure you get the right size AC unit. The most straightforward way to determine this is to choose a unit based on the square footage of your home as well as the climate in which you live. AC system size is measured in tons, which measures how much heat the unit can remove from the space in one hour.

For the best AC size for a home in Virginia, these are the general guidelines to follow:

  • 600 – 1,000 square feet: 1.5 tons
  • 1,000 – 1,300 square feet: 2 tons
  • 1,300 – 1,600 square feet: 2.5 tons
  • 1,600 – 1,900 square feet: 3 tons
  • 1,900 – 2,200 square feet: 3.5 tons
  • 2,200 – 2,600 square feet: 4 tons
  • 2,600 – 3,200 square feet: 4.5 tons

AC Size: Additional Factors

The size of your home is a significant factor in choosing the right size AC, but there are other things to consider as well, such as:

  • How many hours of direct sunlight your home receives.
  • The number of people who live in your house.
  • How well your home and ductwork are insulated.
  • How much you cook and the amount of heat your kitchen appliances add to your home.
  • What material your home is made of (some absorb more heat than others).
  • How efficient the windows and doors are.

In addition, you’ll need to make sure your electrical system can handle your new air conditioner. What size breaker you need for AC units varies depending on the size of your air conditioner, but in general, it will range from 30 to 60 amps. You can find the exact requirements in the owner’s manual or product description for the AC unit you’re thinking of installing.

Let Us Help You Select the Best AC for Your Home

As you can see, a lot goes into choosing a new air conditioning system. The AC size chart and guidelines above are a great place to start, but expert installation is how you can be sure the job’s done right. M.E. Flow Inc. can help you stay cool during Virginia’s hot, humid summers. Call us at (571) 350-3183 or request service online anytime.

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