Most often we’re asked “what size central air conditioner do I need for my house?” There are many factors in your home that affect the efficiency and size of your central air conditioner, such as the height of your ceilings and the type and thickness of your insulation.
Central air conditioners come in a variety of sizes, and what size they are is measured in “tons.” Now contrary to what you might think, the tonnage of an AC unit is not actually based on its weight. A “ton” is a measure of an air conditioner’s ability to cool. One ton is the ability of your air conditioner to cool 12,000 BTUs (British Thermal Unit) in an hour. Likewise, a “2-ton” central air conditioner is able to cool 24,000 BTUs per hour. A BTU is the amount of energy required to heat or cool one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. So a 1-ton air conditioner can cool 12,000 pounds of water by one degree every hour.
Why does the right sized central air conditioner matter so much?
Too big – if you buy a central air conditioner that is sized too big for your house, then it will run more like that AC unit from the 80’s – it will turn on quickly, cool your house rapidly and then shut off. Your house will still be nice and cool but because it is not going through the entire cycle it was designed for, heat will soon infiltrate your house and it will have to click on again. It will begin cooling your house rapidly and then it will turn off again and again. This constant on-off cycle will defeat the purpose of its energy efficient design and drive up your Hydro bill.
Too small – if your central air conditioner is sized too small, then it will run constantly and spend most of the day trying to catch up to where it should be. Again, your house will still be nice and cool (unless it’s several sizes too small). The problem here is that modern central air conditioners, unlike the older air conditioners, will have a hard time cooling your entire house if they are too small because they are made to work slowly over time and don’t have the power to cool your house rapidly. They will run constantly and again run up your Hydro bill. Which is already too high in Ontario!
Just right – a properly sized central air conditioner will run through the required amount of cycles to keep your house comfortable, but will not run so much that it reduces its efficiency.
Which brand do I go with?
Several of the main brands you hear about are actually all under the same company. Carrier is a brand of United Technologies who also owns; Bryant, Payne, KeepRite, Heil, Totaline & Comfortmaker. In the industry Carrier is promoted as offering a superior product vs. their other brands but also with a higher price point. The other brands offered are solid units but we know the installation is critical and more important than the brand you go with.
Lennox is an American company with headquarters in Richardson, Texas.
Goodman is now owned by Japan’s Daikin Industries with headquarters in Osaka. Goodman tends to be advertised as a ‘budget friendly’ choice.
We have serviced and installed several brands over the years. Many are excellent and some we would avoid. Be careful of the reviews you read on-line, if the initial install was poorly done or the customer did not properly maintain their equipment this could lead to a negative review.
The decision on which brand to go with can be overwhelming but I promise we can simplify this for you.
We install in Orleans, Ottawa, Kanata and Calabogie.
Repair Air Conditioner
Often times it’s not your air conditioner unit that requires repair, it’s usually your furnace. Give us a call and outline the issues you are having we will get a tech on site as soon as we can to get your house cooling down again.
Maintain Air Conditioner
Now that summer is over be sure to cover the top of your air conditioner. As well, turn off the main breaker to your a/c unit.