How many BTUs does my air conditioner need?

When buying an air conditioner unit for your home, size matters. A too small unit will fail to fill the space and leave you sticky and uncomfortable in the summer heat. However, a unit that’s too powerful causes that cold and clammy feeling since it doesn’t regulate the humidity well enough.

In terms of size, an air conditioning unit is measured in BTUs. Learn more about what BTU is, how much BTU you need for your AC, and where to find the best heating and air conditioning in Denver.

What is BTU?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. It is a system of measurement that calculates the amount of heat able to increase a pound of water’s temperature by exactly one degree Fahrenheit. This amount of energy is about the same as lighting a match, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The amount of BTU is then compared to the square footage in each room or for the entire home to determine the size of the unit. This helps determine the optimal amount of power and output for the space.

How much BTU per room

For window air conditioning units, the cooling capacity has a range of between 5,000 and 12,000 BTUs. Each room requires at least 20 BTUs per square foot. However, factors like ceiling height, window size, and the amount of entryways have an impact on power output.

You can find the square foot of a room by multiplying the width by the length and adding in any spaces that aren’t separated by walls or doors. There are a few other circumstances that you should make adjustments for when trying to find the BTU per room.

  • Reduce the BTU capacity by 10% if the room or home is heavily shaded.
  • Increase the BTU capacity by 10% if the room or home has more sun exposure.
  • Increase the BTU capacity by 600 per person if it is regularly occupied by more than one person.
  • Increase the BTU capacity by 4,000 if the unit is located in a kitchen.

Best AC per room

Based on your room’s square footage, consider the following:

For smaller rooms

Smaller rooms, including home offices, guest bedrooms, or nurseries, typically range between 100 and 300 square feet. You’ll need an air conditioner unit with a capacity of up to 6,500 BTUs for this space. Look for a unit with top ratings in noise quality and comfort levels.

For medium-sized rooms

This includes your typically-sized bedroom, a cozier living room, or an apartment unit sized between 250 and 400 square feet. Look for an air conditioner unit with a capacity of up to 8,500 BTUs that still provides decent noise levels.

For larger rooms

Large living rooms, dens, or kitchens require air conditioners with a lot more power. Choose AC units with a capacity of up to 12,500 BTUs. These larger units can fill an entire space easily and work well for open floor plans.

For more information on how to find the right amount of BTUs for your air conditioning unit, contact Go Green Heating and Air Conditioning.