As a home builder, choosing the right air conditioner can make or break the success of your project. If you make the right choice, you can ensure an optimal climate for the home without busting the homeowner’s wallet. With the wrong air conditioner, the new house might remain uncomfortably warm, even when the AC system is running at full capacity, and and it can significantly increase the homeowner’s energy bills.
Some of the aspects of air conditioning systems that home builders have to consider include heating capacity, cooling capacity, cooling efficiency, heating efficiency, air flow orientation, price, and brand. Read on to learn more about choosing a system with the right heating capacity for your project.
Understanding Heating Capacity Measurements
For HVAC equipment, heating capacity is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). Formally, one BTU is defined as the amount of energy that is required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. In the context of an air conditioner, the heating capacity is the amount of energy that it takes to remove a certain amount of heat from the surrounding air. For air conditioners than are intended for entire homes and buildings (rather than single rooms), you will typically see BTUs ranging from about 40,000 to over 115,000.
Factors Affecting Air Conditioner Heating Capacity Needs
At the most basic level, the number of BTUs you need the air conditioner to have depends on the size of the home you are building. Put simply, a larger home needs an air conditioner with a higher heating capacity. However, there are also other factors that can affect the needs of the home. These include:
- Window type, size, and location. Windows affect the amount of sun the home gets in the summer, which in turn impacts the amount of heat that must be removed from the air by the AC system.
- Insulation type and quality. If the home has excellent insulation, you may be able to get away with an air conditioner with a lower heating capacity.
- Height of the ceilings. The height of the ceilings affects the overall amount of heat that must be removed from each individual room, and it also impacts how much heat is retained within each room.
- Location of the home. If the home is located in a cool climate, the necessary heating capacity for the AC system is lower than it would be for a house of the same size in a warmer climate.