What is Residential Air Conditioning?
Residential air conditioning is the temperature control of a residential space that focuses on cooling.
The type of AC units that can appear include central air conditioning, which cools the whole home, or portable and window units which are removable and are intended to cool a single room.
It is common for portable units to be placed sporadically throughout the house in the rooms that are most often occupied and augmented with fans to take advantage of the wind chill effect.
What Type of System is Most Commonly Used for Residential Air Cooling?
The type of system that is most commonly used for residential cooling depends on the region.
Cooler regions further north typically only have window or portable units, but have a heavier focus on heating throughout the home.
Hotter regions further south typically have a heavier focus on cooling, and it is more common to see ductwork and a central AC unit to keep residents comfortable throughout the year.
How Much is a Whole House AC Unit?
An AC unit for the whole house, also known as central air conditioning, is one of the more involved air conditioning systems that you can install. This unit also requires extensive ductwork to provide cooling to each room in the house.
Outside of the interior unit, a central AC also needs a permanently-fixed, separate outdoor unit to function.
Depending on the size unit that you choose and the features you need, central air conditioning can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $8,000. This does not include any ductwork or installation costs if your home needs extensive re-working to accommodate the unit.
If you are considering a whole house AC unit, it’s best to consult your local HVAC professional to receive a quote and discuss your options based on your home’s layout and features.
What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?
The size of the air conditioning unit is typically rated in BTU, which stands for British Thermal Units, should be measured by the number of square feet it needs to cool.
The general rule of thumb is that an air conditioning unit requires 20 BTU to cool a square foot of living space. This includes vertical space as well, so be sure to adjust if you have higher ceilings.
Finding the right size air conditioner is important, not just for the energy efficiency, but for the comfort of everyone occupying the space.
If the unit is too small, it will not be able to keep up with the ambient heat in the room – generated by appliances or body heat – and will work overtime with little effect on the overall temperature.
If the unit is too large, it will cool the space down too quickly without removing enough humidity from the air, making the space feel cold and clammy.
Factors to Consider in Selecting Proper Air Conditioner Size
While you can follow the size guidelines to a tee, it doesn’t account for the additional factors that you may need to consider when selecting the appropriate air conditioner for your room.
Room insulation is a big factor, affecting how well the cooling effect from the unit is kept within the room. Wall insulation can play a big role in this, but the number of objects in the room, the type of flooring, gaps between doors and window coverings also affect the energy efficiency of an AC unit.
The number of people and pets within the space will also affect the AC size that you need. Because people generate body heat naturally, the more occupants that are in the room, the more the unit will have to work. Getting a larger AC to accommodate multiple people can help offset this body heat.
Likewise, the designated activity for the room can help. While you might not be moving much inside a home office, you can expect to move a lot during rigorous activity. Gym rooms, therefore, need a lot more cooling power than your living room or office might.
Last, but not least, the ceiling height can affect the recommendations for how strong your AC needs to be. If you have above-average ceilings, the AC must work harder to accommodate this empty space. In this case, a larger AC may be more efficient in effectively cooling the space without the resulting dryness in the air that you might expect from a larger unit.
Benefits of a Portable Air Conditioner
A portable air conditioner is a lot like a window unit in that it can be moved and requires a connection to the window. Except, this unit is typically on wheels and sits below the window, on the floor, so that the air conditioner can be positioned and pointed in different ways.
The vent host is attached to the window so that it can pump the hot air outside, and is secured in place with a range of panels and foam to insulate the surface.
The primary benefit of a portable air conditioner is its portability and ease of use. Many come with a remote control so that you can adjust the thermostat or vent position from across the room, as well.
A portable AC unit allows you to move it from room-to-room if necessary, or roll it in and out at a more frequent rate. While window units are sometimes left in all-year, they are also designed to be removed for colder seasons if desired.
Does Your AC Unit Need Inspection?
You might be asking, “inspections? For an air conditioner?” (1)
Yes, your air conditioner does need regular inspections, just like your vehicle, to ensure that it’s running at optimal performance. Without it, your unit may not receive the servicing it needs and break down unexpectedly midsummer when it is working the hardest.
Consider scheduling two seasonal HVAC tuneups each year, one in the spring for the air conditioning and one in the fall for the heating.
Keeping your AC unit regularly serviced and maintained is one of the best things that you can do for a residential unit. Not only does this annual maintenance ensure that you unit is running at its best throughout the upcoming season, but it also improves the longevity of your unit overall. Regular maintenance appointments ensures that problems are repaired ahead of time, and that the unit is cleaned thoroughly if needed.
How to Save Energy When Cooling Your Home
Whether you’re trying to make your home more energy efficient for the environment or for your electricity bill, there are many ways to save energy when cooling your home.
First, consider purchasing some fans.
By keeping a fan on you while you’re in the room, you will feel cooler than the temperature on the thermostat. This is because the breeze produced by the fan produces a wind chill effect. It’s important to turn the fans off when you leave a room, however, as the circulating air won’t make the room colder by itself.
The temperature on your thermostat also makes a big difference in your energy savings. Up to 3% of energy savings are saved by every degree above 72. For many people, 78 degrees is a comfortable compromise.
Lastly, upgrading your air conditioner can greatly reduce your energy costs – as long as you upgrade to an energy efficient model.
Not everyone can upgrade their air conditioning units. With some central air units costing thousands of dollars to replace, it might not be feasible until the AC has worn out its lifespan. At the very least, getting your AC unit serviced or maintenance can help identify any potential need for repairs and help it run at top performance.
Learn More About Residential Air Conditioning Services
Air conditioning services provide us with more than just cold relief during summer, but a reliable ventilation system that helps keep allergens out of the air and prevent indoor air from stagnating.
Especially with more and more people beginning to work remotely, the at-home air conditioning system has taken on more work throughout the day, keeping you comfortable even in the middle of the day without a several-ton unit on the roof.
That, however, also means that your home unit will need maintenance to function properly and prevent breakdowns.
Whether you are experiencing a need for repair work or looking to have your unit maintained to prevent it from malfunctioning during the next heatwave, it’s important to find a local professional who can help.
Connect with your local residential air conditioning services with Same Day Pros today and view quotes and contact information at a glance.
- Forbes, 10 HVAC Maintenance and Tune Up Tips Every Homeowner Should Know, https://www.forbes.com/advisor/home-improvement/hvac-maintenance-tips/