Understanding Proper AC Sizing in East Tennessee
When homeowners and business owners in East Tennessee set out to find the ideal air conditioning system for their properties, they need to understand a few critical facts before making their purchase. While these may seem daunting at first, this article should simplify the concepts and help you make an informed decision.
Let’s dig into what you need to know about sizing for air conditioning systems in East Tennessee!
Written by Jeremy James
Jeremy James is a veteran of the U.S. Navy who has grown his family's HVAC business into one of the most successful home service businesses in Knoxville, TN. More than 20 years of experience in the HVAC and Engineering industries and passion for what we do has translated into our customer service, professionalism, and quality. LinkedIn
What AC Unit Size Do I Need?
Choosing the right size AC unit is a bit more complicated than deciding on a brand and warranty. Any time you want to install a new HVAC system that’s adequate for your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning needs, you’ll have to understand a few critical ideas, including:
· Your initial load calculation
· The BTU (British Thermal Unit) of the system
· Your previous energy costs
· Total square footage
· Manual J Method
Why Size Matters
When you get the right sized AC unit for your home, it’ll work at optimal efficiency year round. It’s cooling power depends entirely on its size, as well as whether your home is well or poorly insulated.
HVAC systems also heat your home, so you want to be sure it can put out the necessary heat required to keep you warm during the winter months. Otherwise, you may be in for some chilly days wrapped up in blankets.
Undersized AC Unit
If the outdoor unit for your air conditioner is too small for the square footage of your home, it’ll have to run constantly and barely put out enough cool air to keep you cool. You could also experience uneven cooling in each room of your home.
Oversized AC Unit
If your air conditioning unit is too large for the square footage of your home, it’ll be forced to turn on and off more often. It’ll turn on, lower the temperature to your preferred setting, then shut down. By doing this multiple times a day, you’ll get more wear and tear on your AC and increase operating costs.
The East Tennessee Air Conditioning Sizing Guide
The East Tennessee Air Conditioning Sizing Guide provides homeowners with the necessary information to make an informed decision when it comes to buying and installing a new central air conditioner. This guide provides information on the size, efficiency, and cost of an air conditioner, as well as some tips on how to keep your home cool during the summer.
Remember when we mentioned BTU earlier? Your best bet for determining the necessary size for the entire unit is to multiply the square footage of the area that needs to be cooled by 25 BTU.
That means if your home is 2000 square foot, you’ll need 50,000 BTU to adequately cool the whole area.
Types of AC Systems
Other important factors to consider include ceiling height and the type of cooling system your home can use. For instance, if your space has higher ceilings, you’ll need to take that extra space into account when choosing your cooling system.
Additionally, you need to know if your space will need a ductless air conditioner, split-system air conditioner, or packaged air conditioner.
· A ductless air conditioner consists of an outdoor AC that connects to one or more indoor units. These are ideal for homes and businesses that require different climates in each space.
· A split-system air conditioner has an outdoor AC and an indoor unit that control the temperature and humidity level of your whole home.
· A packaged air conditioning system consists of only a single outdoor unit. This unit contains all the necessary mechanical parts and utilizes the existing ductwork of your home to heat and cool each space inside.
Determining the Right Type of System for Your Home
When you choose between the different types of air conditioners, you want to ensure it has the proper cooling capacity to get the job done. Depending on your home or business’s square footage and other issues, the air conditioner size might actually be the second most important factor in your purchase.
You’ll need to take these factors into consideration when choosing the right AC:
· Quality of existing ductwork
· Age/amount of insulation
· How much direct sunlight your structure received
· Number of people living/working inside each day
· Types of appliances inside
· Average temperatures in East Tennessee
· Number of windows, doors, and their quality
· Materials your structure is made from
· Features that modify temperatures (fireplace, etc.)
How HVAC Contractors Can Help You Determine the Right Air Conditioner Size
Finding the right air conditioners for the right structures is what HVAC technicians specialize in. While home and business owners are usually pretty accurate when it comes to choosing their specific heating and cooling systems, HVAC experts understand some of the more specific scientific issues that go into the selection process.
For instance, ensuring energy efficiency is incredibly important for most people in East Tennessee. You want to use as little energy as possible while ensuring the energy needed goes to keeping you perfectly comfortable. This is usually ensured by performing a manual load calculation of your structure before you actually purchase and install a new system.
How Does a Manual Load Calculation Work?
A manual load calculation is the process of calculating the load on a given duct by taking into account its size and the heat transfer coefficients.
In the first step of this process, HVAC technicians must determine the duct’s size. Then, they calculate the heat transfer coefficients for each end of the duct by referring to various tables and equations. Once they have these coefficients, they can then calculate the total heat transfer coefficient for that duct.
Next, technicians need to find out what type of heating and cooling system the homeowner needs based on the square foot measurement of each room and use different equations for each system. Finally, by inputting the values into the equation that match the specific air conditioning unit used, they can solve for heat flow and determine the load on each duct.
How to Solve a Heat Transfer Problem in HVAC Design with Manual J Method
A heat transfer problem in HVAC design is a common engineering problem that requires the calculation of heat transfer rates. The solution to this type of problem can be found using the Manual J Method.
The Manual J Method is used to calculate the rate of heat transfer between two surfaces based on the following assumptions:
· The surface area and shape of both surfaces are known and are not changing during the process.
· No convection or radiation occurs on either surface.
· The process takes place under steady state conditions, which means there is no change in mass flow rates or temperature change over time.
· All energy transferred as sensible heat goes into heating one side of each surface and none into cooling it.
· Heat flows.
Conclusion: The Importance of Having the Correct Load Calculations for Your HVAC System
As you can see, determining the size of your central air conditioning unit is a fairly technical process. You’ll need to have a load calculation performed and take into account the square footage of the structure, the number of people who occupy it at any given time, the type of structure, typical outdoor temperatures and humidity levels, ventilation requirements, and much more.
That’s why it’s critical you find a highly qualified HVAC contractor with an in-depth understanding of both heating and cooling processes. If you want to be sure your heating and cooling needs are cared for appropriately, reach out to the experts at Blue Water Climate Control.
We’ve spent decades in the HVAC industry of East Tennessee ensuring home and business owners have the right AC system to keep their indoor environments as comfortable as possible. For more information on getting the right size AC unit for your property, contact Blue Water Climate Control today!