What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need For My Room?

An age-old home improvement concern that’s shared by many Australians is knowing whether or not they’re purchased an ideal air conditioning system for their interior space. Selecting the perfect size AC for any given room in your home naturally requires you to consider a few key internal and external environmental factors.

Our residential heating and cooling specialists here at Jacob Refrigeration have taken it upon themselves to break down just what these factors are, and how you can use them to ensure your new air conditioning system is perfectly sized and suited to fit your heating and cooling needs.

Read on to unearth all that you should keep in mind when securing the perfect air conditioning system for your living room or bedroom set-up.

Internal environmental factors to consider

  • The size of your room

The most common factor that consumers are likely to consider when selecting a heating and cooling solution for any interior space is quite rightly, the size of that particular room. The larger your room, the larger the energy output (or kilowattage) of your air conditioner.

As a general rule, an extra 1om2 of space should equate to an extra kilowatt per hour from your ideal AC unit. This means that smaller rooms with a total area of 10-20m2 can be adequately cooled with a 2.5-3kW AC unit, whilst larger spaces with a total area of 45-65m2 should opt for high output 7-8kW units.

  • Window coverings and flooring

Of course, if your room has plenty of passive insulation in the form of thick curtains and comfy carpeting, this may also play a role in determining the ideal air conditioner to suit that particular interior space. Thicker window coverings can trap hot or cool air highly effectively, meaning that you won’t need to run your air conditioner as frequently in order to maintain a consistent interior air temperature. If you’ve noticed that your tiled room can keep itself fairly cool in summer with its windows drawn, then chances are you may be able to get away with installing a smaller air conditioner than what may be recommended for the size of your space.

It’s worth noting, however, that doing so may still be at the risk of that smaller air conditioner being used too frequently, ultimately decreasing its service life. Whilst you may be decreasing the budget for your initial air conditioner purchase, you may end up spending more with regards to air conditioning repairs in the long term. If you have suspicions that any of your current air conditioning systems are indeed too small for the spaces that they occupy, scheduling regular air conditioner maintenance will help to mitigate the adverse effects that may accompany this highly common issue.

  • Efficiency of existing building insulation

Alongside assessing the insulatory qualities of your windows and flooring, you should also take some time to consider your property’s existing wall or ceiling insulation. Although your home’s foam, fabric, or fibreglass insulation may go unseen for years at a time, it can play a monumental role in your home’s overall temperature regulation, and may mean the difference between investing in a 4kW or 2.6kW air conditioning system.

Simply put, a property that’s able to retain its internal temperature more readily won’t require its heating and cooling to run as frequently as homes without building insulation. As a result, you likely won’t have to invest in a larger air conditioning unit with a higher power output, because it just won’t be necessary to ensure that your space stays at a comfortable temperature.

  • Occupants and allergens

Finally, the last internal environmental factor that you’ll need to consider is the members of your household themselves. How many people will be occupying that interior space at any given time? And will there be pets in the house too? Materials like pet hair may require your air conditioner’s filter to be cleared out more regularly, so a larger air conditioning unit could be beneficial for a home with a living space that accompanies many regular occupants, including furry friends.

External environmental factors to consider

  • Local climate and weather patterns

Being based in Melbourne ourselves, our HVAC specialists know all too well just how essential it can be for local homes and businesses to be just as prepared for nippier weather as they are for our sweltering summer months. The needs of buildings in and around Melbourne can also be drastically different to properties in high-altitude areas across Victoria, which may require more heating infrastructure over cooling systems.

If you do require a good combination of both, though, then you’ll know that your ideal air conditioner will likely be a reverse cycle heating and cooling system. Understanding your local climate’s characteristics will naturally help you select the right reverse cycle system for your home and family.

  • Property type

Of course, one factor that will play a major role in determining what heating and cooling systems are compatible with your building is naturally the type of property that you’re occupying. For instance, standalone homes can have a plethora of options at their disposal because they have no shared walls with neighbouring properties, meaning split system installation projects won’t infringe on their neighbour’s space.

For townhouses and apartment owners, your options may be limited to your building’s existing infrastructure. This isn’t to say that you can’t take control of your own household’s heating and cooling needs, however! Inner city townhouse and apartment dwellers can still opt to have their property’s existing ducted heating and cooling systems cleaned out, repaired, or even updated entirely if that’s what they’d prefer. If you’re uncertain about what changes you can make to your property, a quick consult with your body corporate may provide you with more information.

  • Solar orientation

Just as your building’s insulatory capabilities like your window coverings can determine what kind of system you end up installing, so too will the placement of those windows themselves! Solar orientation dictates exactly how much early morning and afternoon sun your home receives with every passing day.

Generally speaking, east and west-facing windows will receive direct sunlight at similar times on most days, and south-facing windows are the least likely to receive sun in the southern hemisphere. Windows that are north-facing are naturally going to invite more heat than south-facing windows, so any rooms with north-facing windows will definitely be in need of thermal curtains and potentially even a slightly larger air conditioning system to maintain a consistently comfortable temperature during Melbourne’s hotter summer months.

  • Proximity to neighbouring properties

Finally, you’ll want to ensure that the air conditioning system that you select won’t be a nuisance for your neighbours, both with regards to its visual design and any noise that it may make when it’s powered on. Large split system air conditioning units have the potential to ruin your neighbours’ street view if their external unit is poorly placed.

In a similar fashion, air conditioners can also be a source of noise pollution in densely populated areas. Larger systems have a knack for producing a lot more sound than lower energy air systems, so try to avoid purchasing an unnecessarily higher output air conditioner if you can.

Organising your air conditioning

If you’ve been able to keep all these factors in mind and have found the ideal air conditioning system to suit the needs of both yourself and your wider household, then give our air conditioner installation team at Jacob Refrigeration a call today! We’d be happy to assist any and all Melbourne homes and businesses in all things heating and cooling.

See also: What is reverse cycle air conditioning? All you need to know

Author: Jan Yakoob

Jan is the managing director of Jacob Refrigeration, a leading company with more than 35 years of experience in air conditioning and refrigeration installation. We continually exceed client expectations through quality, reliability and efficiency.