How to Buy the Right Size Portable Air Conditioner

Once you’ve decided to buy a portable air conditioner, the next important decision you have to make is what size unit you want to purchase. In our super-sized world, we tend to think that the biggest is always the best – or at least, the biggest you can afford.

But when it comes to air conditioners, that isn’t always the case. An air conditioner that is too powerful can actually do a less efficient job cooling than an air conditioner that is perfectly sized to the room or area in which it is situated.

The reason for this is because an air conditioner actually removes moisture from the air – that’s what makes air conditioning so effective at climate control. Without excess humidity in the air (and clinging to your skin) you feel both dryer and cooler. When you put a powerful air conditioner in a small room, it will lower the temperature quickly – but the system will cycle off before dehumidification is complete. That means that the air in your room will be cold and damp, which is not very comfortable at all.

For different reasons, you also want to avoid getting an air conditioner that is too small for the space you want to cool. A small air conditioner in a large room will struggle to cool the whole room effectively, and end up running continuously which will have a negative effect on your energy bill.

The Right NewAir AC for Your Room

The cooling capacity of air conditioners is rated in BTUs – or British Thermal Units. The higher the rating, the larger the cooling capacity of the air conditioner, and the bigger the room it can cool down. The EPA has provided a complete reference on the site to help you determine how many BTUs you need, based upon the square footage of the area you want to cool, up to 2,500 square feet.

For your quick reference, though, here is the recommended square footage for air conditioning products from NewAir:

200 – 325 square feet 10,000 BTUs AC-10000E, AC-10000H, AC- 10100E, AC-10100H
300 – 425 square feet 12,000 BTUs AC-120000E, AC-12000H, AC-12100E
400 – 525 square feet 14,000 BTUs AC-14000H, AC-14100E, AC-14100H

Just keep in mind that you will need to increase the required BTUs if you have very high ceilings, the room gets a lot of direct sunlight, if more than two people are in the room regularly, or if it’s a kitchen.

Calculating Square Footage

measuring tape

Do you know the square footage of the room you want to cool? If it’s a simple rectangle, it’s pretty simple – just multiply the length of the room by the width of the room for the answer. A 10-foot by 15-foot room is 150 square feet (10 x 15 = 150).

For oddly shaped rooms, measuring can be a little more difficult. Start by making a floor plan of your space on a piece of graph paper. Then draw lines through it to divide the area into easily measurable spaces – squares, rectangles and triangles. Using this as a guide, you can measure and calculate the square footage of the separate sections, and then add them together to get the total square footage.

Don’t worry – your measurements don’t have to be precise. The idea is to have a general estimate of your room size so you can select the right size portable air conditioner for your needs. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact our expert Customer Service staff here at NewAir.

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