A 5,000 BTU Air Conditioner is the smallest you can find, best suited for rooms that are less than 250 square feet. Ideally, the room you place it in should be around 150 to 200 square feet. You’ll therefore most benefit from a 5,000 BTU air conditioner in a room that is 10×10, 12×12, or 14×14 feet in size. Thus, it’s generally suited for a single living room or bedroom.
These small air conditioners are typically window units. In general, the window frame should be 23 to 36 inches with 14.5 inches of height to fit the AC unit. While determining the right BTU rating can be a challenge, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests using 20 BTU per square foot, which equates to 5,000 BTU for a 250 square foot room.
The Importance of Placing the Right Unit
Like with any HVAC component, using an improperly sized unit won’t get the results you hoped for. Even a 5,000 BTU air conditioner will be inefficient if the room is too small. The AC will cool the room to quickly and won’t reduce humidity. It will also cycle on-and-off too frequently. Efficiency issues will also result from installing it in a larger room than it’s designed for. Even if it’s just 5,000 BTUs, the AC may not cool that room and use more energy because it will run longer.
How to Calculate AC Size
Assuming the 20 BTU per square foot rule mentioned earlier, you’ll need to calculate the size of the room in square feet. To do so, measure the length and then the wide of the room, in feet. Multiply the values you get and then multiply the result by 20.
Room Length x Room Width = Room Size
Room Size x 20 = Room in Square Feet
But the right BTU size isn’t only determined by area. The type of room matters too. A kitchen is an example of a room that would require greater AC power for its size, because it’s usually hotter and more humid than other rooms. Here’s a look at some other factors to determine where to place your AC:
- Sunlight: Adds warmth to a room, especially when you have larger windows and doorways. For rooms with more sunlight, add 10% to your BTU sizing needs. Or, reduce it by 10% if you have smaller windows and doorways, and thus less sunlight.
- Occupants: The standard AC sizing calculation factors in a room with a maximum of two people. Increase the BTU measurement by 20% for every extra person that regularly uses the room.
- Ceiling Height: Standard calculations factor in an eight-foot ceiling height. But a higher ceiling increases room volume; if, for example, you have a 10-foot ceiling, add 10% to the BTU count for the right amount of air conditioning.
Climate is an additional deciding factor. If your location is typically hot and humid, you’ll need more cooling power, and thus about 10% more BTUs. If any of the factors above apply, you may need to rethink whether a 5,000 BTU system is enough.
Other Considerations for a 5,000 BTU Air Conditioner
When selecting and installing a small air conditioner, here are some other aspects you want to consider:
- Efficiency: The average 5,000 BTU air conditioner has an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 9.5, meaning it requires roughly 520 W to produce 5,000 BTUs. Higher efficiency units have a 10+ EER rating (although the minimum EER is 11.1, so you’ll most likely do better than that).
- Noise: Generally, a smaller AC can be noisier than a larger model. The compressor is built into a small casing, which can bring the noise level to 60 decibels (dB) or more. Quiet window ACs will generate less noise than this but none go below 55 dB.
Call Black Hills Home Services for AC Installation
Our HVAC technicians in the Olympia area can help with choosing a 5,000 BTU air conditioner for any appropriately sized room. We have many high-quality options that are reliable and efficient. Devoted to helping customers make informed decisions, we also offer straight-forward pricing, 24/7 service, and comprehensive maintenance plans. Call 888-530-7677 to learn more.