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How BTUs and EERs Work

Most air conditioners have their capacity rated in BTUs, or British Thermal Units. A BTU is, generally, the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree F. Specifically, a BTU is 1,055 joules, but the first definition is easier to understand in real-life terms. One "ton", in heating and cooling terms, is 12,000 BTUs. A typical window air conditioner that you find at K-mart might be rated at 10,000 BTUs. What that means is that the air conditioner has the ability to cool 10,000 pounds of water (about 1,200 gallons) one degree in one hour. Or it could cool 5,000 pounds 2 degrees in one hour. Or 2,500 pounds 4 degrees in one hour, and so on.

Not many of us live in aquariums, so knowing how much water an air conditioner can cool is not much use. To get a very rough idea of how much air can be cooled, take the fact that a cubic foot of water weighs about 63 pounds. Water is about 6,300 times denser than air. So 100 cubic feet of air weighs about a pound. A typical bedroom contains about 1,000 cubic feet of air, or 10 pounds of air. That means (ignoring differences in heat capacity) that a 10,000 BTU air conditioner can lower the temperature of a bedroom, if it is perfectly insulated, by 10 degrees in just a couple of minutes. It is not the case that the room is perfectly insulated (in fact many rooms have little or no insulation) but what that tells you is that you probably do not need a 10,000 BTU air conditioner for a typical 10' x 12' bedroom. For comparison, you can happily cool an insulated 2,000 square foot house with a 5 ton (60,000 BTU) or so system, implying that you might need perhaps 30 BTU per square foot. Keep in mind that these are all rough estimates and you should not rely on any of this information to size your home's air conditioner - ask a HVAC contractor.

The EER (Energy Efficiency Rating) of an air conditioner is its BTU rating over its wattage. For example, if a 10,000 BTU air conditioner consumes 1,200 watts, its EER is 10,000/1,200 = 8.3. Obviously you would like the EER to be as high as possible, but normally a higher EER is accompanied by a higher price. How do you decide if the higher EER is worth it?

Let's say that you have a choice between two 10,000 BTU units. One has an EER of 8.3 and consumes 1,200 watts and the other has an EER of 10 and consumes 1,000 watts. Let's also say the price difference is $100. To understand what the payback period is on the more expensive unit you need to know:

  1. Approximately how many hours per year you will be operating the unit
  2. How much a kilowatt-hour (KWH) costs in your neighborhood

Let's say that you plan to use the air conditioner in the summer (4 months a year) and it will be operating about 6 hours a day. Let's also imagine that a kilowatt-hour costs 10 cents in your neighborhood. The difference in energy consumption between the two units is 200 watts, which means that every 5 hours the less expensive unit will consume one more KWH (and therefore one more dime) than the more expensive unit. Assuming there are 30 days in a month, you find that during the summer you are operating the air conditioner 4 months * 30 days/month * 6 hours per day = 720 hours. 720 hours * 200 watts/hour / 1000 watts/KW * 0.10 cents/KW = $14.40. Since the more expensive unit costs $100 more, that means that it will take about 7 years for the more expensive unit to break even.

     
 

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AMERICAN STANDARD DEALER

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TESTIMONIALS

“It gives me great pleasure to write this letter of recommendation for AC and Heat" more
- Zig and Jean Ziglar

“They are punctual and clean up after themselves and are just nice people to do business with.” more
- Tom and Barbara - Hudnall Bedford, Texas

“Rob and Sean (technician) are always welcome in our home and we trust them completely.” more
- Tom & Cindy LaDuke - Grand Prairie, TX

“In the hot summer of 1998, our old air conditioning unit was not cooling our house and our electric bills had tripled in price. So, we called  AC & Heat Solutions.”

CERTIFICATIONS

Our technicians are NCI certified to perform Air Conditioning unit repair by Grapevine TX.
Have a company that's Builders Performance Incorporated perform your AC maintenance near Colleyville, TX.Our technicians are NATE certified to perform Cooling repair by Southlake TX.
 
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With regularly scheduled maintenance check-ups we also offer you peace of mind, ensuring your equipment operates safely and continues to keep your home the place to be all year round. AC & Heat Solutions employs only the best technicians for air conditioner repair and, furnace repair, heat pump repair, ductless mini-split repair, commercial appliance repair as well as all air conditioner replacement, furnace replacement, heat pump replacement and commercial refrigeration replacement in Wylie TX, Garland TX, Krum TX, Richardson TX, Allen TX, The Colony TX, Corinth TX, Sachse TX, Plano TX, Grapevine TX, Fort Worth TX, Dallas TX,  Decatur TX, Frisco TX, Mesquite TX, Denton TX, Azle TX, Arlington TX, Justin TX, McKinney TX, Carrollton TX, Keller TX, DeSoto TX, and Irving TX. A good heating and air conditioning repair or service company near you. Should something happen and your system stop working, AC & Heat Solutions is just a phone call away and can normally service your equipment within 24-72 hours of your call.

 

AC & Heat Solutions
2000 E Continental Blvd Ste. B
Southlake, Texas 76092

Phone: 817-421-4190
Email: service@acandheatsolutions.com
AC & Heat Solutions is an accredited BBB Business in Southlake TX.
Texas License Number: TACLB023486E
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Have us service your Lennox Air Conditioner in Keller TX.We install and repair Carrier Air Conditioning units in Colleyville, TX.We will repair your Amana Air Conditioner in Southlake TX.Have AC & Heat Solutions maintenance your Goodman Air Conditioning unit in Grapevine TX.We will service your Westinghouse Air Conditioner in Keller TX.AC & Heat Solutions services RUUD Air Conditioner units in Southlake TX.Have us repair your York Air Conditioning unit in Southlake TX.We maintain Bryant AC units in Southlake, TX.Have your Trace Air Conditioner in Grapevine TX with AC & Heat Solutions.Have us service or repair your Rheem Air Conditioner in Keller TX.Have us repair your American Standard Air Conditioning unit in Colleyville, TX.