5000 BTU Air Conditioner Room Size [Table Guide for BTU-Room Size]

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When shopping for an AC unit, you should check the specifications, most notably its cooling power, measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). But getting the right sized AC is important for both proper cooling and energy savings.

What room size will a 5000 BTU AC be suitable for?

A 5000 BTU air conditioner is suitable for cooling a room that’s 100-150 sq. ft. If placed in a bigger room, it will result in energy inefficiency because the AC will run longer to cool the room.

If you place your AC in a room that’s too small for its BTU sizing, it’ll result in the AC cooling the room too quickly and shutting down before entirely getting rid of humid air.

The on-and-off cycle will lead to energy inefficiency. Conversely, installing an AC in a room that’s too large for its cooling power will result in energy inefficiency or the AC not cooling the room, as the AC will have to run for longer to meet the rooms cooling needs.

If your room measures between 100 and 150 sq. ft, a good quality AC unit such as the Frigidaire 5,000 BTU 115V Mini-Compact Air Conditioner will cool the room effectively without wasting energy. If you prefer a portable air conditioner instead, a great alternative I’d recommend is the MIDEA MAP08R1CWT 3-in-1 Portable AC.

What room size will a 5000 BTU air conditioner cool?


The cooling power of an AC is measured in BTUs, an acronym for British Thermal Units. Therefore, the more the BTU measurement, the higher it’s cooling capacity. Ideally, ACs with higher BTUs are designed for larger rooms. Conversely, ACs with smaller BTU measurements (like the 5000 BTU AC) are suited for smaller rooms.

READ MORE: A Comparison of Dyson TP02 vs TP04 Air Purifiers

Per fundamental industry, guidelines, a 5000 BTU AC can efficiently cool a room measuring 100-150 square feet. Still, depending on other factors, such as the type of room and the number of regular room occupants- you can efficiently use a 5000 BTU AC in a space that is slightly larger than 150 square feet (or barely smaller than 100 square feet).

How to Determine the AC Size for Your Room

How to calculate AC BTU for your room size

A good AC can efficiently cool a room in no more than 15 minutes. Ideally, it takes about 20 BTUs to cool down every square foot efficiently. Therefore- to come up with the primary AC size for your room, you should calculate the size of the room by multiplying its length by its width and then multiplying the result by 20.

For instance, for a room that measures 20 feet wide and 30 feet long, the fundamental BTU rating can be calculated as follows:

(Length x width) x 20 BTUs

= (30 x 20) x 20 = 12, 000 BTUs

Therefore, it would take a 12,000 BTU AC to cool down a room of this size efficiently. However, this sizing should be adjusted depending on the following factors:

  • How much sunlight exposure the room gets
  • The number of people that regularly use the room
  • Type of room.

For instance, kitchen air is typically hotter and more humid and such a room would require an AC with more cooling power/higher BTU capacity.

Here’s a video guide on how to calculate the AC BTU for your room size:

BTU and Room Size Guide (Table)

Room Size (square feet)AC BTUs/hour
100 – 1505, 000
150 – 2506, 000
250 – 3007, 000
300 – 3508, 000
350 – 4009, 000
400 – 45010, 000
450 – 55012, 000
550 – 70014, 000
700 – 100018, 000
1000 – 120021, 000
1200 – 140023, 000
1400 – 150024, 000
1500 – 200030, 000
2000 – 250034, 000

As mentioned earlier, the figures above should only be a fundamental guideline for picking the right AC size for your room. You still have to adjust your calculations since other factors apart from room size also determine how much cooling power you’ll need.

What determines the AC size to choose

Each of these additional considerations is discussed in detail below:

Sunlight exposure

A room with a good supply of daily sunlight will logically be warmer, reducing cooling needs. Conversely, a room with minimal sunlight exposure will require an AC with more cooling power due to relatively cooler air circulating. To gauge how much sunlight your room is exposed to, check the sizes of the windows and doorways.

Larger windows and doorways are pointers towards higher sunlight exposure; hence the need to increase the BTU sizing by at least 10% if this is the case. Conversely, smaller windows and doorways let in less light leading to cooler rooms. If this is the case, reduce the BTU sizing by at least 10%

The Number of Room Occupants

The primary figures in the table above apply to a room that is regularly occupied by no more than two people. Therefore, for every extra person that regularly occupies the room, you should increase the BTU measurement by at least 20%.

The climate

More cooling power is needed in hot and humid climates to efficiently cool a similar-sized room in a cool region. Therefore, if you reside in an area with this climate, you should consider increasing your BTU size by at least 10%.

The Ceiling Height

The figures in the table above apply to a room with a standard ceiling height of eight feet. However, if your room measures 10 feet from floor to ceiling, consider adding 10% to your total BTU sizing from the table.

Is 5000 BTU enough for a living room?

This question has no definite answer, as living room sizes vary from home to home. However, the typical American bungalow living room measures significantly more than 150 square feet, the basic threshold for a 5000 BTU AC.

How much is a 5000 BTU air conditioner cost?

Since its cooling capacity and wattage usually determines an AC’s cost, you can expect a 5000 BTU AC to be relatively cheap, being that it is the smallest AC size that is commercially available. A 5000 BTU AC will cost you anywhere between 40-50 dollars. And that is not all; you should expect to spend an additional 43 dollars on average for yearly running expenses for your 5000 BTU AC.


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