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Air Conditioning Facts for Living in Thailand

Hello Unregistered,

If you have just built a house in Thailand you will most likely want to air condition it, hopefully you had all the cable runs etc put in during the build so it's just a matter of fitting the compressor and fan unit, then gassing it up.
If you have any questions about air-conditioners or any aspect of building in Thailand feel free to post them in our Building in Thailand Forum.

Some Air-Con Facts

If the room is very sunny, increase the BTUs by 10%.
If you plan on placing the air conditioning unit in your kitchen, add 4,000 BTUs.
If more than two people will regularly be in the room (e.g., an office, bar, restaurant), add 600 BTUs per person.
An over sized air-con is not better.

BTU Facts for Temperate Climates

BTU stands for British Thermal Units and has become a standard for measuring air conditioner capacity.
BTU is a number derived from multiplying the area of the room to be air conditioned in square feet by 30.
So for example if your room measures 15 feet by 12 feet, you would need an air conditioner with about 5400 BTUs to cool the room.
However, 5400 may not be enough when you factor other aspects into how well your rooms will cool, like direct sunlight, high ceilings, and leaks under doors and in cracks.
Direct sunlight can warm up any given space.
More BTUs are needed to cool rooms with sunlight hitting a good area of it or the air conditioner.
Also, if there are lots of cracks underneath doors and in corners, this means cool air will escape and your cooling unit will need yet more BTUs to cool.
It may be safe to add about 2000 BTUs to any given room for maximum efficiency.
Length of Room x Width of Room = Area
(Area of Room x 30) + 2000 = BTUs you need

BTU Facts for Thailand

Thailand is hot and humid, very hot and the sun is extremely intense, also in Thailand we use the metric system for measuring rooms, another problem in Thailand is the lack of proper insulation, ie roof insulation, double glazing, cavity blocks for walls, so all these things need to be taken into account when deciding which size air-con you need.

Area to be cooled (Square Meters) Capacity needed (BTUs per hour)

9,000BTU is generally the smallest available aircon unit in Thailand, this is only suitable for a room of up to 16 square meters, if the room has a full wall to wall floor to ceiling window that the sun hits then it will be struggling to cool the room, also if the roof above is not insulated your 9,000BTU air-con will be struggling and using a lot of electricity.

12,000BTU air-cons will manage to cool rooms of up to 20 square meters, obviously if this room is 20 square meters and gets a lot of sun you may need to upgrade to 18,000BTU.

18,000BTU air-cons will cool rooms of 20 to 30 square meters.

24,000BTU air-cons will cool rooms of 30 to 36 square meters.

Over Sized Air-Con Facts

Many people buy an air conditioner that is too large, thinking it will provide better cooling.
However, an oversized air conditioner is actually less effective and wastes energy at the same time.
Air conditioners remove both heat and humidity from the air.
If the unit is too large, it will cool the room quickly, but only remove some of the humidity.
This leaves the room with a damp, clammy feeling.
A properly sized unit will remove humidity effectively as it cools.

Prices for air conditioners in Thailand

The best air conditioners available are Mitsubishi, Daikin and Central Air, many lower quality brands also use the Mitsubishi compressor as it is extremely reliable, the following prices are the list prices just to give you an idea of costing, brand names such as LG are slightly cheaper.

Mitsubishi 9,000 BTU 21,900 baht
Mitsubishi 12,000 BTU 24,900 baht
Daikin 9,000BTU 13,700 baht
Daikin 12,000BTU 16,500 baht
Daikin 18,000BTU 24,200 baht
Daikin 24,000BTU 35,500 baht

Air conditioner tutorial videos

How an air conditioner works
Installing an air conditioner