HVAC Tonnage

HVAC tonnage

When you are calling around for a quote to have your air conditioner replaced you will almost always be asked the air conditioner’s tonnage. This can be a frustrating question if you have no idea what tonnage is, what it means or even how to find your systems tonnage. However, the best way for an HVAC contractor to give a customer more accurate pricing is with the tonnage of their air conditioner in hand. Having this vital piece of information can make the process a lot easier, when you decide you would like to replace your air conditioner.

What is Tonnage?

Tonnage (or ton for short) as it pertains to an HVAC system, is a unit of measurement that measures how much heat an air conditioner can cool per hour. One ton can cool 12,000 BTU (a measurement for heat) per hour.  The tonnage that is required to properly cool your home is calculated by the size and build of your home. This is often referred to as load calculation. The load calculation needed at your home is usually calculated by a structural engineer when the home is first built. However, an HVAC contractor may also be able to figure out the tonnage of a new installation as well. For a rough estimate, the rule of thumb is 1 ton per 400 sq ft of home or about 1.5ton for every 600 square feet. Another way to calculate the tonnage is by using the BTU’s on your current heating system. The cooling and heating system work together so the capacity must match. For instance, if you currently have a 36,000 BTU furnace then the corresponding air conditioning unit will likely be 3 ton. If you are replacing an existing air conditioner, one way to figure out the tonnage is by finding the number that is a multiple of 12 in the model number of the unit. That number will be in reference to the BTUs which you can then convert to tonnage.

Why is Tonnage Important?

The reason that tonnage is very important is because when it comes to your air conditioning unit, size really matters. If you get a unit that is too small, it will not be able to supply your home with a sufficient amount of cooled air and as a result will work too hard leading to premature failure. Though a larger unit may logically seem to be beneficial, it is not. An oversized system will cool your home too quickly, leading to short cycling and not completing the natural dehumidifying process. Not to mention the larger the system is, the less efficient it is. Having a system that is too large is needlessly pouring your money down the drain.

Understanding what tonnage is, how it is calculated and how to figure out your air conditioners tonnage is valuable information. The quickest and easiest way to get the accurate tonnage for your home’s air conditioning is to consult an HVAC professional. The great news is, we can help! Call LA Construction, Heating and Air and schedule a free consultation with our estimator or. Give us a call to schedule today or contact us online!

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