Understanding Tonnage for Your New Air Conditioner
Your new air conditioner is certainly a heavy appliance, but its measurement in tons doesn’t have anything to do with weight. With this information, you’ll understand how tonnage applies to air conditioners and why it’s so important to get the right size for your home.
How Does Tonnage Work for Air Conditioners?
In order to understand tonnage, you’ll need a little background information on the way we measure heat. As a general rule, the generation or removal of heat is measured in British Thermal Units. One BTU describes the energy you would need to increase the temperature of 16 oz of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Since your air conditioner works to remove heat, not increase it, many people find it easier to understand by looking at the time it takes to freeze a ton of water in 24 hours. The answer to that question is about 12,000 BTUs, and it also explains why air conditioners are measured in tons. As such, the tonnage of the unit isn’t a measure of weight, but in the ability to transfer heat out of the home:
- 1 ton: 12,000 BTUs
- 2 tons: 24,000 BTUs
- 3 tons: 36,000 BTUs
- 4 tons: 48,000 BTUs
- 5 tons: 60,000 BTUs
When you browse through air conditioners, you may notice that the output is listed in tons, BTUs, or both. It’s important to be able to distinguish between the two, so that you don’t end up with a machine that is sized incorrectly for your needs.
What Is the Right Size for a New Air Conditioner?
Sizing for your air conditioner is both complicated and extremely important for the function of your home’s cooling system. If you have an air conditioner with a tonnage that far exceeds your home’s needs, it will cool the home too quickly and turn off without extracting the humidity. In parts of the country like Florida, moisture accumulation in the home can be disastrous. If you buy a unit that is too small, it will have to work much harder, increasing the likelihood of damaged equipment and a shorter lifespan. Air conditioner maintenance can help, but there is no easy fix for a unit that isn’t sized appropriately. You can look up guides for how to estimate your home’s cooling load, but you’re much better off hiring an expert to do the figures for you. The right size depends on a number of factors, such as:
- Home square footage
- Home design and layout, like vaulted ceilings or multiple floors
- Cooling needs of the household
When you schedule air conditioner installation, you have assistance from a professional who can determine the right size for your home and help you choose a model that will meet your expectations.
Figuring out the importance of tonnage for your new air conditioner is the start of better cooling for your home. Contact us at Essential Air Conditioning for more tips on how to get the most from your air conditioner.