The Importance of A/C Tonnage

The Importance of A/C TonnageWhen it comes to your air conditioning system, nothing is more important than it’s A/C tonnage. Regardless of its energy efficiency rating or its age, if it isn’t the right tonnage, the system won’t provide the comfort or energy savings than if it were the size you need.

A ton of air conditioning is equivalent to 12,000 Btus (British thermal units). HVAC manufacturers used that measurement from the inception of the refrigerated air conditioners back in the early 1900s. It actually refers to the amount of cooling power that a one ton block of ice provides. A three ton system, for example, has the equivalent amount of cooling as three tons of ice.

Small room air conditioners come in sizes ranging from a half ton to two tons. Central systems generally start at one ton and go as high as five for residential homes.

How HVAC Professionals Determine Tonnage for Homes

HVAC pros use computer software called Manual J to find the best size for your home. The software takes into the energy efficiency of your home, its floorplan design and your lifestyle. The software returns a value that gives you the right A/C tonnage for your home.

The sizing exercise also shows you where you could make energy efficiency improvements to reduce the tonnage you require. Not only does adding insulation to attics and sealing air leaks improve your comfort, but it also cuts energy costs.

Going forward with an A/C replacement without sizing it first often results in a unit that’s either too small or large. When they’re too large, they run in short cycles that result in frequent starts and stops, higher energy costs, more humidity, and more wear and tear on the whole system. One that’s too small won’t be able to cool your home during extreme summer heat.

If you’re planning a system replacement and want to learn more about A/C tonnage, give the pros at Beyer Boys a call. We provide HVAC services for San Antonio homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about your HVAC system, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 361-678-2495. 

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    David Mathewst David Mathews is the owner of CCAC Air Conditioning and Heating. A Corpus Christi native... More »