When you’re ready to make a new air conditioner purchase, there are a lot of factors to consider. Too often, homeowners assume that “the bigger, the better” and go ahead and get the biggest, most powerful system they can afford.
Of course, if you work with a trained and experienced contractor for your installation, such as our team, we won’t let this happen–we will make sure you’re well informed on how a system that is too small will be detrimental to cooling efficiency and efficacy, so too will a system that’s too large, or too powerful.
You see, we measure the “tonnage” of an air conditioner against aspects of your living space. These aspects include things like the square footage of your home, how many windows and doors it has, how high the ceilings are, and what type of insulation you have. This is called a cooling load calculation. Read on to learn more, and remember, the best way to ensure you get the right-sized air conditioner is to contact our team!
Tonnage = Cooling Power
Tonnage may be a confusing term to hear–you might think we’re talking about the weight of the air conditioner, but we are actually talking about how powerful the air conditioner is at cooling down the space in which it is installed. “Tons” are units of cooling power. So, when we say that a system is a “two-ton” or a “five-ton” unit, we are talking about how powerful it is, not how much it weighs.
One ton is equivalent to 12,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs): the amount of heat necessary to change the temperature of a specific amount of water by 1°F. This is something else to keep in mind–your air conditioner operates by removing heat from your space. This is why units of heat are used to measure how powerful/how much tonnage the air conditioner needs to provide a house with cooling.
12,000 BTUs is the amount of heat needed in order to melt a one-ton block of ice. So, if your home uses a two-ton air conditioner, it’s removing enough heat from your living space per hour to melt two tons of ice!
Always Trust the Pros!
The average residential air conditioning system is between 1.5-5 tons. As we mentioned above, to find the right tonnage air conditioner to provide you with adequate cooling, the air conditioner needs to be sized by trained and experienced professionals, who know how to adequately conduct a cooling load calculation in your home.
An oversized–or in other words overpowered–air conditioner will drop the temperature in your living space too rapidly, and the compressor will shut down early only to restart a short time later, instead of operating in regular intervals. This process is called short-cycling and will exacerbate wear and tear on the system, causing it to break down faster.
Fortunately, you have our team on your side, ready to help with professional central AC installation and more.