cooling capacity

When shopping for a new A/C, it’s important to find one with the proper cooling capacity for your home. If you need a unit with a four-ton capacity to cool your home, then one with three tons will be overworked and waste energy, while one with five tons will cycle on and off too frequently, wearing out the system and causing disparate temperatures between rooms. How do you find out what capacity you need? And why is cooling capacity measured in tons, anyway?

The History of A/C Tonnage

Before air conditioners came along, homes used to be cooled using actual ice. This meant cooling capacity was measured in actual tons of ice. How much heat could one ton of ice absorb in BTUs before it melted?

The answer is 286,000 BTUs to melt one ton of ice. But how long would it take? If the ice melts over the course of a day, then it absorbs about 12,000 BTUs per hour. So when air conditioners came along, that measurement remained the cooling standard.

Every 12,000 BTUs that an air conditioner absorbs and removes from your home’s air in one hour equals one ton of cooling. If your A/C can do 48,000 BTUs per hour, that means a four-ton capacity.

Sizing Your Air Conditioner

Getting your home professionally sized to determine capacity before buying a new A/C is essential. Otherwise you could end up wasting tons of money over the years on energy bills and repair costs.

To determine the tonnage your air conditioner needs to cool your home effectively, contact an HVAC professional. They’ll measure all the rooms in your home in square footage, then add them together and use that figure to determine just what size A/C you need to get the most efficient cooling.

For more help finding the right cooling capacity for your air conditioner, check out Maxx AC’s home comfort solutions or contact them today!

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