What Does HVAC “Tonnage” Mean?

HVAC Tonnage

What does HVAC “tonnage” mean? That’s a loaded question! HVAC tonnage is a topic that many of us often don’t understand because it encompasses much more than just the weight of the system. Having some knowledge of this topic is great to have in your back pocket. Keep reading as we break down what HVAC tonnage is, how it is calculated, and why a Barrett Cooling professional should take care of figuring out the tonnage of a new system for your home. 

HVAC “Tonnage”

Believe it or not, tonnage has nothing to do with the weight of your system. Tonnage actually refers to the cooling capacity of an AC unit. Tons are the units of cooling power which indicate how powerful your system is. Residential air conditioners will typically have a tonnage ranging from 1.5 to 5 tons. The tonnage for your AC unit depends on the amount of cooling power needed to condition the air throughout your whole home.

How Do I Know My Current Tonnage?

How can you figure out the tonnage of your system? Look at the system itself! Head to the outdoor unit and look for the data plaque mounted to the outside. There will be a model number, which is a combination of letters and numbers. Within those, you should find an even, two digit number. Once you have found that even number, divide it by twelve to find your tonnage. If you don’t want to do the math – never fear! Here’s a breakdown of tonnages and their corresponding numbers.

  • 18 = 1.5 tons
  • 24 = 2 tons
  • 30 = 2.5 tons
  • 36 = 3 tons
  • 42 = 3.5 tons
  • 48 = 4 tons
  • 60 = 5 tons

Load Calculation

There are many factors that are taken into account when calculating what unit is best for your home. Some of which are as follows:

  • The position of your home (North, South, East, West).
  • The number of windows in your home.
  • The amount of insulation your home has.
  • How much shade surrounds your home.
  • The height of your ceilings.

These are just a few of the things that determine what tonnage system your home needs. You cannot simply use square footage alone to calculate what tonnage is the right fit for your house. While square footage can give you a fine estimate, these factors narrow down your search and result in the best pick. 

Why Do I Need A Professional?

As stated above, there are numerous factors to consider when sizing a new system for your home, and only experienced professionals will know the system truly best suited for your house. It is not as simple as picking the most powerful unit, and bigger is not always better. An oversized HVAC system will actually drop the temperature too rapidly and cause the compressor to constantly shut down and start again. This results in an energy draining cycle called “short-cycling” which can lead to poor humidity control. As you know, humidity control is crucial to residents of Alabama. 

Call Barrett Cooling For The Job

Barrett Heating and Cooling is here to take care of all your home comfort needs! When it comes time to size a new AC unit for your home, call us first. We are only a click or call away at https://barrettcooling.com/contact/ and (334) 365-2011

We are an American Standard Customer Care Dealer serving Prattville, AL and the surrounding communities. Be sure to visit us on Facebook and Instagram for more helpful information regarding your HVAC system.