The relationship between a system’s A/C tonnage and the size and characteristics of the home it’s in makes a difference in its performance.
Each ton of an air conditioner can remove 12,000 Btus of heat from your home in one hour. When you’re selecting a new cooling system, whether it’s central or portable, finding the right size is crucial for your comfort, energy costs and the lifespan of the equipment.
A home with high energy efficiency needs less tonnage than one with inadequate insulation and windows and lots of air leaks. Consequently, it needs a smaller cooling system.
Oversizing air conditioners makes them run in short cycles. They cool the home too quickly, which leaves behind excessive humidity, creates unnecessary wear on the parts and drives up energy costs. An HVAC system that’s too big won’t be nearly as efficient as one that’s the right size.
How to Find the Optimal Size
Contractors use software called Manual J to determine the right A/C tonnage for a home. They take into account:
- Cubic footage of the home.
- Insulation levels in the attic and roof characteristics.
- Number of exterior doors and windows, their placement, size and energy efficiency.
- Amount of air infiltration.
- Solar exposure.
- Floorplan design of home.
- Number of heat-producing appliances indoors.
- Family size and their ages.
- Landscaping factors.
The process takes some time since the dimensions of the windows, doors, and rooms have to be entered and the attic and walls inspected for insulation levels and air leakage.
Why It Matters
Once the HVAC professional has arrived at the best size for the air conditioner, you’ll be able to select the model you want. It’s also a good time to go over the results to see if you could make improvements to your home’s insulation and seal air leaks to reduce the size of the system you need and cut your cooling bills.
Measuring the A/C tonnage you need makes a difference in your comfort and energy costs over the lifetime of the system. To learn more, contact Hartman Bros. Heating & Air Conditioning, providing HVAC services for Fort Wayne homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 260-376-2961.