How to Calculate HVAC Tonnage Needed in Ellenton: A Quick Guide

how to calculate hvac tonnage needed

Population growth has made sustainability in buildings more challenging. As energy demand increases, so does the cost of delivering it. This means that energy efficiency has a huge impact on the planet and your utility bill.

One of the most common ways that this happens is when people have the wrong-sized AC for the size of their home. Adding onto your home without upgrading the HVAC leads to one that is working overtime since it cannot adequately cool the space. But too large of systems are problematic as well.

This article covers how to calculate HVAC tonnage needed to cool any building. It goes into detail about some of the problems with not having the right AC unit size and how you can fix them.

What Is AC Tonnage?

Most people assume that ACs work by pumping cold air into your home. This is not altogether incorrect but is only part of the process. A more accurate description (and one essential to understanding tonnage) is that it removes warm air from your home and replaces it with cooler air.

Tonnage is a gauge of the cooling capacity of an air conditioning system. It is measured in British thermal units (BTUs). That is the amount of energy (or heat) needed to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

To understand HVAC systems, BTU simply relates to power or energy. And tonnage is the amount of energy (in BTUs) your AC system needs to remove a specified amount of heat from your home in one hour.

Why Is Tonnage Important?

This measurement is important for two main reasons. The most obvious one is that you want an AC system that is powerful enough to properly cool your home.

The second reason is more complex. Bigger is not always better when it comes to AC systems.

If a system is too large for your home, it may cool certain rooms or spaces more quickly than others. Another big problem is that cooling your home too fast does not give the system enough time to reduce humidity levels.

Finally, you might assume an oversized unit is more energy efficient because it cools the home quicker. This is not the case. Your system will cycle on and offer more frequently, which uses more energy and is harder on your HVAC components.

How to Calculate HVAC Tonnage Needed in Your Home

If you want to know how to calculate HVAC tonnage needed in a building, start by calculating the square footage of the space to be cooled. This is the width and length of every room (in feet), multiplied together. Alternatively, if you know the square footage of your home, you can subtract areas that you do not need to cool (like the garage).

Multiply the total square footage by 25 to get the base BTU value. Then, add 1,000 BTUs for every window and door that leads outside.
Then, add 400 BTUs for every person who lives in the home. The final step is to divide the total BTU needs by 12,000 to get the total tonnage required.

As an example, take a 2,200-square-foot home with 14 windows, a front and back door, and four people living there. Multiply the square footage by 25 (2,200 x 25 = 55,000) to get the base BTU. Then add 1,000 for each of the 14 windows and two doors (16 x 1,000 = 16,000) and 400 for each person living there (4 x 400 = 1,600).

This gets you a total BTU need of 72,600. Divide that by 12,000, and you get 6.05. This is the estimated tons required to cool your home.

Much smaller than that and your HVAC system will be inadequate. Much larger and you will be wasting energy and may experience some of the other issues described above.

Learn More About HVAC Tonnage

Now that you know how to calculate HVAC tonnage needed for your home, you can determine the right size unit. An experienced installation company can help you accurately calculate your building’s needs.

Schwartz Air Conditioning and Heating is Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch’s premier HVAC services provider. Besides new installation, we offer AC repair and maintenance plans. Reach out to us today to schedule service.

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