A Ton Of Information: Understanding Your Cooling System’s Tonnage

From repairing a leaky faucet to replacing a broken window, it is easy to see the physical, emotional, and financial challenges of home ownership. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not spend enough time on maintaining their heating and cooling system. Considering that heating and cooling accounts for as much as half of your home's total energy usage, maintaining this system's function is imperative.

Maintaining your heating and cooling system requires more than just setting a thermostat and changing the filters. Proper understanding of your system's tonnage is also important. With this guide, you will understand the tonnage of your air conditioner system and learn if you are cooling your home in the most efficient manner.

The 411 on Tonnage

Your air conditioner unit will have a certain amount of tons. This tonnage refers to your system's capacity, or the amount of heat the air conditioner can take out of your home in one hour.

To determine if your unit has a sufficient number of tons, consider the following factors:

  • An estimated 25 BTUs, or British Thermal Units, are needed to cool each square foot of your house.
  • Each ton is capable of removing an estimated 12,000 BTUs of from the house each hour.

If you live in a house that is approximately 2,000 square feet, your unit should provide around 50,000 BTUs, which is offered by a 4-ton unit.

Undersizing or Oversizing

Using an undersized unit for your home's square footage can be problematic. Your air conditioning system is designed to cool your home until it reaches the set temperature on your thermostat.

If your unit's tonnage is undersized for your home's size, it will run for a longer period in an attempt to reach that set temperature. This longer running time will cause you to waste energy and increase your monthly energy bills. Due to this, many contractors recommend installing a larger unit. Unfortunately, oversizing your system's tonnage has negative effects, as well.

An oversized number of tons will stop the cooling once it reaches your set temperature, making it a more energy efficient system. However, your air conditioner will need to run long enough to remove heat AND humidity from your air for it to work effectively.

If your oversized unit stops running before cooling and removing the humidity from your air, your home will have an increased amount of humidity in the air. High humidity can damage your floors, walls, and furniture, but it can also affect your health and emotional wellness.

To reduce the risk of energy waste from an undersized unit and humidity issues from an oversized unit, ask a contractor to run a load calculation on your home to determine the correct amount of tonnage.

Proper understanding of your system's tonnage is imperative for your cooling needs. You and your contractor can use this guide to ensure your system is cooling with the correct amount of tonnage. Contact a company like Glendale Heating & Air Conditioning for additional information.