When you are purchasing an air conditioner for your home, one of the most important choices you will make is the size of the unit. On the market today, you can find air conditioners ranging from 1.5 tons to 5 tons, offered in 0.5 ton increments. But if you aren’t an expert in HVAC, the idea of measuring an air conditioner in tons can initially be confusing. After all, no air conditioner weighs a ton! So what do these numbers mean? Is a 2 ton unit better than a 1.5 ton unit? Is a 5 ton unit the best? Read on for answers to these questions and more!
Why Air Conditioner Cooling Capacity is Measured in Tonnage
Usually, when you hear about something being measured in tons, the figure refers to the object’s weight. But for air conditioners, the tonnage of the unit is actually of a measure of its ability to remove a certain amount of heat from the air in your house in a certain amount of time. Specifically, it refers to the unit’s ability to remove 12,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs) of heat from the building in a single hour. Therefore, a 2 ton air conditioner can remove 24,000 BTUs of heat per hour, a 3 ton air conditioner can remove 36,000 BTUs of heat per hour, and a 4 ton air conditioner can remove 48,000 BTUs of heat per hour.
Not All Sizes Are Created Equal
Given that air conditioners with higher cooling capacities can remove more heat from the air per hour, you might automatically assume that a higher number is better — but that’s not true! Choosing the right size air conditioner for your home is essential, and problems can arise if the tonnage is too high or too low.
If the cooling capacity is too high, your air conditioner will turn on, quickly cool down the house, and then turn off. But the house will soon warm up again, initiating another short cycle. This is a highly inefficient way to keep your house cool, unnecessarily wasting energy and increasing your energy bill. Alternatively, if the cooling capacity is too low, you air conditioner will not have the power to remove all the heat from your house, so it will run constantly. Again, this is an inefficient way to keep the temperature down, and running your air conditioner all day and all night inevitably drives up your energy bill.
When the cooling capacity of your air conditioner fits with the size of your house, it will go through a few cycles each day. Sometimes it will be on, and sometimes it will be off, but your house will always be at a comfortable temperature, and your energy bill will be under control.
Fun Air Conditioner Facts
National Air Warehouse offers air conditioning units with a wide range of cooling capacities. Contact us today for more help finding the one that is right for your home!