HVAC professionals from cities like Philadelphia and beyond have stressed the importance of proper sizing for air conditioner installations, and rightfully so. Buying an appropriately sized air conditioner is always in your best interest as a homeowner: something too big will dent your bills and leave excess moisture in the air while anything too small will lack the horsepower to serve your household efficiently all year round.

Air Conditioner

Fortunately, sizing an air conditioner isn’t hard: it just takes some basic math, enough effort and a few minutes’ worth of your time reading and heeding the following tips.

Central air conditioners come in specified sizes, measured in “tons” (which has nothing to do with the actual weight of the unit, so don’t worry). A “ton” is a unit used to measure an air conditioner’s overall ability to cool, and one ton equates to an A/C’s capacity of cooling 12,000 BTUs (British thermal units). That said, a two-ton unit can cool double the amount, or 24,000 BTUs to be exact.

The question is: what is a BTU? It is a basic measure of thermal energy, where one BTU denotes the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water to one degree Fahrenheit. Doing the math, it means that a 1-ton air conditioner can cool 12,000 pounds of water a degree lower every hour. Take note of these figures because they’re absolutely integral in terms of sizing a new central A/C installation.

Now, the tonnage of a central A/C unit you can buy from local HVAC companies in Philadelphia like DN HVAC Services should depend on both your home’s total square footage and the type of climate you live in. The different types of climates are classified into five different zones, aptly named zones 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. If you live in Philadelphia, you are in zone 4. There are several tonnage recommendations for specific square footages—if your home’s square footage is, say, 700-1050 sq. ft., you will need a 1.5-ton air conditioner

Overall, the amount of tonnage your home requires hinges on two major factors: the climate zone on which your home is located and the total square footage. Logic dictates that the larger the floor area, the more tonnage you’ll require when you install a central air conditioning unit.


How To Choose The Right Size Air Conditioner, SFGate.com

What Size Central Air Conditioner Do I Need For My House? A Short Consumer’s Guide From ASM, ASM-Air.com, October 25, 2014

What Is A BTU, AirMovementSystems.com

Air Conditioning Sizing Calculator, ACDirect.com

How Many Tons Do I Need To Cool My Home? eBay.com, November 10, 2007

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