How Do I Determine the Tonnage of My HVAC Unit?

One of the most important aspects of proper HVAC system installation is ensuring that the unit you’ve selected is the right size for your space. Here’s what you need to know about HVAC tonnage and how to make sure your unit will meet your heating and cooling needs.

What Is HVAC Tonnage?

The amount of energy that an HVAC unit is able to expend is called its “tonnage.” Generally, this is the unit’s capacity to heat and/or cool a space. A unit with more tonnage can heat a larger space while a unit with less tonnage is more suitable to smaller spaces.

Contrary to popular belief, when you’re talking about the “size” of an HVAC unit, you’re usually not discussing its physical dimensions. Instead, a unit’s size is its tonnage.

Why Does HVAC Tonnage Matter?

HVAC tonnage is one of the most important calculations in the entire industry. If you install a unit that is too small for the space it’s meant to heat or cool, you likely won’t reach your desired temperatures even with the unit essentially staying on constantly in an effort to keep up with the too-large area.

Units that are too large for a space can be unnecessarily expensive. It will typically start turning on and off more often, putting more strain on your unit — and your electric bills.

How to Calculate the Tonnage of Your HVAC Unit

You may be able to determine the tonnage of your HVAC unit by simply reading the manufacturer’s label on your system’s outdoor unit. However, most manufacturers don’t list tonnage and instead, list BTUs. Converting BTUs to tonnage can be done by simply dividing the BTUs by 12,000. For example, if your HVAC system is 24,000 BTUs, its tonnage is 2.

What Size HVAC Unit Do You Need?

The general rule in the heating and cooling industry is that one ton will heat or cool approximately 400 square feet of space. So, a 2-ton HVAC unit is actually quite small and would be too small for any space under 1,000 square feet. A 1200 square foot home would require no less than a 3-ton unit to heat and cool effectively throughout the house.

Other factors may also go into determining the size of your HVAC unit, such as home layout, existing supplemental heating, and more.

Take the Guesswork Out of HVAC with N.E.T.R., Inc.

It’s not every day that the average person can accurately calculate the tonnage needed from an HVAC system for a specific building or residence. However, this critical data is essential for determining the appropriate size of your HVAC unit. Get help making sure your HVAC system is properly sized for your home or business today by calling N.E.T.R., Inc. at 781.933.NETR (6387).