What is the proper tonnage per square foot for HVAC?

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Many people believe you can figure out the appropriate tonnage for an air conditioner off of square feet alone. This is not true. While the square footage of space that needs cooling is one of the key variables, it has to be considered alongside several other factors.

The first of these factors is insulation. Insulation helps keep heat in your building but it also helps keep it out. The less heat able to seep in through your walls means less heat you need to remove with your air conditioner; allowing a better-insulated building to use a smaller unit.

How well designed and put together the ducts and vents in your building are can have a significant impact on the size needed. Excess bends, too small piping, and poorly sealed seams can cause a significant amount of cooled air to either be lost or to pick up unwanted heat. Thankfully most duct issues can be addressed alongside a new unit installation, helping make sure the system is as cost-efficient as possible.

Architectural considerations also factor heavily into what size system you need. From the number, size, and direction of your windows to the color of your walls and shingles, almost every design aspect of your building factors into what size air conditioner you need.

On-top of what has already looked at, landscaping also impacts your air conditioning needs. A building in the middle of a field is going to be heated by the sun to a much greater degree than one in the woods. These are the obvious extremes, but even a few trees casting shade over some parts of your building can lower your needs.

Why not just overestimate?

Reading all the things it takes to properly size an air conditioning unit might make you wonder if you could just air on the side of caution and get one that may be too big but definitely won’t be too small.

Air conditions that have too much power don’t run as long and don’t circulate air as well, possibly leading to uneven cooling or poorly controlled humidity. The air conditioner runs for a shorter time because it’s removing the heat faster; which leads to the force and coldness of the vent air being more abrasive and uncomfortable. Getting a professional estimation of your cooling needs, and buying the right equipment, will guarantee that you don’t spend more for a system that you need too; and save you money long term.

If you’re trying to decide on a new air conditioning system, call us today at 408-295-2182, and let our professional staff assess your specific cooling needs.

Hiring a mechanical engineer for building retrofits, rebuilds, additions, or enhancements is the quickest and surest way to obtain the ideal facilities for supporting your operations. Are you ready to make your workplace more modern, efficient, or compliant? If so, we can help.

Call us today at 408-295-2182.


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