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What Does “25 Tons” Mean for Commercial Air Conditioning?

rooftop-havac-unitAt Air Creations, we’re proud to offer superb air conditioning service not only for residential homes but also for commercial buildings. We specialize in installing commercial packaged units and split systems up to 25 tons.

We’re going to stop right there, because there’s often some confusion about what “tons” means when it comes to air conditioning, commercial and otherwise. It sounds like it means the weight of the air conditioning system—so perhaps an air conditioner with high tonnage might not be able to be installed on a roof without causing structural damage?

But that’s not what tons means when talking about an HVAC system; it has nothing to do with the system’s weight or mass. The tonnage of a commercial air conditioner is a measure of how powerful it is, how much cooling it can provide per hour. Systems 25 tons and under fall into the field of “light commercial” HVAC.

Measuring Cooling using Tonnage

An air conditioner doesn’t create cold, since “cold” isn’t a type of energy. What an AC does is remove heat from the air to lower its temperature. Therefore, measuring the power of an air conditioner requires measuring the amount of heat it removes from the air.

The standard measuring unit for air conditioning system, commercial and residential, is the British Thermal Unit (BTU). One BTU is equal to the amount of heat required to change the temperature of a specific amount of water by one degree Fahrenheit. This is similar to the calorie. For example, if you look at the stats of window air conditioning units on sale in a store, you’ll see the BTUs the system removes per hour, such as 5,000 BTUs.

Larger residential and commercial air conditioners remove enough BTUs from an air that it’s easier to classify them using a simpler metric, in this case “a ton.” One ton is equal to 12,000 BTUs. This is the amount of heat necessary to melt one ton of ice—and that’s where the name “ton” comes from. So a 25 ton air conditioner is a unit that removes 300,000 BTUs from a space per an hour

Correct Tonnage for a Commercial System

Residential systems range from 1.5 to 5 tons. Anything higher than this falls into the commercial range. When our commercial HVAC technicians work to install a packaged AC or split system for your business, they’ll take special care to find the right tonnage to match your needs. A system that’s too small won’t get the job done, while one that’s too large will generate energy waste and wear down rapidly.

To ensure that you end up with the right commercial air conditioning system, our technicians will perform a thorough heat load calculation for your business space, taking into account appliances, lights, windows, the average number of people in the building, and more. When they’ve finished the calculation, they’ll know what tonnage of commercial air conditioner will do the exact job required without wasting energy.

We offer full commercial HVAC service in Cranford, NJ. You can depend on us to find the right new packaged or split system AC to meet the needs of your business. Get in touch with us today to find out what we can do to improve your commercial space.

Air Creations, Inc.: Serving Central and Northern New Jersey. “We Do It Right”—Since 1987!

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