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Commercial HVAC Air Conditioning Tonnage and What It Means

rooftop-hvac-unitsIf you own or operate a business, proper environmental controls are essential. This not only provides comfort for employees, customers, tenants, clients, etc., but it also protects equipment and helps process. This is most important during winter and summer when we experience temperature extremes.

We’re in the deeps of summer right now, and you might be facing a commercial AC that isn’t handling the job as well as it should. It either needs to be replaced or have more units added (if you have a modular system like most rooftop units). Whether it’s a replacement or an expansion, the key factor you need to know about a commercial HVAC unit is its tonnage. What does that mean?

Tonnage = Cooling Power (Tonnage ≠ Weight)

This is the big confusion business owners who aren’t also HVAC professionals often have about the idea of HVAC tonnage. The tonnage of a commercial air conditioning system has nothing to do with the system’s weight or mass. It’s a measure of how much heat the system can remove from a space over an hour.

Air conditioners do not “create cooling,” since cooling isn’t an energy form—it’s the absence of heat. An AC does its cooling job by removing heat from the air. The heat removed from the air is measured as BTUs, or British Thermal Units. One BTU is the amount of energy necessary to change the temperature of a pound of water by one degree. An air conditioning system that can remove 12,000 BTUs of heat from a space is a 1 ton system. Each ton equal 12,000 BTUs, so a 10 ton HVAC system removes 120,000 BTUs per hour when it runs.

The Tonnage Needs of Your Commercial Space

Most homes require an air conditioner between 1.5 and 5 tons. With businesses, the requirements are larger, not only to accommodate greater volume, but also the larger number of people and heat-generating machines in the space. A small commercial building might need a 10 ton HVAC system for comfort. Many larger ones uses systems that are 50 tons or more. Modular rooftop units often come in 10, 25, and 50-ton units, allowing installers to add more units as a business and its comfort demands grow.

Finding out the tonnage requirements for your commercial space takes experienced HVAC technicians with years of specialized commercial training and experience. You can’t simply have the largest tonnage put in and hope for the best! An oversized system is a major energy-waster. Our commercial HVAC technicians will do a heat load calculation for your building and find the ideal cooling tonnage required for the environmental control necessary for comfort and equipment protection.

For all your needs for commercial air conditioning installation Eugene, OR, or elsewhere in the state, we are the people to call. We’ve been helping the heating and cooling needs of homes and businesses in Oregon for more than 50 years. We see each commercial customer as a partnership, so contact us today to start up a great partnership for your HVAC needs.

Comfort Flow Heating offers all of Oregon quality commercial and residential HVAC service.

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