Air Conditioning Lingo

Air ConditionER Lingo


The word tonnage is often thrown around by HVAC technicians. What does it mean?

Many people think it has something to do with how many tons of air the unit handles in a given time but air conditioning tonnage has nothing to do with weight.

Tonnage is a term that describes how much heat the AC unit can remove from a home in one hour. The measurement for heat is the British thermal unit (BTU). One ton of air conditioning can remove 12,000 BTUs of air per hour. British Thermal units is a measurement of how much heat energy is required to melt ice.

tonnage definition

Credit: AC Warehouse

Central AC

Most homes have a central AC unit or the ductwork and furnace/ air handler set up to accommodate an AC. Air conditioners come in various sizes for residential markets. Essentially ranging from 1.5 tons to 5 tons of cooling there are options for all sizes of homes. Composed of an outdoor condenser and an indoor evaporator, an air conditioner works by absorbing heat energy from inside the home and rejecting it outside. Although it feels like the system is creating cold air it is actually simply a process of removing heat from the air and circulating that air around the home. This process removes humidity at the same time allowing for a more comfortable conditioned space.

Seer Ratings

Central air systems come in all shapes, sizes and efficiency ratings. The most common air conditioner for a typical residential home is a 13 Seer air condition of whatever tonnage is appropriate for the size home. The seer ratings means (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) which is a measure of an air conditioner’s cooling efficiency. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the product. The benefits of higher efficiency units is lower cost of operation but up front costs will be quite a bit more depending on the SEER rating you are looking for. Reach out to the Marx Team today to discuss options that are best for your home and budget.

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