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Help Understanding Sizing of Commercial HVAC Units

commercial-hvac-workers-assessing-a-buildingCommercial HVAC is a complex field that requires years of training and experience. Most business owners and commercial facility managers don’t have specialized knowledge of this field, and that’s the reason they rely on contractors like us for their commercial air conditioning and heating in Toronto, ON

Some of the terminology used in commercial HVAC can sound confusing, and in this post, we want to help you get a better understanding of one of the most important parts of any HVAC unit installation: sizing.

What “sizing” means in HVAC

From the start, there’s a term that may confuse people. When HVAC professionals “size” an HVAC unit for installation, it doesn’t have anything to do with how large the unit is or its footprint. Sizing refers to the heating/cooling capacity of the unit—how much it can produce and send into a space. 

The job of sizing isn’t a simple one. A basic calculator and knowledge of the size of a building aren’t enough to determine how powerful an HVAC unit must be to work effectively and efficiently. Sizing attempts to find the perfect median capacity for a unit, as one that’s too powerful is as wasteful as one that’s too small. When our technicians size units for a facility, we use many factors in our calculations to find the correct heating and cooling tons for the facility’s specific needs. We never take any shortcuts on this part of the job—we take pride in providing service that’s customized to each business.

What “tons” means in this case

If you noticed the word tons in the last paragraph, that might have caused some confusion. In HVAC terms, the measurement for the heating/cooling capacity of a unit is called “tons,” and the capacity of a unit is referred to as its “tonnage.” What does this mean?

Again, it doesn’t have any connection to the actual weight of the unit. A ton is equal to a specific amount of heat either added to or removed from the air (heating or cooling). One ton equals 12,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units). One BTU is the energy necessary to change the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. (Yes, even in Canada, HVAC technicians use the English measure system for this calculation.) The reason 12,000 BTUs is referred to as a ton is that it’s the amount of heat required to melt a ton of ice over 24 hours at 32°F. 

The tonnage for commercial and industrial units

The standard residential AC or heat pump is from 5 to 8 tons. Commercial use is higher, with 25 tons as the starting point for light commercial. Many modular HVAC units are each 50 tons, and finding the ideal tonnage for a facility often requires putting together several units to meet the target tonnage. 

We hope this gives you a better understanding of what goes into finding the perfect units for your facility—and why you only want to trust an experienced contractor from Advantage Airtech. We’ve served the GTO area for more than 30 years.

Advantage Airtech Commercial Ltd. is the Double “A” Name with the Triple “A” Rating. Call today to arrange for commercial or industrial HVAC installations.

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