what size HVAC system

What Size HVAC System Does My Home Need?

What Size HVAC System Does My Home Need?

We often receive surprised faces when we tell customers their new HVAC system needs to be sized for their home. No, we don’t mean a size XS-XL like in clothing. Although, that would definitely be easier to understand! Selecting the proper size unit for your home is dependent on a few factors. We consider the square footage of your home, the climate zone you live in, your home’s insulation, and so much more. If you’re wondering what size HVAC system your home needs, let us break it down for you!

The Basics

When finding the right size system for your home, we are calculating the HVAC tonnage. Your air conditioning system is measured in a certain number of tons, aka ‘tonnage.’ Each level of tonnage goes hand in hand with a certain BTU output. Now, what is BTU? BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, which is a measurement for heat. As a basic example, a two ton air conditioning system can remove 24,000 BTUs. 

What Is The Tonnage Of My Current Unit?

It’s time to take a trip outside! If you don’t know your AC tonnage, head over to your outdoor unit. There will be a plaque on the side of the condensing unit. Once you find this data plaque, look for the model number. Within the string of numbers and letters which makes up your model number, there will be an even, two-digit number. These numbers can range from eighteen to sixty. Divide this number by twelve, and there you have it! This final number is your air conditioning unit’s tonnage. If you want to skip the math, here’s a cheat sheet with model numbers and their corresponding tonnage. 

  • 18 = 1.5 tons
  • 24 = 2.0 tons
  • 30 = 2.5 tons
  • 36 = 3.0 tons
  • 42 = 3.5 tons
  • 48 = 4.0 tons
  • 60 = 5.0 tons 

Do I Only Need My Square Footage?

No! There are many factors other than square footage which are used to properly calculate your air conditioner’s tonnage. You must also consider the style of your home. A ranch style home will likely need a different size system than a two-story home. Additionally, the climate where your home is located matters greatly as well. Humidity, temperature, and how sunlight enters your home all play roles in figuring out what size HVAC system you need. It’s even important to consider the number and type of windows your home has, existing insulation, ductwork condition, number of residents, and so much more! A lot truly goes into it, and a good HVAC contractor will be able to properly calculate these factors for you. 

Does It Matter If I Get The Wrong Size?

It definitely does matter! We don’t consider all these factors just for fun. An air conditioning unit which is too small for your home is unlikely to be able to ever adequately cool your home. There can be problems on the opposite end as well. An air conditioning system which is too large for your space will cool your house too quickly and then shut off. This results in the air never being dried effectively, which leaves you with high humidity levels and sticky feeling air in your home. 

Let Us Handle The Work!

The professionals at Legacy Heating & Cooling are trained to find the correct size HVAC unit for your home and your budget. As your local American Standard Customer Care Dealer in West Alabama, we care about the comfort of your whole home and family. Give us a call at (205) 364-1044 or visit our website

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