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What Size Of Commercial Air Conditioner Do I Need?

Commercial and Industrial Cooling masthead

What Size Of Commercial Air Conditioner Do I Need?

Commercial and Industrial Cooling masthead

Before investing in a new commercial air conditioner, it is important to do your research. How do you know what kind you need or what size it should be? Will it cool the entire workspace or just one room? We’re here to help you determine the right air conditioner for your business or condo building.

How To Calculate The Correct Size Of AC For Your Business

Warning: There Is Math Involved

There is actually a lot of math that goes into determining the right size of air conditioner for a structure. One rule of thumb to get a rough idea on system sizing can be used:

  1. Calculate the square footage of the space requiring cooling. (assuming 8’ ceiling)
  2. Divide the square footage by 500.
  3. Multiply the number from Step 2 by 12,000. This is the required Btu’s needed to be removed from the space in order to cool it.
  4. Add 380 Btu for each occupant working in the space all day.
  5. Add 1,000 Btu for each window in the space

Example: If you have a 5000 square foot space with 10 people working there and there are 6 windows.

  1. 5000 square feet
  2. 5000 ÷ 500 = 10
  3. 10 x 12,000 = 120,000 BTU
  4. 380 x 10 = 3,800 BTU
  5. 6 x 1000 = 6,000 BTU
  6. The total BTUs required is 129,800 BTUs

There are 12,000 BTU in one ton so the required cooling capacity would be 129,800 ÷ 12,000 =10.81 tons.

The result is a rough idea of the minimum BTU requirement to cool the space.

There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration to properly size an air conditioning unit. To properly size the unit required a heat load calculation should be performed to achieve the correct cooling capacity needed for each building.

Heat Load Calculation

Heat load calculation refers to the process of determining heat load for a certain space or quantity of matter. Heat load is the amount of heat energy that needs to be added to maintain a desired temperature setpoint. From there, it breaks down into sensible heat loads and latent heat loads.

Sensible Heat Loads

This is heat that a substance absorbs. The sensible heat load of a building is the total of the following.

  •   Air was introduced to the building through ventilation
  •   Solar heat transmitted through glass windows
  •   The heat generated by equipment and/or computers
  •   Heat is transmitted through the building envelope thru floors, roof, and walls
  •   Body heat from building occupants
  •   The heat from lighting fixtures

Latent Heat Loads

Latent heat comes from moisture that is added to the space from external or internal sources, this requires dehumidification to remove the moisture. Sources of latent heat include.

  •   Outdoor air with high humidity levels from infiltration or ventilation
  •   Occupant respiration and physical activity.
  •   Moisture generated from equipment

Other factors to take into consideration include

  •   Outdoor Climate
  •   Direction windows face
  •   Window construction
  •   Type of building envelope construction
  •   Fresh air requirements for occupants
  •   Ceiling height

Why Does Commercial Air Conditioner System Size Matter?

If you have a system that is oversized the unit will run for short periods of time and satisfy the setpoint at the thermostat but also create temperature swings with cold and hot spots. It will not properly dehumidify the space leaving a cool but humid space. If the unit is undersized the humidity will be ok, but the unit will run constantly and not be able to reach the temperature setpoint resulting in poor energy efficiency.

Contact Us

It’s important for a healthy indoor environment to include a cool, comfortable working temperature. Don’t wait for another heat wave to look into a commercial air conditioner for your business or building!

With over 40 years of professional experience in HVAC maintenance, the experts at TRI-AIR can help improve your indoor air temperature and prepare your business for the new normal.

Contact us today to schedule an inspection and calculation to make sure your A/C is working according to specifications for building use and occupancy.

Call Now! (905) 470-2424

  1. How does an air conditioner work?
    Answer: Air conditioners work by removing heat and humidity from indoor air and expelling it outside, using a refrigeration cycle that involves a compressor, condenser, evaporator, and expansion valve.
  2. What are the benefits of installing a commercial air conditioner?
    Answer: The benefits of installing a commercial air conditioner include improved indoor air quality, comfortable working conditions, increased productivity, and the ability to regulate temperature and humidity.
  3. How often should I have my commercial air conditioner serviced?
    Answer: Regular maintenance is crucial for the optimal performance of your air conditioner. It is recommended to have professional maintenance performed at least once a year, preferably before the start of the cooling season.
  4. How can I improve the energy efficiency of my commercial air conditioner?
    Answer: To improve energy efficiency, you can consider regular maintenance, cleaning or replacing air filters, sealing air leaks in the building, installing programmable thermostats, and upgrading to energy-efficient models.
  5. What is the lifespan of a commercial air conditioning unit?
    Answer: The lifespan of a commercial air conditioning unit can vary depending on its quality, usage, and maintenance. On average, a well-maintained unit can last between 10 to 15 years.