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Cool Touch Air Conditioning and Heating Blog

Find the Right Size Commercial AC for Your Business


If you are opening a new business location, or you are making changes to your current one that requires you have new air conditioning installed, one of the important factors you need to know about commercial cooling is how large an AC you need. “Size” in this case doesn’t refer to how large the actual HVAC unit is, but its cooling capacity.

You might feel tempted to say, “I’ll have the largest AC I can afford installed,” and imagine that should take care of your needs. But commercial air conditioning installation is more complicated than that. It’s one of the reasons you want professionals, and professionals only, to handle all your needs for commercial HVAC in Goodyear, AZ.

The Importance of Sizing an AC

Manufacturers create air conditioning systems with an enormous range of cooling capacity: from a window AC unit designed to cool down a small room to industrial cooling systems for factories. It’s obvious why an air conditioning system that’s too small to properly cool a space is a problem—the AC will run continuously as it fails to reach the desired temperature. 

But it’s also important that an air conditioning system isn’t too large for a space. The concern with an oversized AC is that it will waste power through a process called short-cycling. This is when the AC becomes caught in its start-up cycle, turning on and off rapidly over short periods of time because it cools down the space too fast. This constant stop-start places an immense amount of wear on the air conditioner and causes it to drain larger amounts of electricity. An air conditioner draws on the most power when it starts up so the compressor can overcome resistance. The results of short-cycling are a short-lived air conditioner that costs too much to run.

Proper Commercial Air Conditioning Sizing

The unit used to measure the cooling capacity of an air conditioner is tons. One ton of cooling equals 12,000 BTUs of heat removed from a space over an hour. (The reason this is called tons is because it’s the amount of heat necessary to melt one ton of ice at 32°F in 24 hours.) Residential air conditioners are from 1–5 tons, light commercial up to 25 tons, and anything over is heavy commercial/industrial. To size a commercial air conditioner, expert technicians must find out the number of tons of cooling necessary to provide proper climate control to a space and then match the AC (or multiple modular AC units) with the same tonnage.

Sizing is a complex process for a commercial facility. It’s not something you can do on your own with a checklist! Commercial HVAC pros must perform what’s known as a load calculation, which takes numerous factors about a commercial space into account: square footage, heat given off by equipment, heat gain through windows, levels of insulation, the number of people on average inside, heat from lighting, etc. The final calculation will give them the necessary tonnage.

You can trust your new commercial HVAC installation to our pros. They have over 100 years of combined experience they’ll bring to your business.

Cool Touch Air Conditioning and Heating is your HVAC contractor in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. Kick back and relax—we’ll keep you cool.

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