Air Conditioner Buying Guide
What does “Ton” Mean?
Ton is the capacity of a cooling unit. Your home dictates the size required. You can be 1⁄2 ton bigger without causing any issues to performance or life span.
There are a few ways for calculating AC sizing. The most accurate being a heat gain (manual J). Ballparks/rule of thumb calculations can be achieved via counting the vents and/or internal square footage.
1 Ton of cooling can remove 12,000 btu/hr
Cool up to 700 sqft on a traditional modern home.
Air conditioning requires 3-4 supply and at least 1 16” return run per ton of cooling.
What does “SEER” Mean?
S.E.E.R stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio/rating. Simply a scale like MPG on a car. It’s the maximum potential efficiency the unit can achieve. This is not guaranteed but potential performance.
In today's market, units range from 13-26 seer ratings.
In our region (Southern Alberta) 13, 14.5 and 16 seer are popular choices. 13 seer accounting for the most common choice.
Higher the SEER rating...
- higher the purchase price
- less electricity used
- quieter the unit
- more self-protection technology -usually bigger the unit
Facts to consider
- Maintaining 20-21 degrees normally means 500 hours of run time over 4 months of summer in our region.
- We only pay approx. 5 cents per kwh
- Based on these stats. A 16 seer unit only saves us approx $2.50 a month or $10 a year!
14.5 SEER Confusion Explained
Alberta building code 9.36 states that any home built after Nov 1st 2016 must install a 14.5 seer unit or higher! This is a building code and not an electrical code.
Air conditioner installations require a city electrical inspection (insurance and home resale purposes). The only city currently enforcing this code is Airdrie.