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). Ballpark/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 sq. ft. 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 put, it is 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 accounting for the most common choice.
Higher the SEER rating...
- higher the purchase price
- less electricity used
- quieter the unit
- more self-protection technology
- typically a bigger unit
Facts to consider
- Maintaining 20-21 degrees normally means 500 hours of run time over 4 months of summer in our region. (Ontario 3000 hours).
- We only pay approx. 5 cents per kwh (Ontario 18 cents)
- Based on these stats. A 16-seer unit saves us approx. $2.50 a month or $10 a year! There are other reasons for purchasing a 16-seer unit but utility savings isn’t top of the list.
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).