Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Understanding the Air Conditioning System

What year and size is the Air Conditioning system?

Let me show you how you can determine that on your own.  Remember that these dates are NOT installation dates, but they are the manufacture date and typically these dates are close to each other.

First let us understand “Tonnage” is:

Tonnage  The unit of measure used in air conditioning to describe the cooling capacity of a system. One ton of cooling is based on the amount of heat needed to melt one ton (2000 lbs.) of ice in a 24 hour period. One ton of cooling is equal to 12,000 Btu/hr.

This size of an Air Conditioning Unit is based up many factors, such as composition of the building, which way it faces, the number of windows, the amount of insulation.....

Basic Principals of Air Conditioning:

The basic principles of the Air Conditioning System used for Florida.  An AC system is used as a dual purpose.  One is to allow warm air to be pulled into the system, filter this air and then flow across the cold coils and blow cold air into the building.  The other purpose is to pull the humidity out of the air.  This is VERY important.  So with this information – BIGGER IS NOT BETTER!  A house with to0 large an AC system will always be damp and contain that “bone chilling” cold.  If in doubt call a Professional and licensed Heating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) contractor.

  How to determine the age and size of the AC unit:

The age or manufacture date of an AC compressor is usually coded under the serial number portion of the data plate that is present on the side of the compressor (Outside AC portion of the AC system)

Inspection of AC Compressor:

The red boxed area is the Serial Number for this type of unit.  The “L” indicates the month of the manufacture.  “L” being the 12th  letter of the alphabet and the ‘01” being the last 2 numbers of the year, thus meaning this is a December 2001 manufacture date.

Where to locate data plate on ac unit:

This is the area where the data or information from above was obtained.  The exterior portion of the AC system called the compressor.

Congratulations on learning how to determine the age of an Air Conditioning Compressor.  The air handler’s age is determined much the same way.  The air handler is located within the interior of the residence most of the time it is in a closet, garage or attic area.  This applies to the MAJORITY of AC units in SW Florida.  Other types are present, but this will allow you to determine the age of many of the AC systems.

How to determine the size (called tonnage) of an Air Conditioning system:

First of all the size of an AC unit is called a ton or tonnage.  A recap of tonnage is Tonnage  The unit of measure used in air conditioning to describe the cooling capacity of a system. One ton of cooling is based on the amount of heat needed to melt one ton (2000 lbs.) of ice in a 24 hour period. One ton of cooling is equal to 12,000 Btu/hr.

The number to remember is 12,000 BTU’s or more simply 12.  If 12,000 BTU’s is equal to 1 (one) ton of AC then 18,000 is equal to 1.5 tons and 24,000 is equal to 2 tons and so on.

Look at the model number (Located on the data plate stamped on the actual side of the compressor) on the compressor and there should be a number divisible by 12.  It should start at 18 and not be more than 60 for residential AC units.  18 to equal 1.5 tons and 60 to equal 5 tons of cooling

Look at the model number below and you determine the AC compressor size.

The 36 in the model number in the first picture above it means that the AC compressor is equal to 3 tons of cooling.

Once again, size is very important and detrimental to the proper operational status of an Air Conditioning System.
Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905

IBHS Fortified  Certified Inspector  #FEV32561020109

ARA Certified Inspector #20302 (Applied Research Associates)

Florida-State Certified Master Inspector Lic. #HI 89

Certified Owens-Corning Roof Data Inspector

Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector

WDO Certificate #JE190791

InterNACHI #10071802

362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214

Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561

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