The understatement of the year might be that all too many homeowners don’t really understand the inner workings of their HVAC systems. This is readily evident by some of the common questions that turn up in search engines, day in and day out.
Let’s get to the bottom of some of the most common and basic among these, which are generally related to capacity. So then, what do 2.5 tons in a “2.5-ton package unit” really mean?
What Does “2.5 Tons” Really Mean?
First off, let’s clear up a basic misconception. No, a 2.5-ton package unit does not weigh 2.5 tons – at least not necessarily. It’s about the cooling capacity of the system, not the weight of the system or its individual components.
Secondly, a 2.5-ton package unit does not actually cool 2.5 tons of air. Actually, the “tonnage” rating is a little bit of a misnomer because HVAC systems are also not rated according to the amount of “tons” of air they can actually cool.
So, while a 2.5-ton package unit may actually be able to heat or cool 2.5 tons of air, it’s really about square footage.
How Many Square Feet Will a 2.5 Ton Package Unit Cool?
Since HVAC units are rated according to their ability to heat and cool “tons” of air, you need to understand the equivalency between air “weight” and BTUs, or British Thermal Units, a standard of heating or cooling power.
One ton of air is considered equivalent to 12,000 BTUs, 2 tons as 24,000 BTUs, 3 tons as 36,000 BTUs, and so on and so forth. Therefore, a 2.5-ton package unit offers about 30,000 BTUs of cooling or heating power.
However, this means precisely nothing to most reasonable homeowners. Instead, we should take a look at the equivalency between square footage and BTU rating.
Let’s just get the bad news out of the way. Unfortunately, there is no simple, single answer to how many square feet a 2.5 ton, 30,000 BTU unit will heat or cool. However, we can offer a range.
You may have heard it said that a 1-ton system can cool approximately 400 square feet – but this is just an estimate. For all intents and purposes, the lower 48 United States are subdivided into 5 climates zones, (Zones 1-5, nothing fancy) with Zone 1 being the hottest and Zone 5 the coldest.
In terms of cooling power, you can expect a 1-ton system to provide cooling power for anywhere from 600 to 1100 square feet of home space. You can expect a 2-ton unit to provide cooling power for anywhere from 900 to 1400 square feet, and a 2.5-ton package unit to cool a home ranging from approximately 1200 to 1650 square feet, depending on the zone.
What Is a Packaged Unit?
There’s one more thing we would like to offer, and that is a note on the difference between a package unit and a simple unit. Package units contain multiple units, typically a heating and cooling element. For example, gas-electric package units (also known as gas packs) contain a gas furnace and an electric air conditioning unit. Dual fuel units typically consist of both a gas and an electric heater (a heat pump), whereas an electric-package unit will have only an electric air conditioner, perhaps equipped with heat strips in order to provide supplemental heat. Some systems will contain an air handler that will help to circulate the air throughout the home.
Package units can offer cost savings to homeowners and also potential energy savings as well, provided the best package unit is selected.
Learn More at Budget Air Supply
To learn more about the relative attributes of energy-efficient packaged air conditioners and heaters for home heating and cooling, visit Budget Air Supply online at BudgetAirSupply.com. They offer both Rheem and Goodman package units, as well as solutions from other industry-leading manufacturers, and their HVAC experts will help you make the best choice for your home. You can also contact their customer service team at 855-473-6484 – and while we’re on the subject, we might as well mention that they offer a price match guarantee on their already low prices – as well as fast, free shipping.