When it comes to AC units, industry experts often throw around a lot of words that sound pretty complicated. For example, when someone talks about a “ton” of air conditioning, they aren’t referring to weight. Understanding some AC terms can be helpful when it’s time for you to rent. We breakdown some of the important facts.
What’s a BTU?
The British Thermal Unit (BTU) is measure of the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one lb. of water by one degree Fahrenheit. It’s a common unit of measurement for air conditioning and heating equipment.
So, What’s a Ton?
A ton has nothing to do with weight in the air conditioning world. A ton of refrigeration is the amount of heat needed to melt a ton (2,000 lb) of ice at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. There are 12,000 BTUs to one ton. Most air conditioners are rated in tons or BTU, so a 4-ton unit is 48,000 BTUs.
Choosing the Best Cooling Option for You
It’s a good idea to understand what kind of cooling you need when choosing to rent a spot cooler. Generally, in a comfort cooling setting, you can estimate one ton of cooling for every 500 square feet (assuming you have a standard 8-foot ceiling). In a more densely populated, cross ventilated area, we suggest one ton of cooling for every 250 square feet.
Keep in mind, when renting a unit, you’ll want to anticipate how many people are working in the area that is being cooled. In general, each individual person generates roughly 600 BTUs.
Use our BTU calculator to determine how much cooling you’ll need. Simply enter the cubic footage of the area (don’t forget to multiply the area of the room by the room height) that needs to be cooled. Then choose 3, 4 or 5 for the air retention rating (3 being an office, and 5 being a tent).