How Do You Calculate a Commercial Air Conditioner?

Whether considering a new commercial HVAC unit or replacing an existing one, assessing its suitability for your building is essential. This is because any commercial HVAC system’s size directly impacts its cost, performance, and other maintenance factors.

If you purchase the wrong size, you’ll likely overwork the unit to meet your cooling demands, leading to high utility bills. On the other hand, a bigger unit will cost more to buy and run and will leave behind excess humidity, which can be uncomfortable. In this article, we will help you calculate a commercial air conditioner.

Things To Consider When Sizing Your HVAC System

Here are the things to consider when sizing your HVAC system.

  • Square footage
  • Climate
  • Amount of Insulation
  • Building materials for walls and floors
  • Window type, number, and condition
  • Presence of heat-generating appliance
  • Number of building occupants

How To Pick the Right Size of HVAC for Your Business

You can find a commercial HVAC sizing calculator online or use the factors we’ve listed above to get a precise calculation. HVAC units are measured in British Thermal Units or BTU, representing the heat required to warm a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. An HVAC calculator helps estimate the amount of heat loss from buildings during the coldest climates.

In some cases, the lighting, occupants, and building activity can help compensate for heat loss. For instance, a restaurant is likely to be warmer due to the high amount of cooking and hot food being served everywhere across the space. Here is the step-by-step process you can follow to calculate your BTU requirements.

  1. Determine the facility’s square footage or specific areas that need cooling. Note that this HVAC calculator applies a standard 8-foot high ceiling. You will need a more extensive system if your business building has a higher ceiling.
  2. Divide the square footage by 500 and multiply what you got from the first step by 12,000 to achieve the base BTU number you will likely need to meet your heating and cooling requirements
  3. Add 300 Btu for each person who occupies the space. If you can’t arrive at a precise figure, use the daily average for ballpark estimates.
  4. For each window in the area, add 1,000 BTU. Include an additional 1,200 BTU for each kitchen present.

Why Is Professional Sizing Helpful?

Your HVAC system must be appropriately sized to help ensure optimal performance and energy efficiency. An undersized system may not cool your building sufficiently. It will be forced to work overtime to compensate, which causes premature wear. Similarly, an oversized unit will cause temperature swings and cold and hot spots, leaving excess humidity behind and causing energy waste.

A cooling technician can determine your commercial HVAC size. They can use procedures outlined by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), which provides well-rounded data that considers the floor space, window size, ventilation, and other factors.

For all your heating and cooling needs in Minneapolis, MN, contact Air Climate Control Inc today. We serve commercial establishments of all kinds, including warehouses, offices, and restaurants. Call us today for a FREE estimate.

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