How Many Square Feet Does a 3 Ton Air Conditioner Cool?

If you are looking to install an air conditioner, it is important to get the right size. Luckily some charts can help you decide which size to go with. There are other factors to keep in mind when choosing an air conditioner.

A 3-ton air conditioner will cool between 1500 and 2100 square feet. Your climate zone and other factors affect how many square feet your unit will cool. This article will look at those factors and explain how to choose the right size for you.

How Many Square Feet does a 3-Ton Air Conditioner Cool?

A 3-ton air conditioner cools between 1500 and 2100 square feet, depending on your climate zone. Other factors affect how many square feet your air conditioner can cool. If the house or building you want to cool is well-insulated, the AC system you choose will cover more square feet.

House Square Footage BTUs Needed
100 – 150 5,000
150 – 250 6,000
250 – 300 7,000
300 – 350 8,000
350 – 400 9,000
400 – 450 10,000
450 – 500 12,000
500 – 700 14,000
700 – 1,000 18,000
1,000 – 1,200 21,000
1,200 – 1,400 23,000
1,400 – 1,500 24,000
1,500 – 2,000 30,000
2,000 – 2,500 34,000

Factors Affecting Air Conditioner Sizing

Certain sized air conditioning systems can cover a large range of square feet. Since there is some overlap, you can choose different size air conditioners that cover your square footage.

The following factors affect how many square feet an air conditioner can cool. To find the right size air conditioner, you must take these factors into account.

1. Do you have brick or timber construction? The building materials used in your home affect the square footage that an AC unit can cover. Brick homes are not as insulated as homes made with wood framing.

2. Is it shaded? If tall trees surround your home, the shade provided can help your air conditioning unit tremendously. This factors in when choosing which size air conditioning unit you need.

3. How large is the western aspect? This refers to how your home is facing, affecting how much sunlight gets in through the windows. A west-facing home receives the most sunlight in the afternoon when the sun is the strongest. This negatively impacts your air conditioner’s efficiency.

4. How many windows do you have? The amount of windows you have affects how well your AC works. A large amount of windows means more sunlight can get in. Sunlight heats your home, making your AC work harder than it needs to.

5. What are you doing in the house? Are you renting out your home gym or starting a greenhouse? If you are increasing body heat or increasing your home’s humidity, these factors affect how much your air conditioner has to work.

6. How many people are there? The more people there are in your home, the harder it is for the air conditioner to counter the effects of body heat. Think about how many people will be in your home when considering which size AC unit to install.

7. What are the ambient design conditions for the house? Ambient design conditions refer to the frequency of extreme weather conditions. Frequent heat waves affect how hard an AC system has to work.

If your home is well-insulated, has few and newer windows, etc., you can use a smaller sized system that covers your total square footage.

What is a Ton of Refrigeration?

A ton of refrigeration is the unit of power that describes the amount of heat an air conditioning unit can remove in one hour. 

How Many Square Feet are in a Ton? – AC Tonnage Calculation

Six hundred square feet equals one ton of refrigeration. (0.0016 tons/square foot) Using this calculation can help you determine which size air conditioner to buy for the square footage you have. 

The more square footage you have, the more tons of refrigeration you need in your air conditioning unit. While square footage is the crucial factor when deciding which AC unit to go with, other factors also affect which one you should choose. 

If your home is well-insulated, doesn’t have very many windows, and is shaded, you can go with a lower refrigeration ton that still covers your square footage. On the other hand, if your home is not well-insulated, has many west-facing windows, or you live in a climate that is prone to heatwaves, you should go with a higher refrigeration ton.

Tonnage table

A tonnage calculator can help you figure out the right amount of tonnage you need in your air conditioner. 

Area (Square Feet): BTU Tonnage
600 sq ft 12,000 1 Ton
900 sq ft 18,000 1.5 Tons
1,200 sq ft 24,000 2 Tons
1,500 sq ft 30,000 2.5 Tons
1,800 sq ft 36,000 3 Tons
2,100 sq ft 42,000 3.5 Tons
2,400 sq ft 48,000 4 Tons
2,700 sq ft 54,000 4.5 Tons
3,000 sq ft 60,000 5 Tons
3,300 sq ft 66,000 5.5 Tons
3,600 sq ft 72,000 6 Tons

Importance of Choosing the Right Size Unit

The right size AC unit makes all the difference in performance. One that is too large will short cycle, meaning it won’t dehumidify the entire space. An air conditioning unit that is too large will also increase operating costs and have a reduced lifespan because it cycles on and off more frequently than the correct size.

Use a sizing chart to determine the correct size air conditioner you need based on your climate and other factors.

When deciding how many tons of refrigeration you need, square footage is the most important factor. You need 0.0016 tons of AC for each square foot, or more simply put, for every 600 feet of square footage you need to cool, you need one ton of refrigeration.

A 3-ton air conditioner will cover between 1500 and 2100 square feet, depending on how well-insulated your home is, weather conditions and climate, whether or not you have many west-facing windows, whether or not your home is shaded, and how many people are in your home and what they are doing in your home.

These factors are important to take into account when choosing what size air conditioner to get. If the above factors are in your favor, you can get a smaller AC unit that covers your square footage. 

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