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McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
What size in tons is my Frigidaire heat pump or air conditioner?
Monday, May 18, 2020
You can determine the size in tons of your Frigidaire HVAC system by examining the model number on the data sticker at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Look at the last two numbers before the last letter of the model number. It will be a number divisible by 6 or 12, and represents the nominal BTU of the system in thousands. A ton of air conditioning equals 12,000 BTU so, for the model number Q3RA-042K, 42 divided by 12 equals 3.5 tons.
Older models may have a slightly different serial number configuration, but you will still be looking for that number divisible by 12 or 6. Here’s a rundown of the range you will encounter: 18 = 1.5 tons, 24 = 2 tons, 30 - 2.5 tons, 36 = 3 tons, 42 = 3.5 tons, 48 = 4 tons, and 60 = 5 tons.
If you are unsure whether you have found the right two numbers, you can double-check it by looking for the “RLA” rating on the data plate. RLA is an acronym for Rated Load Amperage, and is what the maximum amperage should be when the condenser up and running. If you divide the RLA by 6 for older units and 5 or 6 for newer units, you should get a number that approximates (not exactly) the tonnage of the system. Make sure you use RLA and not LRA, Locked Rotor Amperage, which is the surge of amps necessary to overcome inertia and start the system. It averages around five times the RLA.
To determine the age of a Frigidaire system, go to our blog post How can I tell the age of a Frigidaire air conditioner or furnace from the serial number? For the age of another brand or manufacturer, go to our blog post How do I determine the age of my air conditioner?
And to figure out what all the other numbers listed on the condenser data plate mean, go to our blog post How do I understand the air conditioner or heat pump condenser label (data plate)?
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To learn more about heating and air conditioning systems, see these other blog posts:
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