What size in tons is my GE (General Electric) heat pump or air conditioner?
Monday, May 18, 2020
You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling capacity may be a little more or less than the nominal rating, but it’s close.
For GE, you should look for the second and third of the three numbers in the center of the model number that are divisible by 6 or 12, which represent the nominal BTU of the system in thousands. The model number on GE systems is stamped instead of printed and can be a little hard to read, but the number shown above is BTB718 A100A1. A ton of air conditioning equals 12,000 BTU, and 18 divided by 12 equals 1.5, so the data plate above indicates the system is 1-1/2 tons.
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 find out the age of your GE system, go to our blog post How do I determine the age of a GE (General Electric) air conditioner or heat pump for the serial number? 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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