What size in tons is my Magic-Pak heat pump or air conditioner?
Wednesday, May 20, 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 Magic-Pak, you should look at the last two numbers of the model number that are divisible by 6 or 12, which represents the nominal BTU of the system in thousands. A ton of air conditioning equals 12,000 BTU so, for the model number HWC8R6009P30A, 30 divided by 12 equals 2.5 tons. Another example is HWC8N4809P24, which is 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. For units that have electric resistance or gas heat, the two numbers following the single letter in the center of the model number are the thousands of BTU of heating capacity—so the previous examples have 60,000 and 48,000 BTU heat.
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 Magic-Pak system, go to our blog post How can I tell the age of a Magic-Pak heat pump or air conditioner 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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