Sizing Portable Heaters & Air Conditioners

One of the most common difficulties people have when renting or buying HVAC equipment is deciding what size unit to get. With Tioga, you have options to help make the choice easier: you can use the information below to get an idea of how much power you need to heat or cool your building, or you can call us today to speak with one of our experienced technicians about sizing your heating, cooling, or drying unit.

Air conditioners and heaters are sized by British thermal units (Btu) per hour. A Btu is a basic unit of measurement that refers to the amount of heat necessary to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Without considering environmental concerns, approximately 20 Btu will cool or heat 1 square foot.

Steps for Sizing Heaters and Air Conditioners:

  1. Calculate room area.
    • Square and Rectangular Rooms:
      • Multiply the room length by the room width.
    • Triangle Rooms:
      • Multiply the room length by the room width.
      • Divide result by 2
    • Circular Rooms:
      • Multiply the room radius (distance from center to wall) by itself.
      • Multiply result by 3.14.
  2. Multiply result by 20 Btu. This is the number of Btu needed to heat or cool the area calculated above, barring any environmental factors.
  3. Consider environmental factors:
    • Location: Knowing where your unit will be placed can help determine which system will work best for you - some equipment functions best outdoors, and some indoors, and the temperature around the equipment can also affect its performance in some cases.
    • Mode of Heating or Cooling: Do you know which type of heater or air conditioner you would like to use? Is it important to you that there are no exposed flames in your heater? Do you want to use water cooled or air cooled air conditioning?
    • Power and Fuel Source: Consider your available and preferred sources of fuel and power. Will you use natural gas or electricity to power your heater? What types of plug configurations are available at your site? Some air conditioners require outlets that can supply more power than a standard three prong outlet.
    • Exhaust and Drainage: When selecting an air conditioner, factors such as whether or not your are able to vent hot exhaust air or have a way of draining condensation may affect your decision.

If you need more information regarding the sizing and selection of your heating or cooling rental, call or contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable technicians about your application planning.