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Look for your model number on your condensor, outdoor unit. Your tonnage will be towards the end of it and divisable by 6. I.E. 36=3tons or 42=3.5tons. Ac units are messured by the half ton. If you have a split system I.E. heater inside and ac outside your system will be 1 - 5 tons. If this doesn't help post your model and serial number. I can then give you tonnage, age, so forth.
This is a 3 and 1/2 ton unit. The 042 in the model number is the tonnage of your carrier unit. AC tonnage is based on 12,000 btu per ton. 12,000.....1 ton 18,000.....1 and 1/2 ton 24,000.....2 ton 30,000.....2 and 1/2 ton 36,000.....3 ton 42,000.....3 and 1/2 ton 48,000.....4 ton 60,000.....5 ton. There is no 4 and 1/2 ton unit.
First off - the 'rule of thumb' is 600' per ton of Air Conditioning. In other words your old unit is a 2 ton unit. So - 2 tons x 600' = 1200'. As you can see if you install the 2.5 ton unit - you will be installing a AC that 'could' cool a 1500 sq ft house (2.5 x 600' =1500 sq ft.). Slightly more than what you need; and the 3.5 ton unit is 'way to big,' (3.5 x 600' = 2100 sq ft.).
Note: fyi - many in the AC business will sometimes refer to tonnage in btu's, i.e. 1 ton = 12000 btu - hence a '2 ton unit' can also be referred to as a 24000 btu unit and vice versa.
So... from the above - you can easily see that "2 tons" of Air conditioning is what is required to cool the 'average' home of 1100 sq ft. "roughly speaking."
Note: it is always best to have a professional 'size' your cooling/heating needs.
One of your questions was could you 'mix tonnage?'
The answer is 'usually you don't mix the tonnage of your outside/inside units.' However, professionals sometimes do (mix the tonnage) in certain situations, and installing a 2.5 ton outside unit with an existing 2 ton inside unit is often done, however, there are some 'tech issues' here and - I would "again" recommend that you call a Service Tech to help you with the sizing/mixing of your cooling/heating needs.
Usually the date plate is mounted on the A/C unit near the power connection. Sometimes you have to remove the access plate for the electrical connection to view the data plate and othe information about the unit.
Just be sure you kill the power to the A/C before you go opening up the access cover to prevent getting bit by the 220V-AC voltage inside!