I live in a 1100 sq ft trailer and I have 100 amp service and need to know what a central air unit requires. if i need to upgrade to 200 amps. I have gas heat, gas cooking stove, electric water heater.
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There are a few variables that determine the size needed to cool your home - the size of your home, type insulation, are just two. I have a 2600 sq ft home - about 1300 sq ft per floor. I choose to cool the entire second floor (bedrooms and baths) and two of the largest rooms on the first floor (kitchen & living room) via flexible ducts from an air handler installed in my attic. My house was built in 1960, and at the time had electric heat. This means it is fully insulated. I replaced all the windows with energy efficient types, and vinyl sided. I installed soffit, ridge and gable vents to keep my attic well ventilated. I can cool my house in Boston, MA to 70 degrees (when it is 85 degrees inside) with a 4 ton unit in a little over an hour with no problem (one ton of cooling is equal to about 12,000 BTUs). Your condenser should not run non-stop. If it is not cooling then it is not a thermostat problem, but could be a gas charge problem. If you haven't paid the contractor in full yet - that may be the reason why. The contractor should know how much cooling you need for the space you have and installed a properly sized unit. Make sure your air filters on the return are clean and replaced regularly. Call the contractor and explain the problem - he should be able to solve it for you very quickly.
The AC your landlord installed is rated at 8000 btu which is way too small for 900 sq ft. You need at least a 15000 Btu Air conditioner and a 'well insulated' house to be cool.
A good rule of thumb in the AC business says you need 1 ton (12000 btu) of Air conditioning for every 600 sq feet (if the house is well insulated) - if not - then you will need 1 ton (12000 btu) for every 400 sq feet.
So, if you have 900 sq feet and the house is well insulated you should have at least a 15000 btu unit.
If it's not well insulated you will need 24,000 btu.
It is a two ton system. and without doing a heat load Calculation and not knowing the heat load It would not be anything but a guess. But if everything is working properly and the system is clean and with good duct work, than it should be big enough for the size of your house.
Assuming that there are ducts ran upstairs and downstairs, it all depends on the square footage of the living spaces, i.e. bedrooms, living room, dining room, etc. You need an average of 1 cfm per sq ft. For every 1 ton of air, you have an average of 400cfms. So your 5 ton unit will cool/heat 2000 sq ft. A 16 seer unit with a 95% furnace is a nice buy and you will notice the difference for sure. Hope this helps!
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.
GE stopped making AC units probably 20 years ago. The same unit will not handle an additional 1000 sq. ft. I believe it is a four ton unit and about a 6 SEER rating which is way down on the efficency scale. You will need a 5 ton system to handle 2950 sq. ft. The average SEER rating now is 13.5.