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It is a procedure developed by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) that uses specialized software to determine the correct size required based on the information that is input. Everyone has heard the expression “garbage in, garbage out.” Well, this idea is especially applicable because if the Manual J information is input incorrectly, either by mistake or deliberately, the resulting size calculations will be incorrect.
The following is an example of the type of information used in the Manual J to determine the correct size of an AC unit for a specific home.
The most common formula is requiring 1 ton of cooling power for every 600-800 square feet.
Tighter built and spray foam insulation homes would use a formula of maybe 1 ton per 1,000 square feet of house.
Using square footage alone to determine the size of the unit that will meet the proper cooling (or heating) loads required by the home completely ignores the major role of factors such as climate, insulation type, window values, air infiltration, and many others that would affect load calculations.
This is not intended to imply that HVAC contractors are dishonest, but rather simply to point out the obvious conflict of interest.
After all, inspecting the information input on the Manual J can easily identify fraud or devious intentions.
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