Leo's HVAC Tip: Fahrenheit And Celsius

January 19, 2005
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Canada and almost every other country except the United States uses the Celsius (degrees C) temperature scale, which is part of the metric system. In the United States, the Fahrenheit (degrees F) scale is still the official temperature scale. However, more and more, you see both Fahrenheit and Celsius given together, and eventually the Unites States will entirely convert to the metric system and use Celsius instead of Fahrenheit. Even though I grew up with the Fahrenheit scale and know what these temperatures feel like, I have to admit that the Celsius scale makes a lot more sense. For water, 0 degrees C is freezing and 100 degrees C is boiling. Here's how the scales compare:

  • Water freezes: 0 degrees C (32 degrees F)

  • Water boils: 100 degrees C (212 degrees F)

  • Room comfort: 20 degrees to 22 degrees C (68 degrees to 72 degrees F)

    Usually you will work in either Celsius or Fahrenheit, and there is no need to convert. If you are in situations where you need to convert, the simplest way is to carry a conversion chart in your toolbox for the normal range of temperatures. You can also carry these equations in your notebook:

  • To convert Celsius to Fahrenheit: degrees F = (1.8 x C) + 32

  • To convert Fahrenheit to Celsius: degrees C = 0.55 x (F – 32)


    Change 14 degrees C to the temperature in Fahrenheit: (1.8 x 14 degrees C) + 32 = 57.2 degrees F

    Change 97 degrees F to the temperature in Celsius: 0.55 x (97 degrees F – 32) = 35.75 degrees C

    Adapted from Refrigeration for HVAC Cooling Systems by Leo Meyer, from the Indoor Environment Technician's Library series; www.lamabooks.com.

    Publication date: 01/24/2005

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