What is Ton in AC? Why is Air Conditioner Capacity Measured in Tons?

What is Ton in AC?

When we want to buy a new air conditioner in the summer, the most important questions that come up are, “How much will my energy bill be if I use my 1 Ton AC?” “How much is the power consumption of 1.5 ton inverter ac?” and so on.

For one, installing an air conditioner will, without a doubt, increase your utility cost. One often confuses “One ton,” “two ton,” as the weight of the air conditioner, but they are simply measurement units that measure air conditioner capacities. The amount of power an air conditioner uses is determined by its capacity. As a result, the more the AC’s capacity, the greater the power consumption, and vice versa. Below, you’ll discover all the answers to your concerns about AC, power consumption, and split ac power consumption regarding different options.

What is Tonnage in AC?

An essential prerequisite to comparing Ac’s based on features is, knowing what is tonnage in ac. Tonnage or one ton refers to an air conditioner’s capacity in the HVAC business. British Thermal Units, or BTUs, are used to measure it. The amount of energy or heat required to elevate one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit at sea level equals one British Thermal Unit. Each hour, one ton of air conditioning can remove 12,000 BTUs of heat. Tonnage is crucial since it may be used to calculate the amount of air conditioning unit you’ll need to sufficiently cool your home or wherever you’re placing it.

Most homes will require one ton of ac for every 400 to 1,000 square feet of space, depending on ceiling heights, windows, and circulation. Because the more tonnage an air conditioner is rated for, the more work it is performing, more air conditioning tonnage might mean higher energy expenses. When purchasing a new air conditioning system, ensure it is EnergyStar certified. They are the most energy-efficient devices on the market.

Why Is Cooling Capacity Measured in Tons?

The weight of the air conditioner has nothing to do with the tonnage of the air conditioner. A ton is a unit of measurement for the amount of heat evacuated from a room in one hour. Natural ice was once used to keep a room chilly. So, a ton of refrigeration is the amount of cooling we obtain in a room containing 1 ton of ice in 24 hours. Ice has a cooling capability that is comparable to that of air conditioners. 1 ton of ac means the exact cooling impact of 1 ton of ice. So, if we place one ton of ice in one room and one ton of air conditioner in another, both of which must be the same size, the cooling impact will be the same.

So, in FPS, a British unit system, how much heat is absorbed by the air conditioner? A ton is equal to 2000 pounds in the FPS system (lb). Ice has a latent heat of 144 BTU/lb, where BTU stands for British thermal unit. This indicates that 1 pound of ice absorbs 144 BTU of heat as it begins to melt. In one day, one ton of ice or an air conditioner absorbs 2000144=2,88,000 BTU of heat. 

Now divide the above by 24 to get the heat absorption in one hour. 2,88,000 BTU/hr = 12,000 BTU/hr. This indicates that a 1 ton air conditioner or ice absorbs 12,000 BTU in one hour. In the same way, a four-ton air conditioner collects 412=48,000 BTU heat in one hour. A different ton of air conditioners are required as the size of a room is not the same in all places. So, larger rooms need more air conditioners than smaller rooms.

Calculating The Power Consumption Of Air Conditioners

AC Power Consumption

Using the energy conservation label on your air conditioner is the simplest way to assess your AC power consumption. The yearly power usage for your AC may be found on the energy conservation label on your air conditioner.

To understand the power consumption of a 1 ton ac for 1 hour, we need to know that the kW rating for a one ton air conditioner is nearly 1 kW, which varies depending on the AC model, manufacturer, star rating, and other factors. Typically, the average ratings quoted for 1 ton of an air conditioner are roughly 1.05 kW. 

The capacity of the AC will entirely determine the real power consumption of an air conditioner. So, if the room is heated, 1 ton of air conditioning will use practically all of its rated power in 1 hour. However, if the room is cold, the electricity consumption will immediately decrease since the system will turn the compressor off. As a result, 1 ton ac power consumption per hour is 1 UNIT of electric power.

To manually calculate your AC power consumption, you will need to know the following three things. 

1. The wattage of your AC

Watt is the unit of power, which means the rate of electricity consumption. For example, a 50-watt electric fan consumes power at a rate of 50 watts per hour; it does not mean that the electric fan consumes 50 units of electricity; it will consume power at 50 watts every hour.

2. Operational hours

Operational hours are the number of hours you run the air conditioner during the day.

3. Electricity tariff

Electricity tariff is the amount your electricity provider charges you for one unit (kWh) of electricity. For instance, the electricity tariff in Mumbai is Rs 12/ kWh.

In general, AC power consumption calculation is taken as:

  • 1 ton of cooling = 1,000 watts
  • 1.5 ton of cooling = 1,500 watts
  • 2 ton of cooling = 2,00 watts
  • 3 tons of cooling = 3000 watts and so on. 

Factors Affecting The Power Consumption Of The Air Conditioner

Factors Affecting Power Consumption Of Air Conditioners

1. Number of people in the room

Because the human body releases a lot of heat, a room with 20 people will require a larger size AC or several ACs to cool the air, but a room with three people will need a lower size AC or a single AC to provide the same cooling. As a result, more people equals more power, hence a higher electricity cost.

2. Outside & inside temperature

When the outside temperature is 40 degrees Celsius, it requires more energy to cool a room than 32 degrees Celsius. Similarly, it takes more energy to chill a room to 18 degrees Celsius than to cool it to 24 degrees Celsius.

3. Size of the room

Heat is removed from the air within your room by air conditioners. As a result, the larger the space, the greater the volume of air within, and the greater the amount of power necessary to cool that air. The amount of electricity used to remove heat from a 100 square foot room is less than that used to remove heat from a 200 square foot space.

4. Electrical appliances in your room

Every electrical item in your room creates heat, which raises the temperature in your room and forces your air conditioner to work more to cool the same volume of air, resulting in higher energy usage.

5. Volume of air to be cooled

We frequently leave cupboard doors open, which increases the amount of air that has to be cooled by your air conditioner. Your air conditioner now needs to cool the hot air inside your cabinet as well, which is inefficient and wastes energy.

6. Objects in the room

Every solid object in your room gets cold when kept in AC; this is another unnecessary cooling your AC has to do.

Another factor that should be considered when calculating the power consumption is the mode that the AC is being used in. Using the AC in dry mode, sleep mode, or cooling mode plays a role in the air conditioner’s power consumption.

Note: gas leak or water leak in your AC will also increase the air conditioner’s power consumption.


Now that you know the 1 ton inverter ac power consumption, 1.5 ton ac power consumption, and how to manually calculate the consumption – you can make an informed choice. Whether you have a traditional or inverter air conditioner, the compressor is only turned on 50% of the time. So if you have 4 kWh of electricity, your actual use will be half that or 2 kWh. The lower the star rating of an air conditioner, the less power it uses. However, this does not imply that you should always use a 5-star rated air conditioner. However, before you buy an ac, bear in mind that an air conditioner needs to be serviced regularly to work at its best. So get one while keeping in mind your usage pattern and the warranty period.

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