What is Ton in AC? How to Choose Right AC Tonnage Capacity?

As a buyer, we need to make sure that we are purchasing the right tonnage capacity of the air conditioner for our room. This simple decision can save our future electricity cost, and we can enjoy a perfect cooling experience for the next few years. This is the first step to select the best AC for home.

An oversized ton AC consumes more electric power which results in high monthly bill.

What is Ton in AC?

what is ac ton

A ton represents the cooling capacity of an air conditioner. It denotes how much amount of heat an AC can remove from a room in 24 hours. We measure this amount of heat in BTU (British thermal unit). Usually, 1-ton AC removes 12,000 BTUs of heat in one hour. Likewise, 2 ton of AC removes 24,000 BTUs of heat from the same sized room. When all the heat is removed, you start feeling cold.

On the other hand, a 2 ton AC consumes more electric power as compared to 1 ton AC. It is because of 2 ton AC’s compressor requires more power to remove more heat from your room.

What is the Meaning of 1 Ton?

1 ton is equal to the heat required to melt one ton (907 Kg) of ice in 24 hours. As we know, 1 ton AC removes 12,000 BTU of heat in one hour; likewise, it removes 288,000 BTU (12,000 x 24) in 24 hours. Finally, we can understand that 1 ton of AC removes 288,000 BTU of heat from a room in 24 hours. However, a large-sized room has more heat, and 1 ton AC is not sufficient enough for it. That is the reason we choose 2 ton or higher capacity AC for large rooms.

Fun fact: There is a misconception that “ton” means the physical dimensional size of an AC unit, which is completely wrong.

Determine Right AC Tonnage (4 Steps)

We can easily choose the best possible tonnage capacity of our AC if we follow these four steps.

  1. Check the size of your room
  2. Check if your room is on the topmost floor
  3. Check if your room is exposed to direct sunlight
  4. If your room is directly in contact with the kitchen

Step 1: Check the Size of Your Room

Based on room size, you can easily find out how much ton of AC you need. Generally, we have been told that 1-ton ac is enough for small room, 1.5 ton for a medium room and 2 ton for a large room. However, if you want precise capacity for your room, there is a simple formula to determine the perfect capacity you will ever need.

ac tonnage capacity selection

Ton Calculation Formula: If your room has a typical height of 10 feet then use this method. Check the length and breadth of your room carefully and follow this formula.

  • Suppose your room size is 12 feet wide and 15 feet long
  • So overall size is 12 x 15 = 180 Sq. Ft.
  • Now take the square root of 180 = 13.4
  • Finally, divide it by 10 = 1.34

So the approximate size you need for 12 x 15 feet room is 1.4-ton capacity AC. Using this formula, you can always determine the right capacity of AC you need. But wait, there are two more steps that might change the tonnage capacity you need.

Step 2: Check if Your Room is on the Topmost Floor

If you live on the topmost floor, you need half (0.5 ton) more tonnage capacity on an AC unit. Why? Because during extreme daylight, the surface of your room gets really hot, and your current capacity of AC may not supply enough cooling. That’s why, if your room’s surface is exposed to the sunlight, get 20% more cooling capacity.

Alternatively, if you live in an apartment or house with more than one floor and your room is located on the ground floor then leave this step and proceed to Step 3. if your area is generally not the hottest, you may also skip this step.

Step 3: Check if Your Room is Exposed to Direct Sunlight

There is a very good chance that your room’s wall gets direct sunlight, especially from the West, South, or South-west direction. If that’s the case with you, consider buying half (0.5 ton) more tonnage capacity in your AC unit. Why? Because we see sunlight coming from West, South, or South-west direction in the afternoon time. This is the time when your room’s walls get extremely heated by the direct rays of the sun. That is why a little more capacity is required to fulfill this temperature gap.

Step 4: If Your Room is Directly in Contact with the Kitchen

If your room (where you want to install the AC) is close to your kitchen, consider buying (0.5 ton) more capacity AC unit.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Large Ton AC

If you think, a higher ton AC is always better, and you may need to reconsider it again. Here are some valid points.

Advantages of Large Ton AC

  • Cools your room fast and steadily
  • Can cool all room sizes

Disadvantages of Large Ton AC

  • Uses more electric power than small ton AC (heavy bill)
  • Causes unpleasantly damp and sticky feel

Tip of the day: If you choose a small size AC for a large room, the AC will take a lot of time to cool the whole area which leads to higher power usage. Also, you get a minimal amount of cooling. So choose your AC tonnage size accurately.

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