What Is Ton In AC – An Overview Of The Cooling Function Of Air Conditioners


Professionals in the mechanical engineering fields likely have a better understanding of what is ton in AC. However, for the noobs among us who would rather relax under the refreshing, cooling sensation of an air conditioner, this article discusses the elements that make up the cooling function of an AC.

What Is An AC?

An AC unit or air conditioner is an electronic item manufactured to cool the air and atmosphere in an enclosed area. Air conditioners are common appliances in several households. They are also important components you’d find in workplaces or recreational centers.

During summertime or dry season in some areas, the temperature can spike to uncomfortable degrees. In situations such as this, having an AC unit is pure bliss. The machine effectively cools the air and lowers the temperature indoors for conducive living.

An air conditioner works via a rotational cycle of both refrigeration and purification. Although there are different types of ACs, each one comes with its unique capacity to cool areas of space. Some units have more features than others. And then there are those AC units that are so small yet efficiently balanced to deliver exceptional cooling.

What Is Ton In AC?

When we’re talking about ton in AC, it, by no means, has anything to do with weight. Thus, whenever an AC is said to be 4 tons, it doesn’t mean that’s how heavy it is. Rather, the number gives us an idea of how much heat the AC can suck out of a room within an hour.

British Thermal Unit (Btu) is the most popular unit of measurement for energy use in cooling and heating equipment. It is the quantity of heat needed to rapidly increase the temperature of a pound of water by 1-degree Fahrenheit. A kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity is made up of 3,412 Btu.

Basically, ton or tonnage in AC is its cooling capacity. A ton of cooling describes the rate of heat transfer that is required to freeze 2000 lbs (907 kg) or one ton of water under 24 hours. This is equal to 12,000 Btu per hour.

A powerful 4-ton AC can comfortably remove 48,000 Btu of heat from a home in one hour.

Quick Background of Ton in Air Conditioners

A lot of people don’t know how such a common term as “ton” became a normalized HVAC slang today. Before the invention of the modern air conditioner by Willis Carrier, people cooled their homes in the summertime using ice gotten from lakes and rivers in the wintertime. This meant people staying in hotter regions with no winter season had to cope with the heat as it is. But how does cooling using ice equate to air conditioning capacity in Btu per hour? Read on.

Why Is Air Conditioner Capacity Measured in Tons?

Now, when ice is below freezing point and it absorbs heat, the temperature goes higher. On the other hand, when ice is at the melting point, it absorbs heat, its temperature remains the same. Instead of the temperature increasing, it melts.

Some of us who attended physics or chemistry classes will recall that the amount of heat required to melt ice is referred to as the latent heat of fusion. In imperial units, this translates to 143 Btu per pound.

Basically, that is a lot of heat to pump into a pound of frozen water. As soon as the ice is melted into liquid water, it needs only 1 Btu per pound to increase the temperature to 1 degree. So, if you have a pound of ice at 32° F, exposing it to 143 Btu allows it to melt completely. Thus, it requires only 180 more Btu to shoot up the temperature of that pound of water from 32° F to its boiling point (212° F).

So, if you have a ton of ice, it is going to take (143 Btu/lb) x (2000 lbs) = 286,000 Btu to completely melt the ice. The entire process can take an hour, 10 hours, or 1 year, depending on how rapidly heat is pumped into it.

Over the years, HVAC professionals agreed that the standard reference for heat transference should be 1 day (24 hours). Thus, if the ice melts uniformly over 24 hours, heat is absorbed at the rate of 286,000/24 hours = 11,917 Btu per hour. When this figure is rounded up, you’ll get 12,000 Btu per hour. Thus, a ton of an air conditioning unit’s capacity is equal to 12,000 Btu per hour.

How to Choose the Best Air Conditioner

Whether you want to purchase a new air conditioner or you aim to replace an older one, there are some important things you must consider. For example, you need to take cognizance of the room size and the number of rooms in the home.

If you’re moving to a new home and intend to install an AC unit, you need to check if there’s already a pre-installed ventilation system or if the cooling unit should be outside the house or installed inside the apartment.

If you own or are renting a larger apartment, you’ll need a more expensive and intricate AC unit. This category of air conditioners will ensure that the expected level of cooling required by the entire apartment is evenly distributed.

For homes with fewer rooms, a much smaller AC unit is just perfect. However, you’ll need to factor in the types of seasons and temperature in the region you reside in. If you live in an area where the weather is cooler, you should consider buying air conditioners with lesser tons. But if you stay in a location where the climate is always hot, then opt for ACs with higher tons.

Featured Royal Air Conditioners

Below is a list of recommended air conditioners you can go ahead to purchase when you finally make up your mind to banish heat from your home.

1.   Royal Split AC (BA09RSA)

Energy-efficient and durable, Royal Split AC (BA09RSA) has all the qualities you need from a standard air conditioner. It comes with copper condensers and has a capacity of 9000 Btu per hour. The air conditioning unit also features a low voltage starter that ensures the unit commences operations even in low power supply. This unit has been crafted to deliver faster cooling while steadily operating quietly with low noise.

2.   Royal Split Inverter AC (DB18RSA-INV)

The Royal Split Inverter AC (DB18RSA-INV) has a classic design and an impressive cooling function. It comes with an inverter compressor and a copper condenser that contributes to its rapid cool air distribution. The device comes fitted with an indoor temperature indicator as it functions optimally to purify the air. This Royal Split Air Conditioner variant has an interactive digital display. Its HD filter capacity measures at 18,000 Btu per hour as its energy efficiency clocks at 10.61 Btu per hour. Fully loaded with R410a gas, the AC has a power consumption of 1130Wc.

3.   Royal Floor Standing AC (HW3FAC-INV) 

Royal Floor Standing AC (HW3FAC-INV) has a simple design but operates exceptionally with its 30-second fast cooling feature. This air conditioner also comes fitted with an inverter compressor and has been pumped full of R410a gas. No one wants to listen to the noisy, cranky sound made by a functioning AC and that’s why Royal Floor Standing AC (HW3FAC-INV) has been programmed with a low noise feature so quiet, you’d think its wintertime all over again. The AC comes with copper condensers and has a cooling capacity of 30,000 Btu per hour. The air conditioner with a self-cleaning feature has an automatic airflow function with an indoor temperature indicator.

4.   Royal 2HP Floor Standing AC (TA2RFA) 

This 2-horsepower air conditioner from Royal was built for those who treasure low noise and tranquility. Its sleep mode function can help you get better sleep during those long, humid nights. It comes packed with R410a gas too and features a low voltage starter that allows it to operate even under low power conditions. It features a turbo mode as well as an auto-restart function while its 3D airflow ensures seamless distribution of cool air across the entire apartment. The quick cooling Royal 2HP Floor Standing AC (TA2RFA) has an anti-fungus function that protects you while its anti-rust cabinet helps keep the unit last longer. The AC comes with a free installation kit when purchased from designated Royal Air Conditioner dealers.

5.   Royal Split AC (FB12RSA) 

Royal Split AC (FB12RSA) is the type of air conditioning unit you should get if you live in a small or moderate apartment. The portable unit has a low voltage starter that ensures it functions effectively even under low electrical current. It has copper condensers that help it operate efficiently and transfer cool air rapidly around the room. The AC has a classy design and features a turbo cooling function. There’s also a good sleep mode feature that helps regulate temperature conditions to ensure you sleep blissfully. An indoor temperature indicator allows you to have a clear idea of the current room temperature. The air conditioner has a cooling capacity of 9000 Btu per hour and consumes a reasonable 848 Watts.

Crucial Things to Consider When Purchasing an Air Conditioning Unit

1.   The Air Conditioner’s Size and the Space Available

Before buying an AC, you will have to consider the areas of your home you want to be cooled. For some people, they’d rather cool only their living room and bedroom areas. Other people might decide they want to cool the entire rooms in the apartment, garage, and attic inclusive. Once you decide where you want to cool in your home, it’s easier to choose the best air conditioner for you.

2.   The Relevant AC Model That Fits Perfectly

As soon as you take your available space into consideration, you should think about the AC model that best fits your apartment or building. There are various types of air conditioning units and we covered them in the buying guide article here. There are the split unit AC models made to be hung high on walls. The floor standing air conditioner units can be balanced comfortably in a cozy corner in an enclosed area of space. You can check out some of the ACs discussed in this article to get a better understanding of their functions.

3.   Advanced Features

Lots of air conditioners being produced today come with exciting advanced features. These ACs also deliver a top-notch cooling performance. These air conditioners are nearly unmissable with their attractive striking designs and features like timers, digital displays, WIFI, remote controls, etc. You might even observe some cooling units that come with touchpad controls. Other more advanced air conditioners might boast smart features like indicating when the air is not distributed properly and subsequently redirecting the airflow evenly across the entire room.

4.   The AC’s Price

Upon taking into consideration, the area of space and the AC model that best fits, the price comes next. Now, there are different types of AC, we understand this. Thus, their performances differ from each other. Consequently, to get the air conditioner with the best performance would likely depend on how much you can afford. Although you may be able to afford a high-priced air conditioner, you’ll need to consider the financial costs that come with operating the unit.

Simply put, bigger air conditioners deliver better performances and thus, often require more power to run optimally. That said, your electricity bills would spike respectively and you’d have to pay more than expected. In addition, if you live in a location that experiences hot climate conditions for most of the year, you’ll likely need the AC to operate for longer periods. That’s why you need to be sure your financial capacity can comfortably handle the electric costs that come with running such cooling units.

5.   Warranty and Support

One of the things you ought to consider when buying a new air conditioner is its warranty information. Certain AC models have longer warranties than others. Furthermore, be ready to check the air conditioner’s manufacturer’s website. It can give you relevant information pertaining to after-sales support especially if you intend to consult the retailer on the warranty covering the brand and AC model you intend to buy.


Tonnage or ton in AC is used to describe the cooling capacity of an air conditioning unit. Having an idea of the weather condition in your location and the size of your apartment can help you decide the best AC that would suit your home. Also, be sure to consider the financial implications of running an AC unit, especially if you live in the hotter regions of the globe.

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