Air conditioning is generally powered by electricity - which is seldom free of charge. Knowing this, you may wonder how many watts a 2-ton air conditioning unit uses. Here, we thoroughly answer your question using up-to-date research and industry professional knowledge.
The watt requirement of a 2-ton air conditioning unit varies based on the specific air conditioning model and manufacture. 2 tons is a measure of the cooling capabilities of the AC unit, while watts is a measure of instantaneous energy requirements. Depending on the SEER rating, a 2-ton air conditioner usually uses between 500 watts and 7,033 watts.
Keep reading the rest of this post for a more detailed discussion on watt requirements of AC units. This includes a full analysis of what the SEER rating represents and a handy equation for calculating your watts based on tonnage and SEER. To conclude, we answer several related questions.
How Many Watts Does A 2 Ton AC Use?
The following subsections discuss different ways to measure air conditioning unit output and energy requirements. This includes tons, BTU/hour, watts, and SEER.
What is a 2-ton air conditioner?
The "2-ton" label for an air condition refers to how much cooling the unit can produce in a single twenty-four-hour period. Interestingly, this cooling capacity unit harks back to when ice blocks were the only way to cool a home effectively.
1-ton of ice equates to about 12,000 BTU/hr of cooling capacity. Therefore, a 2-ton AC unit will output about 24,000 BTU per hour of cooling.
What are Watts?
As stated above, watts are a measure of how much instantaneous electricity an air conditioning unit uses. In this sense, watts are similar to BTU/hr. The two units can be converted back and forth directly. The equation for this conversion is:
1 Watt = 3.41 BTU/Hour.
Thus, our 24,000 BTU/hour 2-ton air conditioning unit requires approximately 7,033 watts. But wait, this conversion assumes that the air conditioning unit in question only creates cooling capacity in direct proportion to the watts required.
Instead, different air conditioning units are efficient to different degrees. For example, if a 2-ton AC unit were 200-percent efficient, it would only require about 3,517 watts or half of 7,033 watts. The SEER most commonly measures air conditioner efficiency.
What is the SEER rating of an Air Conditioner?
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. A SEER of 1 would mean that for each unit of energy the air conditioning unit consumes, one unit of cooling is produced. Fortunately, it is common for air conditioning units to have SEERs in the 12 to 15 range and up into the high 20s.
For example, an air conditioning unit with a SEER of 12 would produce 12 units of cooling for every single watt of energy used. If our 24,000 BTU/hour 2-ton unit had a SEER of 12, it would only require about 586 watts to run.
How to Calculate Watts based on Tons and the SEER?
Using the information we have just learned, we can create an equation that outputs watts based on tons and the air conditioning unit's SEER rating. First, we have to convert tons to BTU/hour. These equations are as follows:
BTU/hr = Tons * 12,000
Watts = (BTU per Hour/3.41) / SEER
Now, we can easily understand the total watts of our 2-ton air conditioning unit based on that unit's efficiency. The better the unit's efficiency, the fewer watts are required to make the same amount of in-home cooling. This saved electricity converts to a reduction in cooling costs.
Try Checking The Appliance's Literature
Take note, rather than going to the trouble of performing calculations and learning about these rather complicated electricity principles. It is usually possible to read the watt requirements on the label of the 2-ton air conditioning unit in question.
Usually, these labels are under some sort of cover that protects the appliance's inner workings. Other times, you may have to reference the owner's manual or put in a call to the equipment manufacturer to get the watts needed.
How many amps does a 2 ton AC pull?
As for watts, every 2-ton air conditioning unit does not pull the same amount of amps. However, if you know the watts that your air conditioning unit requires and the voltage of the power that your air conditioner is connected to, you can easily calculate the amps.
Above, we learn how to understand or calculate the watts that your air conditioning unit needs. However, we still need to understand the volts.
Identifying the Voltage
The exact voltage requirements for your air conditioning unit depend on the local standards. However, almost all air conditioners in the United States require a dedicated 220-volt or 240-volt circuit. Usually, you can find out the exact volts by reading your circuit breakers, or you can assume 230-volts.
Calculating the Amps
Now that we have watts and volts for your air conditioner, you can use the following equation to calculate amps.
Amps = Watts / Volts
For example, a 2-ton air conditioner with a SEER at 12 uses 568 watts. Divide 568 watts by 230 volts to get about 2.5 amps. A less efficient unit will use many more amps.
What size generator do I need to run a 2.5 ton AC unit?
Like 2-ton air conditioners, all 2.5-ton air conditioning units will have different power requirements. Rather than recommending a certain generator size to run all 2.5-ton air conditioners, we will once again make recommendations based on your individual unit.
Finding the Kilowatts
First, either calculate or identify the watt requirements of your air conditioning unit. Now, covert the watts into kilowatts using this equation:
Kilowatts = Watts / 1000
Kilowatts are essential to understand because most generators are rated based on their kilowatt output. Now, all you need to do is get a large generator to output the required kilowatts.
Do you need a larger generator?
Usually, you will want a generator that will run many appliances, including your air conditioner. This means you may want a generator much larger than the kilowatt requirements of your air conditioner alone.
How many sq ft will a 2 ton AC cool?
The exact square footage that a 2-ton air conditioner will cool depends on the outside temperature, your home's weatherization, and the layout of the space in question. However, a 2-ton air conditioner is generally agreed to be appropriate for about 1,000 square feet to 1,200 square feet.
Very hot climates inevitably also lead to much more heat seeping into your house. This means that the air conditioner must work harder to remove that heat from the air. Therefore, a 2-ton air conditioner will be able to cool more space in a more moderate climate.
Weatherization refers to your home's air sealing and insulation. The better these two features are, the harder it will be for heat to enter your home. Thus, a 2-ton air condition can handle a larger space if that space is very well insulated and air sealed.
Finally, cool air does not effortlessly move through a home or building. Instead, it must work its way around corners and under doors. Because of this, a 2-ton air conditioner will be less effective at cooling a smaller space if that space is significantly broken up.
If your air conditioning unit is ducted, it will likely be able to cool larger square footage than if it were not ducted.
Is it better to undersize or oversize AC?
The short answer is neither. Both undersized and oversized air conditioning units come with downsides that lead to more energy use than is necessary. In terms of cooling, an oversized air conditioner is better than an undersized one.
If the air conditioner is undersized, it will run almost continuously and may not even be able to cool the space. If it is oversized, it will turn on and off frequently, using more energy than a properly sized air conditioner.
To learn more about air conditioning units, read these great HVAC Seer articles:
- Older Home With No Ductwork? Here Are Your Air Conditioning Options
- High-Velocity Air Conditioning Vs. Mini Split
- Portable Air Conditioner Leaking Water – What Could Be Wrong?
In this post, we answered the question of how many watts a 2-ton air conditioning unit uses. This includes a discussion on air conditioning amp requirements and SEER rating.