Does a 4-ton AC Unit Really Weigh 4 Tons?

One of the most frequently asked questions we get as an HVAC company in Savannah is if a 4-ton AC unit actually weighs four tons. People find it hard to believe that our technicians can handle equipment that is 8,000 pounds.

That’s because it’s not. They actually weigh just a few hundred pounds. An AC unit’s “tonnage” does not mean the weight of the appliance itself.

The reason for this involves some extensive history and science, but the short version is this:

  1. The “4-ton” part of the unit means the air conditioner’s capacity to remove heat from a space.
  2. BTUs are a measurement of thermal heat required to raise 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit.
  3. The number of 4 tons comes from some calculations involving how ice melts (which is how people could cool themselves before the handy invention of air conditioning!), coming out to 12,000 BTUs for 1 ton, which brings us to the“4-ton” designation for some ACs.


The name 4-ton AC unit can give people the wrong idea about the product. It is a common misconception that this means it weighs that much, but in reality, it is referring to the measurement of its capability to cool a space. If you are interested in more information about this or about having Service Emperor install one at your property in Savannah, get in touch with our HVAC company today.

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Tersh Blissett

CEO of Service Emperor and part-time HVAC Guru

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