What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need For 2000 Sq Ft House?

Many people struggle to figure out the air conditioner’s size that will be sufficient for their new home. However, it is imperative to get your hands on an appropriate unit size so that your home’s cooling needs are met. 

But how can one know the ideal size of the AC unit that their house requires? If you are looking for the same answer, the following guide will cover all your queries. 

For instance, if you have a house of 2000 square feet and you are looking for the perfect size of air conditioning unit, how will you find it out?

What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need For 2000 sq ft House?

2.5 tons is the ideal air condition unit size for a 2000 sq ft house in a moderate climate. 

House Square Footage BTUs Needed
100 – 150 5,000
150 – 250 6,000
250 – 300 7,000
300 – 350 8,000
350 – 400 9,000
400 – 450 10,000
450 – 500 12,000
500 – 700 14,000
700 – 1,000 18,000
1,000 – 1,200 21,000
1,200 – 1,400 23,000
1,400 – 1,500 24,000
1,500 – 2,000 30,000
2,000 – 2,500 34,000

The term “size” for air conditioning systems does not mean the physical dimensions of the machine. Instead, you can define it as the maximum capacity that the system can generate, which is the amount of cool air. Generally, the size of air conditioners can be measured by two units, tonnage and BTU (British Thermal Unit) per hour. Here are their definitions:

  • The amount of energy required to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one ℉ is equal to 1 BTU.
  • 1 Ton is the amount of energy required to melt a ton of ice in twenty-four hours. For a simple approach, you can take 1 ton = 12,000 BTUs per hour for direct load calculations.

Another crucial factor that helps in determining the accurate AC sizing is the cooling load of your home. It depends on two aspects; cubic feet per minute of airflow and the system capacity in BTU per hour, which must be sufficient to maintain a 78-degree temperature in the home.

For residential homes, the range of air conditioning system size varies from 1.5 – 5 tons. A 2000 sq ft house has a maximum requirement of 30,000 BTUs. For a load like that, an air conditioning unit of 2.5 tons is enough. 

AC’s having units that are above 5 tons are compatible with commercial spaces. As these units are large, experts do not prefer them for residential installation.

In case your property requires a unit that is greater than 5, your HVAC service provider will install two system units instead of one so that your space can enjoy a comfortable cooling temperature. However, the most preferred central AC sizes for residential homes range from 2 to 2.5-tonnage.

Load Calculation

HVAC load is a crucial parameter that every homeowner must consider before buying an air conditioner. For a house with 2000 sq ft, 3 windows, 2 exterior doors, and 3 inhabitants, use the following formula to estimate the load: 

2,000 x 25 = 50,000 base BTU 

3 people x 400 = 1,200

3 windows x 1,000 = 3,000 

2 exterior doors x 1,000 = 2,000

50,000+1,200+3,000+2,000 = 56,000 BTU load. 

Factors Affecting Load Calculation

You can consider the following factors for the proper estimation of load calculation:

Your Home’s Construction Materials

The load calculation is greatly affected by the construction material used to build the walls, roof, windows, and foundation of your home. Their insulating properties determine the way moisture and heat flow in and out of your home. For a room with poor insulation, even a 5 ton AC is not enough for cooling.

The Number of Windows

The higher the number of windows, the greater is the amount of heat penetration in your home. Comparatively, a house with two windows will cool much faster with a 2.5 ton AC unit than a space with four windows. 

The Size of Rooms

Smaller rooms do not need large AC systems to maintain a comfortable temperature. On the other hand, bigger rooms demand an HVAC system, which is stronger because of the increased BTU requirement.

Your Home’s Insulation Level

The insulation level refers to the temperature retaining power of a space. It directly depends on the thermal insulation of the material used to build the walls and the number of external openings, such as windows. The higher the insulation level of your room, the lesser the need to install a larger AC system.

BTU to Tons Calculation

As you read earlier, 1 ton = 12,000 BTUs. This calculation makes it easy to calculate any AC system’s tonnage after finding out the BTU measurements.

BTU to Tons Table

The following is an average estimate of AC sizing for varying BTU requirements.

12,000 BTUs 1 Ton
18,000 BTUs 1.5 Tons
24,000 BTUs 2 Tons
30,000 BTUs 2.5 Tons
36,000 BTUs 3 Tons
48,000 BTUs 4 Tons
60,000 BTUs 5 Tons


Tons to Sq Ft Calculation

The manufacturers calculate the tonnage of an AC system by considering the square ft of your property and the climate zone. For different climatic conditions, the ratio of tons to sq ft differs. 

Tons to Sq Ft Table

If you live in a hot climate, HVAC system providers refer to the following tons to sq ft measurements.

1.5 Tons 600 – 900 sq ft
2 Tons 901 – 1200 sq ft
2.5 Tons 1201 – 1500 sq ft
3 Tons 1501 – 1800 sq ft
3.5 Tons 1801 – 2100 sq ft
4 Tons 2101 – 2400 sq ft
5 Tons 2401 – 3000 sq ft

Importance of Choosing the Right Size Unit

It is crucial to get your hands on an ideal size unit of AC system for your house, or else its cooling needs will never be satisfied. When you are shopping for your brand new air conditioner, make sure that you provide them with correct information, including BTU and sq ft of your home, so the sellers can help you choose a compatible system. 

AC Systems to Efficiently Cool 2000 Square Feet Homes

The following are the best AC system options that can cool a house of 2000 square feet or more. Read along to know their pros and cons: 

Central AC

Homeowners living in areas that are consistently hot and moist throughout the year prefer central AC systems. 


  • Consistent temperature control. 
  • Air filtration. 
  • Heating and cooling – both options available. 


  • Higher energy consumption. 
  • Higher utility bills. 
  • Expensive maintenance. 

Mini-Split Systems

Mini-split systems are comparatively new in the market with more advanced features. New-age homeowners are the top buyers of this contemporary AC technology. 


  • Small size and greater flexibility. 
  • Economical in the long run.
  • Ductless technology.


  • High initial investment cost. 
  • Complicated maintenance. 
  • Specific installation area.


Lastly, if you can calculate the BTU and load of your property, you can easily pick up the right AC system for your home. For beginners, this job might feel a bit technical, but if you refer to the calculations mentioned above and instructions, AC shopping will feel like a breeze. 

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