It’s a big decision when you decide to purchase a new air conditioner for your home. It will determine the comfort of your home for years to come, as well as your ongoing cooling costs. And if there’s one part of the decision that matters most, it’s choosing the right size AC for your home. However, not many homeowners know exactly how to do that. To help, here’s everything you need to know to choose the right size AC for a 2,000-square-foot home and the process the pros here at Xtreme Heating & Cooling LLC use to size AC systems.

A Simple AC Size Estimation Method

If you’re only considering a new AC system for your home and aren’t ready to make any commitments yet, you probably don’t need a precise AC size estimate yet. Therefore, you can use a simple formula to create a rough size estimate for your home. The rule of thumb you can use is that you’ll need about 20 BTUs of cooling capacity for each square foot in your home. This means your home needs an AC that has 40,000 BTUs of capacity.

The problem is, however, that you won’t find central AC systems sold in BTU sizes. Instead, their capacity gets measured in tons. So, you’ll need to do a bit more math to arrive at your answer. In HVAC terms, 1 ton of cooling capacity equals 12,000 BTUs. So, if you divide your estimate by that number, you’ll find that your 2,000-square-foot home needs a 3.33-ton central AC. However, central AC systems only come in half-ton size increments. So, you’ll want to round up to a 3.5-ton system to ensure you’re getting enough capacity for your home.

Factors That Affect AC Sizing

The reason the process above will only yield a rough size estimate is that there are a variety of factors in your home besides square footage that affects how much cooling capacity you need. For example, the size and position of your home’s windows can affect your home’s cooling needs. To refine your estimate, you’ll need to add an extra 10% of capacity if you have large windows that get plenty of sun. Or, if your home sits in the shade during the hottest parts of the day, you can deduct that 10% instead.

Another factor affecting your AC capacity needs is the height of your home’s ceilings. If some or all of your home’s rooms have ceilings higher than 8 feet, you’ll need to multiply your estimate by 1.5 to compensate. This will make certain your AC can handle the additional heat load created by the extra space in each room.

You’ll also need to add at least 4,000 BTUs of extra capacity for each kitchen your home has. That will help to offset the extra heat generated by the large appliances found there. And if your kitchens have commercial-style ovens and refrigerators, you could need even more capacity than that.

The Manual J Calculation

If you need a precise AC size calculation for your home, your best option is to leave the job to a professional HVAC technician. They’ll use something called a Manual J calculation to determine your home’s exact heat load. Manual J is a handbook created by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and is the gold standard for AC sizing. It contains voluminous data about the heat loads added by the various parts of a home.

Plus, it gives the HVAC technician a step-by-step checklist to evaluate things like the R-value of a home’s insulation, the energy efficiency of its windows, and even how the home is typically used. By plugging all of that information into a formula in the manual, an HVAC technician can provide you with an AC size calculation that leaves nothing to chance.

Your AC Sizing Experts

For over a decade, Xtreme Heating & Cooling LLC has offered comprehensive HVAC services, including installation, repair, and maintenance to residents in and around Omaha, NE. We also offer indoor air quality services, geothermal systems, and commercial HVAC services! And our A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau tells you all you need to know about our commitment to excellent customer service and satisfaction in all we do. So, if you’d like to know what size AC your Omaha home needs, call the experts at Xtreme Heating & Cooling LLC today, and we’ll handle the rest!

company icon