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Choosing Your Home’s AC

How To Size Your Air Conditioner

Knowing what type of air conditioner works best for your home requires understanding how capacity relates to unit size. Sometimes, you don’t need a large AC for the most reliable or energy-efficient cooling.

Small, mid-sized, or custom-fit ACs can be tailored to the power capacity that your household needs. If you’re struggling to choose the correct air conditioner for your home, we’ve got a sizing guide to help.

The Basics of AC Sizing

In HVAC speak, an AC unit’s “size” doesn’t necessarily refer to the amount of space it takes up. “Size” refers to an AC’s cooling capacity. Standard air conditioning systems from major suppliers like Carrier Global are measured in British thermal units (BTUs) to capture the energy generated per hour or by ton.

Industry professionals gauge that around 20 BTUs average a square foot of space. A window AC may clock in between 5,000 and 10,000 BTUs per hour, totaling its coverage of around 100 square feet of space. By comparison, a whole-home central air conditioning system usually falls between 20,000 and 50,000 BTUs since it requires a greater output over a larger zone.

Other Factors To Consider

The main thing to focus on is your home’s square footage. By choosing an air conditioner that falls within the appropriate range for your house size, you’ll save on energy and costs.

If you’re interested in installing individual room units, start by calculating the square footage of each room by measuring its length and width and multiplying those two numbers together. From there, you can tally up the square footage of all rooms to get your house total.

The general rule of thumb is to multiply the total square footage of your home by 20 to determine how many BTUs you’ll need.

Call for an Expert Opinion

Before you make any costly DIY mistakes, we recommend consulting with a Total Air professional for AC sizing or installation. Our certified technicians protect your investment by helping your household choose the right AC based on the BTUs scale.

Our goals are simple: Save you money in the long run and deliver on comfort.

Why Total Air?

The Dallas metro area has relied on Total Air for whole-home HVAC since 1957. As one of the region’s top service providers, we excel in customer care matched by superior results. We’re not comfortable until you are, going above and beyond for our community with 24/7 emergency service, so help is always a call away.

If you’re unsure what size air conditioner is best for your home, speak to a Total Air pro today. Our experts have the latest industry insights to help you make a confident choice.

For the best cooling and heating services in North Dallas, TX, call Total Air at 972-881-0020 to schedule an at-home appointment.


What other internal factors should I consider when it comes to AC sizing?

We suggest factoring in airflow when it comes to multi-story homes and counting the number of windows in each room. While newer homes are fully insulated, older properties can be harder to regulate since they leak air.

Will my ductwork need to be replaced if I get a new AC?

While a replacement isn’t always necessary, and a technician can likely connect your new AC to the existing ductwork, we still recommend a pro inspection. Ill-fitting ductwork can reduce your AC’s efficiency.

How large should the AC be if I need to cool 2,000 square feet of space?

For a 2,000-square-foot space, you’ll need an AC unit of around 3 tons. Every 12,000 BTUs is exactly 1 ton.

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