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

A 2000 square foot home needs an air conditioner between 2.5 tons and 5.0 tons, which is equivalent to 32,000 to 60,000 BTUs.

If you choose to use window air conditioners to cool a 2000 square foot home, expect to need from 24,000 to 72,000 BTUs total based on how many rooms you want to cool.

Air Conditioner Sizing is Crucial

Especially for central air conditioning, installing the right size unit, within .5 tons/6,000 BTU, is very important to indoor climate control including comfortably dry air and balanced temperature without fluctuations from room to room. 

Central AC Size For a 2000 Sq Ft House By Zone 

Everyone knows that it’s a lot warmer on the Gulf coast than it is on the Canadian border, so it just makes sense that the AC requirements will be greater down south than up north. Below is a Climate Zone Map with a chart that shows the best recommended size AC for each zone. 

AC Sizing by Climate – 2000 square foot house

ZoneAir Conditioner Size (Ton)Air Conditioner Size (BTU)
Zone 1 & 24 – 5 Ton44,000 – 60,000 BTUs
Zone 3 3.5 – 4 Ton40,000 – 48,000 BTUs
Zone 43 – 3.5 Ton36,000 – 44,000 BTUs
Zone 52.5 – 3 Ton32,000 – 40,000 BTUs
Zone 62.5 – 3 Ton28,000 – 36,000 BTUs
Zone 72 – 2.5 Ton24,000 – 32,000 BTUs

Example: What size AC for a 2,000 square foot home in Florida?

Looking at the chart, Florida has areas with both Zones 1 and 2, and 44,000 to 60,000 BTUs are needed for adequate cooling and dehumidification of the house. Therefore, a 4 or 5 ton central AC system is recommended for a 2,000 square foot house in Florida. 

Do I need central air conditioning in the North? Not necessarily. In Zone 6 & Zone 7, many homeowners prefer using a portable AC as a less expensive cooling option to cool main rooms in their houses.  

Accuracy Counts – Use our Calculator: For more exact sizing for your house, you can use our Central AC Sizing Calculator

Central AC Size For a 2000 Sq Ft House By Design Temperature 

When determining the right size air conditioning equipment for your house, another factor to consider is what is called, “Design Temperature”. For cooling purposes, this can be described as the highest expected maximum temperature for a particular area 99% of the year, with higher temperature just 1% of the time or about 88 hours per year.

For example, the Design Temperature of Denver, CO is 92F, which means the temperature hits or exceeds 92F just 1% of the year.

The table below shows the recommended AC size for several outdoor design temperatures. It is based on a house with average insulation and 75°F indoor design (target) temperature. 

Weather data needed! Obviously, to use this chart, knowing what your location’s design temperature will assist you in accurately sizing your AC.

AC Sizing by Design Temperature for 2000 square foot house

Air Conditioner Cooling Size (BTU)Air Conditioner Cooling Size (Tonnage)Outdoor Design Temperature
20,000 BTU1.5-2 Ton85 F
30,000 BTU2.5 Ton90 F
40,000 BTU3.5 Ton95 F
50,000 BTU4 Ton100 F
60,000 BTU5 Ton105 F
70,000 BTU5.5-6 Ton110 F

Example: What size AC does a 2000 square foot house need where the design temperature is 95F? 

From this table, you can see that if the local outdoor design temperature where you live is 95F, then a 3.5 ton central air system is recommended for a 2,000 square foot house.

This table is based on average insulation and 75F indoor target temperature using the industry’s preferred tool, a Manual J load calculation. You can check your local outdoor design temperature here

Using a Room AC to Cool a 2000 SQ FT House 

You may decide that you would rather cool your 2,000 square foot house with individual room air conditioners. The options for doing that include window, portable, and mini split ACs. The table below lists the common sizes available for each of them.

Room AC Common Sizes

AC TypeCommon Sizes
Window Air Conditioner5000 BTU, 8000 BTU, 10000 BTU, 12000 BTU,14000 BTU, 18000 BTU, 24000 BTU
Portable Air Conditioner8000 BTU, 10000 BTU, 12000 BTU, 14000 BTU
Mini Split Ductless Air Conditioner9000 BTU, 10000 BTU, 18000 BTU, 24000 BTU,30000 BTU, 36000 BTU

Two important things to keep in mind concerning cooling a 2,000 square foot house with room air conditioners: 

1). A room AC is designed to cool one living space. The cooled air may not be able to circulate into all of the spaces that need to be cooled. For example, looking at the Climate Zone map above, a 2 ton (24,000 BTU) central air conditioner may be adequate for a 2,000 square foot house in Zone 7, but a 24,000 BTU window AC located in the living room might not push cool air into the bedrooms. 

2). The BTU output of the portable air conditioners in this table are according to the ASHRAE standard. But the effective BTUs of a portable unit is half to two-thirds that of other AC types. For a true measure of their cooling capacity, the SACC/DOE standard must be used. We’ve prepared a conversion chart from ASHRAE to SACC/DOE for assistance.


How Much Does An Air Conditioner Cost For A 2,000 Sq Ft Home?

$4,900 to $11,300 installed. Yes, prices have gone up from 20% to 35% recently, which won’t surprise you.

Price factors are obvious ones: Your climate and the size AC needed (hotter=bigger AC), the efficiency and performance features of the system you choose and installation complexity encountered by the installers. 


When it comes to cooling a 2,000 square foot house, one size definitely does not fit all. Consider the Climate Zone where you live, how well your house is insulated, how much sun exposure it has, and just how hot it really gets. Use the charts and tools on this page to refine your AC Sizing to ensure it is a good fit for your home. 

Written by

Rene has worked 10 years in the HVAC field and now is the Senior Comfort Specialist for PICKHVAC. He holds an HVAC associate degree and EPA & R-410A Certifications.

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