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How Big of a Central Air Conditioning System Does Your House Need - A Helpful Guide


When it comes to choosing a central air conditioning unit for your home, there's a lot more to consider than just picking the first one you see. The size of the air conditioning system you choose can make a big difference in how effectively it cools your home, and choosing the wrong size can cause all sorts of problems down the line.


So, what do you need to consider when it comes to choosing the right size central air system for your home? Well, first of all, it's important to understand how air conditioners measure their cooling power. Air conditioners use a measurement system called BTUs, or British Thermal Units, to determine their cooling capacity. The general rule of thumb is that you'll need at least 20 BTUs per square foot of your home to keep it cool, but there are other factors that can affect how much cooling power you need. For example, if you have high ceilings or lots of windows, you may need more BTUs to effectively cool your home.

But here's the thing - bigger isn't always better when it comes to choosing an AC unit. In fact, if you choose an AC system that's too big for your home, it can actually cause problems. When an central heat and air system is too big for a home, it will cycle on and off more frequently than it should, which can cause excessive wear and tear on the unit and result in a shorter lifespan. Plus, an oversized AC unit won't do a great job of dehumidifying your home, which can lead to other issues like mold growth and poor indoor air quality.


So, how do you choose the right size air conditioning system for your home? It's actually pretty straightforward. First, you'll need to calculate the total square footage of your home. This will give you a starting point for determining how many BTUs you'll need to effectively cool your space.


But there are a few other factors to consider as well. For example, where you live can also affect how much cooling power you actually need. Our friends that live in cooler climate of the country, can actually get away with a slightly smaller AC system than we can in hot and humid Arkansas. Similarly, if your home is well-insulated, you may not need as much cooling power as someone who lives in who live in one of the older, draftier home in Fayetteville Mount Nord & Wilson Park neighborhoods.


Once you have all of this information, you can use a simple formula to calculate the right size AC unit for your home. Here's how it works:

  1. Multiply the total square footage of your home by 20. This will give you the minimum number of BTUs you need to cool your space effectively.

  2. Divide that number by 12,000. This will give you the number of tons of cooling capacity you need for your AC unit.

For example, let's say you have a 2,000 square foot home and you live in a moderate climate. Here's how you would calculate the right size AC unit for your space:

  1. 2,000 square feet x 20 BTUs per square foot = 40,000 BTUs

  2. 40,000 BTUs ÷ 12,000 = 3.33 tons


Of course, this is just a starting point - there are other factors that can affect how much cooling power you need, so it's always a good idea to consult with a professional HVAC contractor to ensure you're choosing the right size AC system for your home. But by following these simple steps, you can feel confident that you're making an informed decision.


If you're considering replacing or upgrading your aging heat and air system, give the experts at RJW a call. We'll walk you through your options and find the ideal system for your home.

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