In Texas, we’re used to the heat. But when colder weather comes around, we all appreciate our heaters a little more! Although you may not use it often, it’s important to take careful steps in selecting the correct size of heater for your home. If your heater is too big or too small, you’ll end up paying a major price.
Why Do You Need A Properly-Sized Heater?
An adequate heater will take its time to warm your home. This way of heating is more energy efficient and gentle on your system. So, a correctly-sized heater is an efficient heater!
So, what is the problem with a heater that is too big or too small? In short, they are inefficient for your specific home. But, there are more issues with each problematic size.
The Problem With Under-Sizing
An undersized furnace will struggle to keep up with dropping temperatures because the unit is too small to warm your home. Because of this, systems that are too small for your home will come with even more issues. Some of these problems include:
- Higher energy bills – Small systems will run continuously to warm your home, which consumes energy in excessive amounts.
- Uneven heat distribution – It’s likely that you will notice spots that are too warm or too cold around your home.
- A shortened lifespan – Because your furnace will be constantly running, the system will wear out sooner than normal.
The Problem With Over-Sizing
Bigger isn’t better for heaters. If your unit is too big for your home, it will rapidly cycle on when it’s cold and off when it’s hot. This operating cycle causes a lot of problems, such as:
- Uncomfortable temperatures – While turned on, oversized units quickly heat some areas of your home, but then the system shuts off. This sudden shut-off leaves some areas still cold.
- A less efficient heater – Frequent cycling in a large system uses more energy than a properly-sized heater should.
- Frequent (and expensive) repairs – Cycling also causes intense wear on your unit, so repairs will be frequent.
- A shorter lifespan – Continuous cycling wears down your system fast and this leads to premature system failure.
How Professionals Calculate Size
Heating pros are always the best resource for sizing your heater. They can follow their own guidelines that work as a heater size calculator, and this is usually based on your home’s heating load. British Thermal Units, or BTUs, measure how much heat a furnace produces per hour, which then determines the furnace’s size.
Determining the right size heat pump differs from sizing a furnace in process, but they use some of the same general data. This data includes:
- Climate zones
- Square footage and floors
- Insulation and air leaks
- Kitchen additions
- Sunlight exposure
- The number of people in the home
Using this data and other specifications, technicians can determine how many BTUs a furnace needs in order to heat your home.
Sizing For Furnaces
Heat system technicians follow a much more detailed system to find the number of BTUs your home requires to be heated adequately. However, the main three steps (generalized) are:
- 1. Calculating the square footage of your home accurately.
- 2. Determining the climate zone and its heating factor in BTUs.
- 3. Multiplying your square footage by the heating factor to get the number of BTUs that should comfortably warm your home.
However, this calculation has many more factors that are added in. Your technician will conduct a detailed analysis of your home, detailing the insulation, window sizes, ceiling heights and countless other pieces of data which will affect your home’s furnace size.
Sizing For Heat Pumps
A heat pump is more difficult to size than a furnace, which is why it’s important to have a professional’s guidance. While you can follow a general rule of thumb for furnace sizing, generic “rules” for heat pumps will almost always result in an uncomfortably sized unit.
Instead, heater companies will conduct an energy audit in your home using a blower door test. They combine these test results with additional data like climate, insulation and R-values, home orientation and ductwork efficiency to create a Manual J Load Calculation. This heating load calculation, in Manual J, is the industry standard’s basis for sizing a heat pump.
Choosing The Right Size Heater Is Important
The correct size heater for your home will adequately and gradually warm the air, making it energy efficient. If your heater, which has a heating factor measured in BTUs, is too large or too small, there are countless issues that your system will experience.
While it’s hard to determine how many BTUs your home needs to be warmed properly, you can always trust your local HVAC technician to help! Whether they do an energy audit or meticulous measurements and calculations, you will always get the right result and an accurately sized system.
Your Conroe Heater Installation Team
Finding the right size heating system can be confusing, but not when you trust our team at Air Tech of Conroe! From calculating BTUs to installing systems, we’ll do the hard parts for you, and you’ll get to enjoy a cozy and energy-efficient result.
No matter what air system you need help with, Air Tech of Conroe has solutions. Let us help your home by contacting us today.