Whether you’re installing an HVAC system for the first time or replacing your current system, it is crucial to have a system installed that effectively meets the needs of your home. The proper HVAC system size for your home won’t work too hard or not hard enough.
Too large, and your house will always be too hot or too cold, and your energy usage will be double, what with the unit constantly turning on and off. Too little, and your system will burn energy constantly, desperately trying to keep up with the needs of your home.
At Ambient Edge, our technicians can analyze your home and determine the proper HVAC system size for your living space. Give us a call at (888) 240-8283 to get started.
Getting the Size Right
The U.S. Department of Energy holds that most homes in the U.S. have HVAC units that are oversized. There are two reasons for this:
- The initial installation was not set up properly.
- The heating and cooling needs of the home have changed since the initial installation due to renovations, etc.
Getting the size of your HVAC unit right is crucial, else you might as well not install one at all. A licensed professional can help you determine the exact size of the unit you need.
The “Manual J” Calculation
The best way to determine how much energy your home truly needs in an HVAC system is to have a “Manual J” calculation done. You can either hire a professional or request your utility company to perform the calculation – something they should be willing and able to do for free.
A “Manual J” calculation takes several factors into consideration when determining how much energy your home needs, including:
- The kind of insulation, windows, and doors you have
- The direction those windows and doors are facing
- The kind of ductwork you have
- The square footage of your home
- How many people live in the home
Typically, you will need one ton (12,000 British thermal units – BTUs) of air conditioning per 400 to 600 square feet of living space. Once we have determined your energy load, then we can help you select an HVAC system that is most appropriate for your home’s needs.
Deciding on a Unit to Buy
Once you’ve got your load calculation done, it’s time to pick out a new HVAC unit. If you can’t find the exact BTU size you need, always go with the bigger unit of that range. For instance, say your “Manual J” calculation determines that you need 15,000 BTUs to effectively cool your home, but the only units available are 14,000 or 16,000. In this situation, it is okay to go with the 16,000 BTU unit. While it is slightly more than you need, it’s not like blindly buying, say, a 24,000 BTU unit, which would be way too many BTUs for your living space.
A unit that is slightly more powerful than you need can actually be a good thing in that it can compensate for those overly hot or cold days. You just don’t want to upset the balance by getting a machine that is way overqualified to handle even the hottest or coldest nights in your home.
Gas Furnaces vs. Oil Furnaces
There is one mistake that many homeowners make when it comes to appropriately sizing an HVAC unit for their households: they do not know that gas furnaces go by input, rather than output.
With an oil furnace, what you see is what you get. If it says it outputs 100,000 BTUs, then you are getting 100,000 BTUs of energy. So, if your “Manual J” calculation says you need 100,000 BTUs of energy, you buy the 100,000 BTU oil furnace, and you’re all set.
With gas furnaces, on the other hand, you must undercut it. So, if a gas furnace label tells you it’s a 100,000 BTU furnace with 80% efficiency, you’re only getting about 80,000 BTUs worth of power. You need to do the math when buying a gas furnace to ensure you’re not bringing home a unit that will struggle to keep up with the energy needs of your household.
Struggling to Install a New HVAC System in Your Home? Call Ambient Edge!
When it comes to the installation of HVAC systems, getting it done right the first time will save you immeasurable grief down the road. Here at Ambient Edge, not only are available around the clock for all your service needs, but we also offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee on all our parts and labor.
Fill out the contact form on our website or call us at (888) 240-8283. Don’t watch your hard-earned dollars fly out the window on utility bills that are too high due to a faulty HVAC system. Let us install it for you correctly the first time and reap the benefits for years to come!