When it’s time to replace your old HVAC unit, deciding on the size can be a challenge. Buying a new HVAC unit is a significant investment, and choosing the wrong size will leave your home uncomfortable. Here are some tips for picking the right-size system for your home.
Understanding Size in HVAC Units
Size does not refer to the dimensions of the HVAC unit but its British thermal units, which determine its effectiveness in heating and cooling your home. You will need to select a unit with enough BTUs to effectively control the temperature in your home without taxing the system or causing it to overproduce. You will need around 20 BTUs per square foot of living space.
Why Does HVAC Size Matter?
HVAC size matters immensely. For instance, if the HVAC system is too small, it will run constantly, and your electric bills will skyrocket. Too-large systems will cycle on and off frequently, leading to more significant wear and tear and a reduced lifespan.
Without the correct size, your indoor air quality will begin to suffer. The system will not adequately control the humidity levels, allowing mold and mildew growth.
What Size HVAC Unit Do You Need?
You will need to purchase an HVAC system based on the square footage of your home. If you do not know your home’s square footage, you can multiply each room’s length by the width to get the square footage of each room. Add all the rooms together to get your home’s square footage total.
Multiply your home’s square footage by 20 to get the total BTUs. Energy Star recommends adding 10% more capacity if your home sits in the sun most of the day. You should reduce it by 10% if your home is mostly shaded. You should also increase the BTUs if the following apply to your home.
- You have vaulted ceilings.
- You live in a warm or frigid climate.
- The home lacks insulation.
- The home is brick or a dark color.
- You have a lot of windows.
Ideally, you should contact us to guide you in selecting a new HVAC system. Our technicians at Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. have undergone vast training and have years of experience, so they can help you choose the perfect size. They will survey your home and current HVAC system for the best setup.
Factors to Consider to Determine Your HVAC Size
In addition to determining the above factors, other considerations will guide you in selecting the size of your new HVAC system. We are here to answer your questions should you need any guidance.
How Many People Live in Your Home?
Every human body releases some degree of heat. The more people in your home, the more your air conditioner will need to work to cool the rooms. When manufacturers calculate cooling ability, they assume each room has two people. You must increase the BTUs by 600 per person if more than two occupy the home.
Request an Energy Audit
You can schedule an energy audit with your local utility company. They will often conduct this testing for free. If they do not provide the service, many HVAC companies will. An energy audit can help you determine the HVAC size needs for your home.
Match Your Current Ductwork
Upgrading or downgrading your HVAC unit could impact your ductwork if the two do not match. If the ductwork you currently have does not match the size of your new HVAC unit, you may need to have the ductwork replaced or reworked.
Ensure Adequate Space for the Indoor and Outdoor Units
It is especially critical to ensure you have adequate space if you are upgrading the size of your HVAC system. Remember, the outdoor compressor requires two to three feet of clearance on all sides to allow for proper breathability.
You may need to adjust the installation site by removing landscaping materials. You should also know that the smallest air handlers are 30 inches wide and 50 inches tall. As you increase the size of your HVAC unit, the air handler size will increase, and you may need to make construction adjustments to make it fit.
Professional HVAC Services
Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. is a heating and cooling company that offers many services, including HVAC installation, maintenance, and repair. We are a family-owned and operated company that opened our doors in 1977. Call Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. to schedule an appointment.