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If you’ve been on the hunt for a new heating system for your home, you know how many options are out there. You can go with a standard gas or electric furnace, or you can opt for something a bit more modern with a ductless heat pump. The thing is, you still have another choice to make after you’ve picked the type of heating system you want—the size.
For many people, it’s natural instinct to think that the bigger and more powerful your heating system is, the better it will heat your home. The truth is, that’s not the case. In fact, there are many different factors you have to take into consideration to make sure you get the best size furnace for your home.
Factors to Consider
It seems logical that the power of your heating system would be based mostly on the size of your home. That is one thing you have to take into account, but it’s far from the only thing. You should consider the following factors prior to furnace installation.
The local climate is one thing that can determine how much heating power you need. People who live in extreme climates that typically dip below 0 degrees F need a much more powerful heating system than those who only need to use their heating for a short period during the dead of winter.
Your home’s insulation also plays a role. Many older homes have inferior insulation that doesn’t do a very good job of keeping warm air in. Conversely, a brand-new home may have very good insulation which is capable of withstanding the coldest weather; in this case, you may be wasting money on a furnace that’s too powerful.
Similarly to insulation, your windows can also help determine how much heating your home needs. Many older homes have single-pane windows which let a lot of warm air out, while most newer homes feature double-pane storm windows that are much more efficient. The better your windows, the less heating you need. The size and locations of your windows also play a part in this equation.
While many people don’t think about it, many of the things we use in our daily lives actually put out quite a bit of heat. Even a simple light bulb puts out some heat. If you have lots of appliances and fixtures that give off heat, you should size your furnace accordingly to ensure maximum efficiency. Of course, this will vary depending on the number of occupants in your home. The more people there are, the more electricity you’re generally going to use.
You also have to consider what you’re looking for from your heating system. Some people prefer a home that’s warm without being overbearing, while others love nothing more than a boiling hot living room where they can curl up on the couch. Ultimately, your heating system’s size will depend on your preferences as much as other factors.
A Second Opinion
Of course, the only way to really know how big your furnace should be is to enlist the help of a professional. A heating professional can help you figure out the proper size of your furnace using Manual J calculations. If the heating system you’re installing requires ductwork, they can figure out the size of that using Manual D. Both of these methods are approved by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and are used by most professionals.
Figuring out the proper size for your furnace isn’t the easiest task, but you can do it with a little bit of research and careful thought—and if all else fails, you can call a professional.