Trust us, we get the sense of urgency you get if you’re reading a blog post about getting a new heater near the end of January. With the coldest of our weather upon us, it can be very tempting to rush out and get the most affordable heater you can find and have anyone install it so you can get back to feeling warm in your living space.
But forgoing professional installation or help choosing the right heater for your specific home can be a big mistake. It can lead to comfort problems, safety hazards, and efficiency issues. As for that latter part, there is one problem in particular that can put a damper on things—an incorrectly sized furnace or heat pump. This isn’t something you’ll need to worry about when you work with the right HVAC company in Littleton, CO for the job. Read on as we uncover the importance of properly sizing a heater.
What It Means to “Size” a Heater
When we talk about sizing your heater, we are referring to finding the right sized heater to match your home and comfort needs. But size, in this case, doesn’t mean the actual physical dimensions of the heater. It stands to reason of course that you can’t have a heater that’s too physically big to fit in your home, but most residential heat systems take up about the same amount of space. The size we’re concerned about is the “size” of heating power, or how much heat the system can produce.
The power of your heater is measured in tonnage. This has nothing to do with weight, but the “tons” of heat it can put out—this measurement is based on the amount of heat needed to melt a ton of ice.
Heat Load Calculation
For our techs to determine the tonnage of a new heating system for your home, they must perform what’s called a heat load calculation. This involves taking a number of factors about the house that impact how much heat output is necessary for comfort without energy waste. Some of the factors our techs use include:
- The square footage of the home and volume of the rooms.
- The number of people in the household.
- The number of lights and other heat-producing appliances.
- The type and level of insulation.
- Windows and which way they face (South facing windows bring in more heat!)
- Average weather conditions.
Once our technicians have done this heat load calculation, they’ll have an informed idea of what sort of power your heater needs.
Can You Really Have Too Much Power?
Well, yes. People often misunderstand this about heating systems. Why not err on the side of being too big, rather than too small, after all?
Well, because you can have too much power. An oversized or overpowered heater will cause as many problems as an undersized one. It will go through a process called short-cycling, where it rapidly turns on and off. This means it won’t run long enough to spread heat evenly throughout your home, and the rapid cycling will waste energy and cause increased wear and tear on your heater.
Cool Sunshine Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. has served the Metro Denver area since 1997. We are one big happy family, and we’d like you to become a part of it! Contact us today for custom HVAC services and more.