There are a lot of things we do to get ready for the winter, whether it’s making sure we have an ice scraper in our car, getting coats, hats and gloves out of storage or installing all-weather tires.
If you’ve ever gone looking for a new HVAC system – or even a window air conditioner or space heater – you’ve probably encountered the initials BTU.
BTU stands for “British Thermal Unit,” and it’s a part of the same system that includes things like pounds or inches, only instead of measuring weight or length, the BTU measures energy.
A BTU is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit at sea level. BTUs allow you to track how much energy an appliance can process to make your space warmer or cooler.
BTU per square foot and determining furnace sizes
To start with, the appropriate BTU per square foot measurement for your home will depend on where you live. People living in, say, Florida will need a lower number than someone living in Minnesota.
Here in the mid-Atlantic region, you’ll typically need 40-45 BTUs per square foot. To determine the proper furnace size for your home, multiply the appropriate BTU per square foot by the square footage you need to need.
Let’s say you live in a 2,000 square foot home in southeastern Pennsylvania, meaning your BTU per square foot number is at 40-45. That would mean you’d need an 80,000/90,000 BTU HVAC system to heat and cool your home.
BTUs are an important factor in home heating and cooling. Choose a unit with insufficient power, and you’re left feeling too warm in the summer, too cold in the winter and paying a higher than necessary energy bill.
However, there’s more to determining what size heating and cooling unit you need than just BTU per square foot. Consider these factors as well:
1. Your house
In addition to the size of your home, you’ll need to consider some other factors. For example, if your living areas face south, you’ll get more sun – and therefore more heat – in the winter months.
Then there’s the construction of your home. If you’re living in a brick house, you’ve already got more natural insulation than someone living in a home with wood siding.
There are even some external factors that can affect your heating needs. If you’ve got a lot of trees or shrubs planted around your house, you’ll have an extra layer of protection against cold air.
2. Your local climate
As we indicated earlier, the part of the country where you live can determine the size of the furnace you’ll need. Someone in Maine, with its often brutal winters, would want a bigger, more powerful furnace than someone living in a more temperate climate.
Furnaces are required by law to have an efficiency rating of at least 80 percent, and higher-quality heating systems will usually hit 98 percent.
This means two furnaces could be the same size but provide substantially different levels of efficiency. You could purchase a smaller furnace with a higher efficiency rating and still get the same amount of heat as a larger unit with a lower efficiency rating.
Working out which size furnace to choose isn’t something you want to tackle on your own. A qualified HVAC contractor can look at all the factors we’ve discussed here—from home size to efficiency to BTU per square foot – and determine what sort of heating system is right for you.
If you’re preparing to switch to a new heating system, All Seasons Comfort Control can help. For more than 15 years, we’ve worked with Bucks County area homeowners to make sure they’ve had the HVAC service that’s right for them. Contact us today to learn more.
Warranties can be tricky.
We all want the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we won’t have to pay too much to repair fairly new products.
But not all warranties are the same. Some offer more than others, which is why it pays to do some research before you buy. In this blog post, we’ll look at what to expect from a good HVAC warranty.
When you bought your home, your heating system seemed solid. But now that you’ve lived there for a few years, you’ve noticed some problems.
Heating and cooling bills that are higher than normal. Rooms that seem too warm or not warm enough. You’re considering switching to a new kind of system (gas instead of oil, a boiler rather than a furnace), but the idea seems daunting.
Your living room gets warm, so warm in fact that you find yourself falling asleep in front of the TV.
Then you go to bed and find yourself loading up on blankets so you aren’t shivering through the night.
It’s an uncomfortable situation, but one that can be easily remedied with a zoned heating system.
What is a zoned heating system?
A traditional heating system uses one unit that heats or cools the entire building. With a zoned heating system, a network of smaller, energy-efficient units sends warm (or cool) air into different sections.
The most common zone system splits the first and second floors into distinct areas, although you can always have other zones added. It’s a great system for people who tend to spend most of their time downstairs during the day and head upstairs in the evenings.
A zoned heating system has three main components: an outdoor unit, an indoor unit and a control system. The system works by transferring heat to and from the outdoor unit to indoor units, which are connected by pipes containing refrigerant.
What are the benefits of a zoned heating system?
There are several benefits to switching to zoned heating, including:
- Saving on energy costs – Combined with a programmable thermostat, a zoned heating system will allow you to realize significant energy savings. You’re not spending money heating sections of your home that don’t need to be heated
- Everyone’s comfortable – Your family members might have all have different preferences for temperature settings. A zoned heating system can allow you to keep each bedroom at the setting they desire, while also eliminating uncomfortable hot and cold spots around the house.
- It’s not just for heating – A system that provides you with zoned heating can also do zoned cooling, allowing you to be as comfortable in summer as you are in winter.
Is a zoned heating system right for my home?
There are several different types of homes that do well with zoned systems:
- Any home that has more than one story
- Homes that have finished, livable basements
- Older or historic homes where it would be impossible, or at least impracticable, to install traditional ductwork
- Homes that have rooms that you don’t use because they either get too hot or too cold
- Homes with high ceilings or big windows
Is my home ready for a zoned heating system?
Are you embarking on a major a home renovation project? It might be a good time to modernize your HVAC system too.
And if you’re updating your old, ducted HVAC system, why not try something new in its place? Instead of a ducted system, go with a newer, multi-room version, which can still utilize your existing ductwork while giving you a more efficient and comfortable heating solution.
If you don’t have ductwork, don’t worry. A zoned heating system will still work once you place indoor units around your house.
As Mitsubishi Electric – who makes the zoned heating system we use – puts it on their website:
“No walls need be torn down, and the units can be carefully placed to blend into the aesthetics of both the interior and the exterior of the home. They eliminate the logistical and cosmetic challenges that come with a traditional, forced-air system. They also allow you to experience room-by-room comfort.”
If you think multi-zone heating will work for your home, contact All Seasons Comfort Control. We can examine your home and find the best possible heating solution, so your family will be warm and comfortable without having to worry about a massive energy bill.
Bigger doesn’t automatically equal “better.”
Just think about your computer. It’s a fraction of the size of its ancestors from 30 years ago, but infinitely more powerful.
The same rule applies to your home heating system. Install one that’s too big and you can end up wasting energy. On the flip side, a gas furnace that’s too small won’t keep you warm enough.
We’ll often compare buying a new HVAC system to purchasing a car. They’re both big investments and should both come with some level of protection.
And just as you wouldn’t drive a new car off the lot without asking questions about its warranty, you shouldn’t have a new heating and cooling system installed without first knowing as much as you can about the warranty that comes with it.
It’s hard to understate the importance of the filter inside your heating and cooling system.
Not only does it keep your HVAC system running efficiently, it also helps improve the air quality in your home. The filter cleans the air that passes through your system by trapping and holding different particles and contaminants that can hurt the quality of your air, not to mention your health. These include:
Is your traditional heating and cooling system not up to par?
It might be time to consider something new. And that new system might be a zoned system from Mitsubishi. For homes not fitted with existing ductwork, it’s an ideal way to heat and cool the home.
In this week’s blog post, we’ll look at a few of the benefits of a Mitsubishi zoned system.
We all want to think we’re handy around the house. And while it’s a good idea to know the basics of household maintenance, it’s important to follow safety guidelines as you work around your home.
This is true whether you’re planning on climbing a ladder to clean out your gutters, firing up a power saw, or heading into the basement to see why your furnace is making a weird noise. In this blog post, we’re going to look at some of the basics of HVAC safety.