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.
If you’re wondering “What size furnace do I need?” consider these factors.
1. Your house
When you ask, “What size furnace do I need?” and we’ll answer with a question of our own: How big is your home?
The size of a furnace is based on how much heat it can generate each hour. This is measured in British thermal units, more commonly known as BTUs.
Larger homes will typically need more BTUs to keep warm. Use these figures to determine what size furnace you might need: 25-30 BTUs for every square foot of space. That means if you had a home that was 2,000 square feet, you’d need a furnace that gave off at least 50,000 BTUs.
This is a rather broad range of home sizes and BTUs, which is why size is just one of several aspects of your home you should look at.
Does your house have a lot of separate rooms, or more of a wide open floor plan. Do your living areas face south (meaning they get more sun in the winter)?
Other factors that can make a difference include building materials and landscaping. If your house is made from wood, you’ll have less natural insulation than a home made from brick. And if your home is surrounded by trees and shrubs, you’ll be protected from cold air and thus need less heat.
2. The local climate
The climate where you live will determine the type of furnace you need. For example, if you lived somewhere with harsh winters like New England or Minnesota, you’d want a bigger, more powerful furnace than if you lived in Florida or Louisiana.
Furnace manufacturers have been required for decades to stick to efficiency standards. The federal minimum set in 2013 is 80 percent efficiency, although most better-quality furnace models operate at 98 percent efficiency.
Again, this is where the question “What size furnace do I need?” doesn’t provide you with a complete picture. You might have two furnaces that are the same size with drastically different levels of efficiency. A furnace with a 98 percent rating giving off 100,000 BTUs will give your home significantly more heat than a same-sized furnace that’s only 85 percent efficient.
That means you might buy a furnace with a high efficiency rating, but still have a smaller unit and get the appropriate amount of heat.
If you’re wondering ‘What size furnace do I need,” we would advise you not to do the home-size-to-BTU calculation on your own. A qualified HVAC contractor can examine all the factors we’ve mentioned here and find a furnace that works for you and your home.
Whether you’re getting ready to put in a new furnace – or are wondering if maybe the gas furnace you have isn’t the right size for your home – get in touch with All Seasons Comfort Control.
For nearly 20 years, we’ve helped Bucks and Montgomery County homeowners keep their homes comfortable and warm. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.