Your heating system is an essential part of your home’s comfort and safety. One of the factors you need to consider when acquiring a new system is its size. Here is what you need to know about choosing the appropriate size furnace for your home.
The Importance of Sizing
When shopping for a new furnace, sizing is crucial for longevity, comfort, and energy efficiency. If the capacity of your equipment fails to meet your home’s heating requirement, it will be overworked. An undersized furnace will be running continuously, forcing internal components to deteriorate rapidly.
It is also not a good idea to go for a large furnace that exceeds the building’s heat load. With time, the constant cycling of the furnace turning “on” and “off” will cause malfunctions that may lead to system failure.
An oversize furnace is susceptible to problems such as a cracking heat exchanger due to overheating. Such issues can introduce fumes into your home, posing pollution risks for your family.
Determining the ideal capacity of your furnace will involve many calculations. Every home has unique elements, which can influence the heating requirements. You can work with our EPA-certified team at Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning for valuable insights on new heating installations in Sacramento.
Evaluating the Building’s Square Footage
To find the correct sized furnace you need, one of the most crucial factors to consider is your home’s square footage. The bigger the building, the more heated air the system has to push into different parts of your house.
You can find information about your home’s square footage from the construction blueprints. Otherwise, determine the areas of the walls and floors and multiply them together to get the square footage of your home.
BTU (British Thermal Unit) is a measurement of heat that your system can produce. You should check how many BTUs could heat the square footage of your space. The type of climate of where you live needs to be considered when you determine the number of BTUs that you need for your home’s total square footage.
For example, in Sacramento, the heating factor is 35 to 40 BTUs per square foot. If the building is 2,000 feet, your furnace ought to be between 70,000 and 80,000 BTUs. That’s because California is in climate zone 2 and has a lower heating factor than the colder, northern regions.
The Grade of Insulation
After you include the climate and the building’s square footage, you also need to consider other unique factors in your home. The quality of insulation can affect the heat load and capacity of the furnace.
According to the Department of Energy, each climate zone has a corresponding R-value. The R-value describes the ability of the insulation material to act as a barrier for heat energy. The colder the climate, the higher the grade of insulation you’ll need.
Additionally, the R-value will depend on the section of the building that requires insulation. In California, the attic will require materials of grades between R49 and R60. However, the floor would need an insulation grade of approximately R13.
Before acquiring a new furnace, it is advisable to address insulation problems. A home energy audit can pinpoint areas of the building that’s wasting heat energy. You can talk to a NATE-certified professional at Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning for exceptional heating solutions in Sacramento.
Understand the Relationship Between Furnace Efficiency and BTUs
The capacity of a furnace in BTUs can give you an idea of the energy it will consume to heat your home. Its energy efficiency ratings can tell you the output you can expect from the system.
For example, if a 70,000-BTU furnace has an efficiency rating of 80% that means it wastes 20% of its energy. The resulting output will be 56,000 BTUs. It implies you will lose 14,000 BTUs during its operation.
The minimum efficiency rating for a gas furnace is 78%. Nevertheless, most new models have an 85% rating and above. Some systems, such as condensing furnaces, can attain efficiencies of up to 98%.
Without factoring in the system’s efficiency, you could end up with a furnace that does not match the needs of your home. Keep in mind, the performance of your HVAC system can deteriorate with time.
Nonetheless, you don’t have to go for the highest efficiency ratings. You’ll often need to strike a balance between the performance of the system and your budget.
Ductwork and Furnace Capacity
Your new furnace will have to match the capacity of the ductwork. If the ductwork and the heating system do not correspond, there will be a higher risk of system malfunctions after installation. The pressure exerted by oversize or undersized ductwork can shorten the unit’s lifespan.
The capacity of air ducts is the ratio of airflow speed to size. Every room’s ductwork has to have a suitable size to deliver the required cubic feet per minute. A furnace technician will also factor in your ductwork’s friction loss and static pressure, amongst other factors.
If you are installing a new system in unconditioned spaces, you may want to consider a ductless split system. They are easier to install in areas of the house where there is no ductwork in place.
You can install ductless mini-split systems in garages, mother-in-law suites, or your home office. They are more energy-efficient and require less maintenance than conventional systems. [company-name] offers trusted Energy Star products for your Sacramento home.
Other Critical Factors to Consider
The shape and orientation of your house will determine the capacity of your heating system. A long, rectangular building will need a furnace with more BTUs than a regular square house. That is because there is a greater surface area to volume ratio.
The amount of exposure to sunlight will also help determine the best furnace capacity for your home. The sun’s heat can reduce the heat load requirements of the building.
You also need to consider that some rooms will have fewer heat requirements, while other rooms have higher heat requirements. For instance, you may need more heat in the bathroom, whereas, you require less heat in the kitchen because of appliances putting off heat.
If your home has large windows, you may need a furnace with a relatively higher BTU capacity. The area of the window provides a bigger surface for heat to escape. High ceilings can also lead to higher heat losses. Therefore, the building will require more BTUs for sufficient heating.
Choosing a Reliable Heating System
If your furnace is close to the end of its life, it is advisable to consider replacing it with an efficient model. An aging furnace can incur high-energy bills and is often more expensive to operate than acquiring a new system.
Choosing a furnace is a process that involves calculating multiple variables besides the home’s square footage. You also need to determine if there are energy losses within the building’s envelope. Otherwise, your furnace will start to break down shortly after installation.
For optimal performance and longevity of your heating system, consult a certified technician. Manufacturers will often request installation records when reviewing warranty claims.
You can rely on Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning for all your heating and cooling services in Sacramento. Our friendly and courteous team can assist you with duct cleaning, mini-split systems, and indoor air quality services, too. Call our team to find out more about our current discounts and offers in Sacramento.