What Size HVAC System Do I Need?

Measuring tap to determine the proper size HVAC system needed

Choosing the right size HVAC system for your home is important for both comfort and efficiency. An oversized system will work harder than it needs to, which can lead to higher energy bills and premature wear and tear. An undersized system will not be able to keep your home comfortable, which can lead to discomfort and health problems. In other words, you’ll need to find a “Goldilocks”-sized HVAC system that’s just right for your home. Here’s how to know what size HVAC unit you need.

Everything that Goes into HVAC System Sizes

There are more than just a few factors to consider when determining how to size an HVAC system for your home. The first and foremost is likely going to be the square footage of your home. The larger your space, the larger your HVAC system will need to be, as an HVAC system that’s not big enough for your home won’t cool it sufficiently in the summer or heat it enough in the winter.

Another important factor is the climate you live in. If you live in a hot climate, you’ll need an HVAC system that can cool your home effectively. If you live in a cold climate, you’ll need an HVAC system that can heat your home effectively. If you live in a temperate zone that gets four distinct seasons, you’ll need an HVAC unit that can handle these temperature changes sufficiently.

Other Elements that Influence What Size HVAC System You Need

The size of your house and its location aren’t the only factors that have an impact on the size of your HVAC system. Other variables, like the number of people who live in your home, come into play as well. The more people who live in your home, the more air conditioning and heating you’ll need. The age of your home also plays a role, as older homes may not be as well-insulated as newer homes. This means you may need a larger HVAC system to keep your home comfortable. Consider the home insulation, the age of the windows and doors (do they let air lead out and let the outside temperature in?), the quality of an attic can if it exists, and other similar details.

One last factor that goes into this decision is the type of HVAC system you’re considering. Different types of HVAC systems have different capacities. For example, a mini-split system may have a smaller capacity than a central air conditioning system. Such a system might be ideal for smaller houses or those with very good insulation, but if your home is larger or older, a single mini-split may not serve your needs as well as a system with ductwork.

How to Calculate the Size of the HVAC System You Need

Once you’ve considered all these factors, you can use a HVAC sizing calculator to determine the size of HVAC system you need for your home. There are many different HVAC sizing calculators available online, so you can choose one that’s right for you.

To use a HVAC sizing calculator, you’ll need to input a number of different pieces of information. Each sizing calculator works slightly differently, but you’ll generally need to know the size of your home in square feet, the climate you live in, the number of people who live in your home, as well as the age of the home. The sizing calculator will then go to work, providing you feedback on the size of HVAC system, and often the type of system, that would work best for your home.

Additional Tips for HVAC System Sizing

Looking for even more informative tips for choosing the right size HVAC system for your home? Here’s what you should keep in mind when you’re going through the process of selecting an HVAC unit.

  • Oversizing your HVAC system can be just as bad as under-sizing it. An oversized HVAC system will work harder than it needs to, which can lead to higher energy bills and premature wear and tear. Undersized ones, as stated above, simply won’t be able to keep up with your heating and cooling needs. This will mean you’ll be colder than you want to be in the winter and hotter than you’d like in the summer.
  • It’s important to choose an HVAC system that’s the right size for your home’s needs. A properly sized HVAC system will keep your home comfortable and energy-efficient, helping you save money in the long run. Additionally, when you do decide on the HVAC system for your home, be sure to maintain and service it regularly. Even the ideal size for your property can leave you sweating in the summer or freezing in the winter if it isn’t properly maintained and cared for.
  • Factors like how well your home is insulated and whether there are any air gaps around your doors and windows have an impact on how hard your HVAC system will need to work. If your home is relatively newly-constructed and is well insulated, you may not need as large an HVAC system as an older house or one that’s not insulated as well.
  • If you’re not sure what size HVAC system you need, it’s a good idea to consult with a qualified HVAC contractor. A contractor can help you choose the right size HVAC system for your home and your budget, as they have the skills and expertise to help identify your home’s needs in ways that a simple HVAC sizing calculator might not be able to.

Talk to an Expert about Sizing Your HVAC System

It’s essential to keep your home heated and cooled properly by selecting the right size HVAC system. Making smart choices now will help keep your home more comfortable and energy-efficient while at the same time controlling your heating and cooling costs. If you’re having difficulties deciding on what type of HVAC system you should get for your home, or how big that system should be, talk to a qualified HVAC contractor today!

Burns & McBride has been servicing this area for more than 70 years. We know the types of homes and can recommend the best system for each need. When you need an experienced opinion from someone you can trust, reach out to us.

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