This winter, just like every winter before, thousands of furnaces will fail and need to be replaced. The problem is that every year, thousands of those furnaces are improperly sized for the homes that they are installed in. Furnaces are not one size fits all and calculating square footage is not enough to determine the proper size needed. Replacing a furnace is a big investment for any family to undertake, and the last thing you should want is for that new system to be the wrong size for your home. The consequences of doing so include:
- High Energy Bills: When a unit is oversized it cycles on and off more frequently. Firing up a furnace more than necessary wastes a lot of energy and will drive up the heating bills. When a unit is undersized, it won’t be able to keep up with the temperature demand. This causes the unit to run for long periods of time without shutting off. Long run times will also waste energy and lead to high energy bills.
- Decreased Comfort: Another consequence of an oversized furnace cycling too frequently is decreased comfort. Areas of the home that are further away from the thermostat will not heat up evenly because they are only exposed to short bursts of heat. This change in temperature from room to room is known as a temperature swing. For undersized units, they may not ever be able to meet the heating requirements you set on the thermostat.
- Poor Humidity Levels: Humidity levels are directly affected by the cycle of the furnace. If the furnace cycles too long or too short, humidity levels will be off which leads to further discomfort.
- Premature System Failure: Both oversized and undersized units will have a shorter lifespan than a unit that is properly sized for the home. Wear and tear on the unit is increased because of frequent start ups and shut downs, and damage is also caused when a system runs for longer periods of time than should be necessary.
Sizing the Furnace Properly
Most people need the help of a professional contractor in order to find the right size system for their home. The contractor will do a load calculation on your home, as well as consider several other factors before choosing the system that will work best for you and your family’s heating needs. Some of the points that they consider include:
- Square footage of home
- Climate that the home is located in
- Insulation in various areas of the home including the attic
- Type of windows, age and condition
- Sunlight exposure
- Heights of ceilings in the home
- Number of rooms occupied on a regular basis
These are just a few of the many checks that a real expert will check. If you find that your contractor is willing to quote you over the phone, you should consider using another company. These measurements cannot be performed over the phone and neglecting to take all of these into consideration could land you with an improperly sized heating system this winter. We offer free in home estimates on all new furnaces. Our Comfort Specialist will carefully assess your home to ensure you have the right size furnace!