One size does not fit all! We understand that if you’re shopping for a new furnace this time of the year, it probably feels urgent. But, there are many factors to take into consideration with this type of purchase. You’ll want to compare things like fuel types—should you stick with an electric furnace, or utilize your gas lines? You’ll also want to compare AFUE and HSPF ratings to ensure you’re getting the most for your money from month to month.
Most importantly though, you want to make sure you get the right size furnace replacement. Whether your system is too small, or even too large, you’re going to suffer the consequences soon enough, in both comfort and finances.
The Problem with an Undersized Furnace
As you can probably imagine, a furnace that is too small for the space in which it’s installed can’t generate enough heat to keep your home comfortable. Therefore, it will operate for much longer than it’s designed to, as a means of compensation.
This is pretty much the exact opposite problem from if the system is too large, which we’ll get to in a moment. Either way, however, you’ll be looking at increased wear and tear on the system, cumulating in a shorter lifespan for the heater.
And What If Your System Is Too Big?
If a furnace is too large for the space in which it’s installed, it will generate far too much output. This usually results in the thermostat shutting down the furnace before it’s actually had the chance to complete a full heating cycle. Furnace systems of all sizes are designed to operate in cycles, where they generate a set amount of output over a set amount of time, before resting. So what an oversized system will do is short-cycle.
Similar to too small of a system, the furnace will suffer from increased wear and tear and use up far more energy. In fact, your furnace expends more energy during system start-up and shut down than it does while it’s running.
How Do You Properly Size a System?
Unless you’re a trained HVAC pro yourself, you give our team a call! When we are working on what furnace will best suit your home, we’ll look at more than just the physical dimensions of the system (though, that is an important part of installing the furnace). We’ll look at the overall output of the system relative to the size of your home, in order to get a precise image of whether or not your furnace is the right size.
A professional with experience will be able to get a much better calculation of how large your furnace needs to be over a general handyman or enthusiastic “do-it-yourselfer.” It’s also wise to have a pro install your furnace for safety reasons! This is particularly true if you are having a gas-powered system replaced.