What Size HVAC System Do I Need?


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In this day and time everyone wants the ability to heat and cool their home efficiently. Unless you are just lucky enough to live in an area where the climate is just right all year round, you must have an HVAC system to control the temperature inside your home.

If you live way down south, you know the summer months can be unbearable without air conditioning. If you live way up north, then the winters can be brutally cold and you must have heating you can depend on. During the changing of the seasons, it can be too cool or too warm in either area.

The letters HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. It simply means that one system will provide all of these settings so it is no longer necessary to have a separate heating system and a separate air conditioner in your home. Some HVAC systems are totally electric, while others use electric for the air conditioning and gas for the heating.

When it comes to determining what size unit you will need for your particular home, there are many factors to take into consideration. Check the list below.



Your Local Climate

This can be a factor because if you do not experience extreme changes in temperature, then you may not need a unit as large as say someone that gets both very hot and very cold temperatures.

Insulation and Windows

If you have great energy efficient windows in your home, then that will help a lot when it comes to retaining heat and cool air from your unit. Also, if your home is well insulated, that is going to help too. If you do not have great windows or adequate insulation, it will cost you more in the long run and you may need a larger unit. It is better to add extra insulation and repair those leaky windows.

Square Footage Of Your Home

How large or small your home is is one of the biggest deciders when it comes to the size of unit you need. The BTUs or British Thermal Units, determines how much heating and cooling amounts are needed. If you have an average sized home of say 1000 to 1500 sq ft, then you will need somewhere between a 21,000 and a 24,000 BTU system. If you have a larger home of at least 2000 to 2500 sq ft, then you will need a larger unit that puts out at least 30,000 to 34,000 BTUs. If you don't choose one that's correctly sized for your space, it will negatively affect the lifespan of the unit.

Follow City, Local, & State Building Codes

Building codes for your area can dictate what size unit your structure must have to be considered livable. Check with your local authorities on what the codes are concerning HVAC systems for homes.

What is a Manual J Calculation?

This is the best procedure that you can have performed on your home that will most accurately evaluate your specific needs in a HVAC unit. You can hire an energy auditor or sometimes even your utility company can offer this service. A Manual J will take all of the above mentioned items into consideration when conducting your evaluation.

When you have a Manual J calculation conducted, it could be that you need more heating than cooling and vice versa depending on where you live and the specific attributes of your home. This can help you to decide exactly what your needs are and help you to pick the best HAVC system for you without having to second guess whether you bought the right HVAC or not.

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