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What Does It Mean to “Size” a Furnace?

furnace-with-pipesIf you are considering installing a furnace in Colorado Springs, CO to plan for the coming winter weather, you’ve come to the right people. We have highly experienced and NATE-certified technicians to take care of replacing your old furnace with the right new model to see to your heating needs. Our team is thorough and precise because we take safety seriously.

Today we want to talk about one of the most important steps in furnace installation, which is to properly size the furnace before a unit is picked out. You might at first think this means finding a furnace that will fit into the available space. That’s not what sizing actually means: it’s a more complicated process, and the success of your home heating depends on it being done right.

Furnace Size = Heating Capacity

Sizing a furnace is finding a furnace with the right level of heating capacity to match the needs of a given space. Furnaces come in a wide range of heating capacities, measured in “tons.” Furnaces come in 1 to 5 ton units for homes, with half sizes between, so there are many different choices—but only one correct choice. Our heating installers will do a heat load calculation to determine how many tons of heat you need from a furnace to stay comfortable in the winter.

Heat Load Calculation

The heat load calculation is a process where the technicians take numerous factors about the house and then use them to determine the output for ideal comfort and energy efficiency. Although you can go online and find various “heat load calculators” and guides for doing your own heat load calculation, we don’t advise this: you don’t want to make a mistake in this step of the process, since undoing it is expensive (you have to replace the furnace). A heat load calculation uses such criteria as square footage of the house, number of people who live there, amount of heat-producing appliances and lights, insulation, local weather, the number of windows, and more.

A Furnace Too Small

If a furnace isn’t professionally sized, it will either be too big or too small for the house. It’s easy to understand the consequences of an undersized, under-powered furnace: it won’t be able to keep up with heating demands and the house will be too cold. The furnace will keep running and running as it tries to meet a temperature demand it can’t.

A Furnace Too Large

Why not err on the larger size? How bad could it be for the furnace to be too powerful? Well, plenty bad. The problem with an oversized furnace is large energy waste and undue strain on the system, leading to an early breakdown. The furnace will heat the house too rapidly, causing the thermostat to register it’s done before it is and shut it down. The furnace will then turn on a short time later, only to then shut down again. The repeated process is called short-cycling and it places too much strain on the furnace and will cause heating bills to rise.

You can trust sizing your furnace accurately to our team! We’ll see you have the perfect furnace for comfort and energy efficiency.

Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning serves Colorado Springs and the surrounding area. Schedule furnace installation or replacement with us today.

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