Today’s homeowners are fortunate in that they have many choices on how to heat their homes. Home heating systems have come a long way from fires in caves during prehistoric times. In this blog, heating and air conditioning contractor Schmitt shares a quick look into how home heating systems have evolved.
Every home has different heating requirements, and therefore needs a furnace that’s the appropriate size to meet them. In this blog, residential and commercial HVAC repair contractor Schmitt shares insight on the importance of furnace sizing.
Size Does Matter
Your home needs a furnace that will supply heat efficiently, consistently and in the appropriate amount, which is why choosing the right furnace size is important. An undersized furnace will redline all the time—and consume a lot of fuel in the process—just to meet minimum heating requirements. To illustrate using an extreme example, it’s like trying to heat an entire house using a portable space heater.
Oversized furnaces can also be problematic, as they provide too much heat too fast, leading to “short cycling”. In other words, the furnace turns off and on too fast, which places additional strain on it, consumes more energy and can potentially lead to premature breakdown. The right sizing applies to both heating and cooling systems, so your air conditioner needs to be properly sized as well.
How Furnace Size Is Calculated
Your HVAC technician will take several factors into consideration before estimating the furnace size that will fulfill your home’s heating requirements:
Your Home’s Square Footage — This includes all the rooms that require heating, including finished basements and attics. Rooms vary in size and shape, of course, all of which will be taken into account.
Heating Factor — Heating as well as cooling is relative to outdoor temperatures. There are five standard zones in the United States, all with different BTU (British thermal unit) requirements. The farther from the equator, the higher the required BTUs will be. California is located in Zone 2, with a heating factor of 30 to 35 BTUs. By contrast, some of the northernmost areas in the country, such as Minneapolis, require 50 to 60 BTUs.
Insulation — A well-insulated home won’t require as much heating. In addition to wall and attic insulation, ceilings and floors in certain rooms should be insulated, and don’t forget to caulk and seal your windows and doors as well.
To calculate your home heating requirements, multiply the square footage of your house by the heating factor. The better insulated the house is, the lower the required BTUs within the resulting range. For example, if your home’s total floor area is 2,000 square feet and is well-insulated, then it will take around 60,000 BTUs to heat your home. A furnace with a corresponding output will then be selected and installed.
Call Schmitt for All Your Heating Needs
As winter approaches, many homeowners are getting ready for the holiday season and turning on their heater for the first time. As you start to turn up the heat, it’s important to be aware of your energy use as it can start to drive your heating bills through the roof. The key to keeping heating costs down during the winter is taking the necessary steps to heat your home more efficiently.
Energy Saving Tips for Efficient Heating
Want to save money on heating costs this winter? We’ve put together a list of energy saving tips for heating your home more efficiently this winter:
Inspect and improve home insulation.
Poor insulation can allow heat to escape. When you waste energy, your electricity bills tend to skyrocket. It’s important to inspect your home insulation and check for drafts. Replace any damaged or missing weather-stripping around your doors and windows. Adjust any door thresholds to eliminate any gaps that may allow warm air to escape. Don’t forget to check your electrical boxes for drafts, and fill any gaps with latex caulk or foam sealant. A little work can go a long way when it comes to home insulation as even the tiniest leaks and cracks can make an impact on your heating costs.
Use a space heater when you can.
You can use a space heater to help reduce heating costs when your family is all together during the holidays. Place the heater in the area where your family is gathering, like the living room or den. Then, turn down the furnace temperature. Though the rest of your home will be cooler, this is a good solution for families that are spending a lot of time together in one area of the home during the holidays. According to the California Energy Commission, you can save 5% on energy costs by setting your thermostat to the 60- to 70-degree range. The space heater will still use electricity, but you can save a significant amount of energy by cutting down on your furnace use and utilizing a space heater when you can.
Tune up your furnace.
One of the best ways to save energy throughout the year is to ensure that your HVAC system is running as efficiently as possible. Make sure that you get your annual furnace or heater tune-up before the heating season starts. During this maintenance visit, an experienced HVAC technician will ensure that your heating system is clean, lubricated, and working properly. This increases energy efficiency and can help you save money on heating costs in the long run.
If you are ready to take the next step toward optimal efficiency, Schmitt Heating and Air Conditioning is ready to help you find a brand new, high-efficiency heating and air conditioning system. Contact us today to find out more about your options or to schedule a consultation with one of our heating and cooling experts.