How to Find the Right Size HVAC System for Your Home

How to Find the Right Size HVAC System for Your Home

If you're thinking about replacing your HVAC system, here are some tips to determine how to find the right size HVAC system for your house.

Calculate your home's square footage

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One of the first things to do to find the right size HVAC system is to determine the square footage of space to be heated. The square footage should not include garages or other outdoor space. To find the square footage of your home, you can look at property tax records, home sales or closing statements or other documents related to the home purchase.

If you're unable to locate the square footage, you can calculate it. To do this, draw a sketch of the floor plan of your home. Then find ways you can break the areas into rectangular spaces. Once you have rectangular spaces drawn up, measure each space. You can round up for areas within 0.5 foot of the measurement to make this easier.

Once you have recorded the length and width of each rectangular space drawn, multiply these measurements to find the area. For example, if the length of your sketch has an area that is 10 feet x 6 feet, multiplying 10 x 6 would indicate the space is 60 square feet. After all areas have been measured and recorded, add each area's calculated square feet to find the square footage of the house. This number doesn't have to be exact, but the more accurate the measurements, the better.

Determine BTUs

Another component of finding the right size HVAC system for your house is determining BTUs. The abbreviation BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. This is a unit of measurement for heat needed to warm an area. In general, milder climates like the Pacific Northwest use a calculation of the home's square footage multiplied by 20 to get the BTUs needed. Here is a guide.

  • 1,000 square feet x 20 = 20,000 BTUs
  • 1,500 square feet x 20 = 30,000 BTUs
  • 2,000 square feet x 20 = 40,000 BTUs
  • 2,500 square feet x 20 = 50,000 BTUs

While you have calculated the square feet of the home, this calculation is taking into consideration the heat needed for that area based upon normal ceiling heights. If a home has a much higher vaulted ceiling, the BTUs will need to be increased from the general square footage calculation because it would not account for the extra volume of heat in that space. In making BTU calculations, it can be tempting to select a unit using the "bigger is better" method. However, this does not make the most sense because getting a unit that is more than necessary ends up wasting energy and can wear the unit out more quickly.

Choosing a unit

The last component of finding the right HVAC unit for your house is knowing other features to consider. For example, additional filtration systems can be included to improve air quality in the home through UV lights on the HVAC. If you have an allergy sufferer in your home, this may be an added element you want to consider investing in. The energy efficiency of the unit is also of importance. While you might pay more upfront for a higher level of energy efficiency, this easily recovers its cost in month-to-month energy savings.

All HVAC systems make noise when they run, but if you are a light sleeper or sound bothers you, it is important to look at reviews on the noise level of the unit. When it is being installed, there are places to strategically place an HVAC unit to minimize noise around the homeowner's bedroom. Making plans, asking questions when you are ready to have a unit installed and doing your research on these various features and factors will help you make the best choice for your home and family.

Ready to make a change? Maybe a new home in Colorado Springs or surrounding areas? Maybe it's time to sell? Whatever you're thinking for the future of your real estate, trust Ashford Realty Group. 

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