Whenever you’re considering replacing your HVAC system, it’s safe to assume that you can just replace it with one of the same size, right?
“I have a 4.0 ton HVAC unit, so I need to replace it with another 4.0 ton.”
Well, the answer to that question may not be as straightforward as you might think. Here’s the problem, if you go with the same size as the previous system, then you have to be willing to trust that the previous system’s installer sized it properly for your home; and it’s not as simple as just getting the square footage.
In order to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck when getting an AC replacement it must be sized properly and specifically for your home.
Understanding Why A Custom Size HVAC System is The Way to Go
Instead of blindly going with the same system that someone, who may or may not have known what they are doing, chose to install, it’s always a good idea to consult a professional when replacing or updating your old HVAC system. This way you know that you’re getting the right system for your home and specific needs.
A custom-sized system requires that your installation technician takes into account a wide array of variables, such as:
- The number of windows in the home
- The type of insulation used
- The overall layout and orientation of the house
- Whether or not there are any other heat/cooling sources in the house (such as fireplaces)
- Your climate zone
- How often you use certain rooms throughout the day
All these factors and others play an important role in determining what size HVAC system is best for your home.
A custom size HVAC system will provide you with the efficiency, comfort, and air quality that you deserve. It will be tailored to your particular home’s load, not just based on square footage, but also on how well it is insulated and other factors. That way you get the perfect amount of cooling and heating power for your home needs.
Plus, when you have a custom-sized HVAC unit installed in your house, it can significantly reduce energy costs since the ideal capacity can match exactly what the building needs instead of overcooling or overheating it.
HVAC Unit Sizes
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning units are sized based on their BTU rating. The smaller the BTU rating, the smaller the space it will efficiently heat and cool; and vice versa.
While using and understanding a simple BTU calculator rating is important information to help determine the correct system for your home; it isn’t the only factor to consider when deciding what size unit to go with.
For example, the age of your home and how well it is insulated plays a part in how well a system can condition the air within. Your main floor’s calculations are performed differently if you have a two-story house. And the energy efficiency and size of your windows can also change the heating and cooling load of your home.
Why the Size of the Unit Matters
Choosing a custom system sized specifically for your home is important for many reasons. If a system is sized too small, it may not be able to keep your home warm enough in the winter or cool enough in the summer. And even if it does manage to maintain a comfortable temperature, an under-sized system will have to work harder to keep you comfortable, consuming more electricity.
The same principle applies to an oversized system. It will consume more energy than necessary to condition the air within your home, and will actually condition your air too quickly to do it correctly.
An HVAC system needs to run long enough to lower or raise the temperature of the air and adjust the humidity of the air properly; without running longer than needed. An overworked system consumes more power, has a greater chance of requiring repairs, and has a decreased lifespan.
Knowledge is Power
While BTU charts are available online to estimate the correct size for the system you need for your home, most of these will only determine this based on your home’s square footage. This is a good start, but not the deciding factor. This should be used to get a rough idea of what you’re looking for and then followed up by a custom plan created by your local HVAC professional.
When you are getting a quote for an HVAC system, make sure your potential installer isn’t basing your investment on the professionalism and expertise of whoever installed the last one; or that their only tool for determining your needs is a measuring tape.
If you would like a free professional assessment and recommendation for your home’s HVAC system, please feel free to give us a call at 256-858-HVAC (4822).