HVAC Systems: Determining What Size Is Best For Your Home
Staying comfortable without breaking the bank is one of the key tenets of any homeowner, and deciding the right HVAC system is no exception. If a given system is too small, your home won’t evenly distribute heat or cool air, leaving different temperature spots throughout. One that’s too big will take more wear and tear over time and waste valuable energy
The first steps toward discovering the right-sized HVAC system for your home typically starts with getting professionally certified measurements of your home’s features, including an energy assessment from an experienced professional and hiring a heating or cooling systems expert to ensure you’re getting the necessary equipment for your climate’s weather and seasons.
HVAC Basics and The Manual J Calculation
HVAC is an acronym that stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Figuring out the appropriate HVAC size isn’t especially intuitive, but applying a Manual J Calculation is a great first step. HVAC contractors use the Manual J calculation to design the heating and cooling system for your home, measuring the thermal characteristics of each wall, ceiling, floor, doorway, and more. Manual J results give a more realistic estimate of the BTU (British Thermal Unit) requirements for adjusting heat levels throughout your home.
While it’s theoretically possible to perform a Manual J Calculation yourself, the highly technical nature is often best left to the experts. Most companies offering residential HVAC services provide free energy audits to help you shop for the system that’s best for you. A professional energy audit usually considers the following aspects of a property:
- Sun exposure effects over time
- Status of home insulation
- Quantity of people in the home
- Window Energy Efficiency Rating
- Square footage
Use Residential Duct Design
Also known as Manual D, an HVAC professional uses this design principle to determine the appropriate size for your home’s duct work. Ducts with openings that are too large won’t move air in quickly enough, and openings that are too small will be noisy and inefficient, incurring higher costs down the road.
Properly applied residential duct design prevents leaks and other energy-wasting problems before they start. Make sure your HVAC expert is experienced when installing your ductwork so the design fits your home’s individual needs.