What Sized Heat Pump Does My Home Need?

Home heating units are not one size (or type) fits all. While forced-air furnaces are the most common type of systems, another viable option is a heat pump. However, it’s important that the heat pump you have installed is the right size for your home. For example, a small, two-bedroom Cape Cod style home has different heating needs than a large, five-bedroom Colonial. In this article, we’ll discuss how to calculate the right size of a heat pump.

How does a heat pump work?

A heat pump and furnace have some similarities but also many significant differences. They are both central systems, meaning that warm air is distributed from the main unit through ducts to reach rooms around the home. However, unlike furnaces, heat pumps do not create heat – rather they move heat from one place to another. Even if the temperature is low outside, the heat pump can still capture heat and bring it inside. Heat pumps can also be used for air conditioning, so in the summer it removes interior heat and releases it outside.

Why the size of a heat pump is important

To work effectively and efficiently, the heat pump must be sized appropriately for the home. If the unit is undersized, it won’t have enough power to heat or cool your house to the desired temperature – or it will have to work extra hard to do so, which can waste energy and shorten the service life of the unit.

Now, you may be thinking that getting the biggest heat pump possible is the way to go. Not so fast. Not only will this cost you more upfront for the larger unit, but it may be oversized for the space. If the heat pump is too big, it may short cycle, which means turning on and off too frequently. Again, this can use extra energy and wear down your unit quickly.

Calculating heat pump load

The size of a heat pump is measured by BTUs, which is short for British thermal units. They typically range from 7,000 to 24,000 BTUs. In general, the most square footage in your home, the higher the BTUs you’ll need. But it’s not always that simple.

The best way to determine what size heat pump you need is by doing a load calculation. To do this, an HVAC professional will look at a number of factors, including:

  • Climate
  • Square footage of home
  • Ceiling height
  • Number of doors, windows, and skylights
  • Insulation and ventilation of home
  • Existing or needed ductwork

The load calculation determines how many kilowatts of electricity are needed to properly condition your home, and then that number is converted to BTUs for appropriate heat pump equipment.

Heat pump installation and service in Fredricksburg

Heat pumps offer many advantages, including the ability to both heat and cool the home, high energy efficiency than a furnace, longer service life, and more. But to enjoy these benefits, you need to make sure you have the right-sized heat pump installed in your home.

That’s where Robert B. Payne, Inc. Our experienced HVAC technicians can evaluate your home and recommend the ideal size and model of heat pump for your needs. We’re here to make the process easy. To get started, call us at 540-373-5876.