When shopping for a new heating system for your home, there are a number of important factors to consider. Unfortunately, one factor that is often overlooked is the power level. The power level of your new system needs to match the precise requirements of your home, or you could end up with increasing energy bills and compromised efficiency. The power levels of your current heater make a good starting point, but you will need to dig a little deeper.
Most people appreciate the problems of underpowered heating systems. An underpowered new heater will run all day without ever reaching your desired comfort level. Unfortunately, similar effects can also be created by an overpowered heater, where the system flicks on and off and cannot properly maintain your chosen temperature.
This can make it a little complicated for novice shoppers. After all, the first thought in buying appliances is often that more power is better. In fact, this is not the case for heating systems as an overpowered system will short cycle. Short cycling can be very damaging, using more energy by turning off and on frequently and increasing the strain on the system. An overpowered heater can not only fail to keep you feeling warm, but could create repair issues and compromise the equipment lifespan. This means that the key to the correct power level for your new heating system is balance.
The Goldilocks Rule
If you think back to the fairy tale, Goldilocks needed something that was neither too small or too large, only just right. While the power level of your existing system is a good starting point, it may not be completely accurate for your new equipment. You’ll need a trained technician to perform several calculations to determine the power level that is best suited to your home and specific requirements.
An experienced technician is likely to first assess the square footage of your home. This is the most basic measurement factor, but the technician will also pay particular attention to areas that tend to generate additional heat such as the laundry room or kitchen. The technician will also need to factor in the amount of insulation in your home into the calculations. The level of insulation determines how readily your home retains heat and therefore effects efficiency and performance of your heating system. Finally, the amount of sunlight exposure will also need to be calculated. If you have large picture windows, particularly with a southern or western view, it will allow more sunlight into your home, therefore making it warmer.
Although there are big box solutions available at major stores, this doesn’t mean that they represent the best choice for your home. The power level requirements of your home are specific to the unique characteristics of your property and is an important consideration in choosing the right system. So, if you want to ensure that your new system is perfectly sized with the right power level, it is a good idea to speak to an experienced HVAC professional for expert advice and guidance.