In the market for a new heat pump?
If so, you’ve probably read that heat pumps come in different sizes. And now you’re wondering which size you should get.
Unfortunately, we can’t give you a specific size recommendation here. The only way to know what size heat pump you need is to have a professional visit your home and perform a load calculation. A load calculation takes into account several factors specific to your home to determine the correct size system (more on this later).
We know that’s not the answer you were looking for. But to give you more context as to why that’s the case, we’ll explain the following in this blog:
- How heat pump size is measured
- Why you need the correct size heat pump
- Why a professional needs to perform a load calculation for your home
Want a professional to give you an accurate size recommendation for your new heat pump? Let us help!
How heat pump size is measured
As a quick recap, heat pumps are sized according to their BTU (British Thermal Unit) output. One BTU is the amount of energy it takes to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
Since a heat pump can both heat and cool your home, a heat pump’s BTU output means two different things:
- In heating mode, a heat pump’s BTU output is an expression of how much heat the system can add to your home.
- In cooling mode, a heat pump’s BTU output is an expression of how much heat the system can remove from your home.
Most residential heat pumps range anywhere from 18,000 to 60,000 BTUs. Sometimes you’ll also see BTU output expressed in tonnage (one ton = about 12,000 BTUs). Most heat pumps will be anywhere from 1.5 to 5 tons.
Now that you know how heat pump size is measured, let’s look at why you need a correctly-sized system.
Why you need the correct size heat pump
Getting a heat pump that’s too big or too small for your home can negatively affect both the system and your comfort.
- A heat pump that’s too big will heat or cool your home very quickly and then shut off. This frequent “start-stop” cycle will wear out the components in your heat pump faster, and leave you with hot and cold spots in your home.
- A heat pump that’s too small will run non-stop trying to heat or cool your home. This results in higher energy bills and reduced comfort because it will take longer to bring your home to your desired temperature.
The way to avoid these size problems is to have a professional calculate the exact size heat pump you need, which we’ll look at next.
Why a professional needs to perform a load calculation
Like we mentioned in the beginning, a load calculation takes into account several factors specific to your home to determine the correct size system you need.
A load calculation takes into account factors such as:
- The square footage of interior space to be heated or cooled
- The climate/weather conditions of your region
- Number of windows and doors in your home
- Quality of your home’s insulation (R-value)
- Condition of your home’s ductwork
- Number of people in your home
- And much more
As you can see, calculating all of these factors can be complicated. Luckily, a professional HVAC technician will have the software and tools necessary to perform a calculation, which simplifies the process for you.
Want a professional to help you find the correct size heat pump for your home?
Our heating and cooling specialists will provide you with an accurate size recommendation for your heat pump, and what heat pump model will work best for your home.
Learn more about what to expect when you hire us to install your heat pump.