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February 2016

Furnace Size, Energy Efficiency and Home Comfort

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Residential furnaces come in various sizes measured in Btu (British thermal units). They range from 40,000 Btu all the way up to 100,000 Btu or even larger. Your furnace needs to be correctly sized to provide efficient heating and cooling and avoid excessive repairs. A furnace sized too small will not deliver, or it will strain to deliver enough heating and cooling to your home, while an oversized furnace will waste energy and money. Both will lead to excessive breakdowns and premature failure. When we get called to a home with heating and/or cooling problems, one of the most common issues we confront is a furnace that’s improperly sized. For the most part it comes from either laziness or lack of knowledge by the person who installed or replaced the furnace. Our field is filled with people who should know better, but who persist in using “rules of thumb” when it comes to selecting a furnace size. They will base it solely on the square footage of a home, or when replacing a unit will simply select the same size as the old one. Common sense tells us that bigger homes probably will require larger furnaces, but a lot more goes into selecting the proper size for any given amount of space. Proper size should be based on energy-loss calculations that take into account window areas, the amount of insulation and other factors. This evaluation needs to be done room by room. Professional companies like ours used tried-and-true manuals and…

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