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What Size Furnace Do I Need? A Michigan Heating Tech Answers

It would be easy to tell you that there is one specific size furnace built for every home in any climate. That one size fits all. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

It’s actually more complex than most people think because the specific size furnace you need for your home depends on a variety of factors such as:

  • The climate you live in
  • The size of your home
  • The insulation levels of your home

If you were to ask, “What’s the easiest way to determine what size furnace I need?” The answer would be to consult an HVAC professional.

By speaking with a certified expert, you’ll be able to determine how the factors mentioned above fit with some of the other key factors, including:

  1. How furnaces are sized
  2. Why you need the right size furnace
  3. How to find the right size furnace

In what follows, we’ll go over each of these key factors and how they can play such an important role in determining what size furnace you need for your home.

Ready for a professional to give you a size recommendation for your new furnace? You can always ask us!

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How furnaces are sized

For starters, a furnace is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units), which is a measurement of thermal energy or how much heat the furnace can deliver into your home in an hour. The bigger the furnace, the more heat is delivered.

For a little perspective, 1 BTU is equal to the amount of energy that's required to cool or heat 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. Residential furnaces can range from 40,000 to 200,000 BTUs, while most homes usually call for a furnace between 60,000 and 120,000 BTUs.

Why you need the right size furnace

Now, one thing to remember is that when it comes to furnaces, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. Wait...what? Yes, this misconception is fairly common among most homeowners, but any pro will tell you that if you get a furnace that is either too small or too big, you’re likely to experience some significant complications.

A furnace that is too big will heat your space pretty quickly, causing it to shut off quicker as well. This is known as ‘short cycling’, which can ultimately lead to:

  • Higher energy bills - The constant cycle between turning on and shutting off in quick succession isn’t very efficient and will increase your energy bills.
  • Uneven temperaturespots - Because your furnace shutting on and off more frequently, the blower doesn’t have time to push air to all the corners of your home’s air, which leaves you with uneven temperatures in certain spots.
  • Increase in repair and maintenance needs - Constant starts and stops can quickly wear on furnace parts, causing an increase in repair/maintenance needs and a decrease in lifespan.

On the other hand, if your furnace is too small or undersized for your particular home, you could run into some similar issues. The constant running can cause discomfort, increase energy bills and shorten the lifespan of your furnace.

How to find the right sized furnace

First off, you may have read somewhere in passing that the size furnace you need is calculated and determined based on the square footage of your home. Well, yes and no. The truth is that the square footage of your home is only one of many factors that need to be taken into account when sizing a furnace for your home.

So, it’s strongly recommended that you hire a furnace installer who performs load calculations as well. What’s that?

A load calculation is a complex analysis that determines what size furnace is appropriate for your particular home.

This calculation takes numerous factors into account including:

  • The local climate
  • Ceiling height
  • Insulation levels of your home
  • The square footage of your home
  • The orientation of your home (East facing, North Facing, etc.)
  • What your home is made out of
  • Number of windows in your home
  • Number of people in your home
  • The type of roofing on your house
  • And more

This calculation takes a multitude of factors into account, which is why it’s advised that you have a professional handle it instead of trying to do it yourself. When it comes to getting the right size for your home, you want to be sure that it’s handled properly and leave nothing to chance.

Looking for the right size furnace for your Michigan home? We’re happy to help

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We’ve been serving our community’s heating needs for quite some time and we know how important it is to have the proper furnace installed to withstand the cold Michigan winters. Our team of trained comfort specialists can recommend the perfect furnace for your home. Learn more about what to expect when you hire us by visiting our furnace installation page.