When the time comes to replace your HVAC system, one of the major factors affecting both cost and comfort is the size of the new unit. A unit that’s too small won’t be able to effectively heat or cool your home, while a unit that’s too large won’t run efficiently, which will drive up your energy bills. So you want to make sure that the unit you choose is Goldilocks-approved—in other words, just right.
Heat pumps and air conditioners are measured in tons, but this doesn’t refer to how heavy the unit is. Instead, it indicates how much cooling power the unit has. Standard residential HVAC units run from 1-5 tons. If your home needs a unit larger than 5 tons, then you’ll probably need to get two units.
But how do you know how many “tons” of cooling power your home needs? Well, that depends on several factors. The first and most obvious factor is the size of your home. In general, a larger home will need a larger HVAC unit. However, you can’t accurately select the right unit just based on your home’s square footage.
Another important factor is the climate zone that your home is in. Here in the Tennessee Valley, we’re in Climate Zone 2. That means we need more cooling power per square foot than someone who lives in Virginia (Zone 3), but less than someone who lives in Florida (Zone 1). Likewise, we don’t need as much heating as those who live to the north, but we need more than the folks down in Mobile.
Many other individual details of your home affect what size unit you need. For instance, how many windows do you have and what directions do they face? How much insulation is in your attic? What types of lighting are used in your home? How high are your ceilings? Do you have skylights? All of these factors can make your home easier or harder to keep at a comfortable temperature.
Ultimately, the best way to determine what size HVAC unit is “just right” for your home is to have your house evaluated by a licensed technician like our Comfort Specialists. They can take into account all of the individual factors affecting your home so you don’t end up wasting money now or in the long run, and so that your investment in a new HVAC system will pay off in greater comfort for you and your family.