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What Size Heating and Air System Do I Need?

what size heating and air system do i need

When you ask, “what size heating and air system do I need,” you’re asking an important question. And, when replacing an old system, the answer matters. Your choice will make a difference in your quality of life.

We’re here to inform your decision. In this article, we’ll look at 4 key factors that affect what size heating and air system you need for your home.


What Size Heating and Air System Do I Need? 4 Key Factors

Keep reading! You’ll learn about the factors that determine what size heating and air system your home needs. One thing is certain – your home isn’t just like anyone else’s (spoiler: that’s factor #2).


1. The SEER Rating Reveals More Than Savings

Energy-efficiency: the Holy Grail of home improvement. You can get energy-efficient windows, appliances, and electronics. In fact, you can even get an energy-efficient massage chair. Likewise, the same goes for your heating and air system. And the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) indicates just how energy-efficient a home comfort system is. Here’s how:

Systems are rated according to tons of capacity. 1 ton of heating or cooling per hour comes out to 12,000 BTUs (British thermal units).

For a 2-ton unit, it’s simple multiplication. 12,000 x 2 = 24,000 BTUs.

However, 2 systems that are each 2 tons aren’t necessarily the same efficiency. This is where the SEER rating comes in. For the best efficiency, get the unit with the highest SEER rating your budget has room for. Higher ratings equal greater energy savings.

As an example, say you’re considering 2 units. One is 14 SEER, and the other is 16 SEER. The 16 SEER system is more efficient than the other. In the real world, that should add up to a lower utility bill during peak seasons.

However, the energy savings alone don’t usually justify the price tag. Most times, homeowners’ long-term savings roughly equal the system’s extra cost.* Why do we recommend higher SEER units, then?

Because of the comfort.

That 16 SEER unit likely has multi-stage technology. In layman’s terms, it runs longer at lower speeds. It’s efficient and delivers comfortable air consistently to all areas of your home. And it takes much less energy to do it than the 14 SEER unit did.

Tip: Make sure to look for an Energy Star-qualified heating and air system. You’ll see a SEER ranging from 15 to 23.


2. Your Home Is Unique

Its physical spaces, walls, and even directional positioning each play a part. All these factors help answer the question, “What size heating and air system do I need?”

  • Living space cubic air volume
  • Surface area of exterior walls that have prolonged, direct sun exposure
  • Number of windows and what condition they’re in
  • The build quality of your home
  • The age of your home
  • The quality of your home’s wall and attic insulation
  • How leak-free your home’s existing vents and ductwork are
  • Whether your ductwork is properly-sized or not
  • How much shade your home receives

Evidently, square footage doesn’t tell the whole story. You can’t just calculate that and choose a properly-sized heating and air system.

Tip: Ask a professional HVAC technician, “What size heating and air system do I need?” He should be able to calculate these factors.


3. Wrong-sized Systems Cost More

What happens when your air conditioner turns on? It cools your home to a certain temperature, then shuts off again. However, if the system is too big for your home, it won’t stay on long enough. It’ll cool super quickly, then turn off. While that sounds like a good thing, it’s not.

When you cool the air too quickly, your walls, floor, and furniture don’t have time to get cool as well. They can keep giving off heat into the air, making the system turn on again – sooner than it should. This could continue all day.

That leads to inefficiency and wear and tear. Your power bill may be unaffected. However, every time the system turns on and off, it wears out a bit more. Repairs – and even replacement – may come sooner than they would if the system was the right size to start with.

However, if your system is too small, it may run longer, waste energy, and wear out a bit sooner from constant use.

Tip: Put insulation on your list of fixes – if your home isn’t well insulated, even a right-sized unit may perform inefficiently and experience more wear and tear.


4. Experience Makes a Difference

Much of your utility bill comes from heating and air costs. Because of that, only work with an experienced, professional, licensed HVAC tech.

You need to be able to trust them. Trust them to stick with ACCA-approved techniques as they figure out what the best heating and cooling unit for your home is. Trust them to only sell you what you need.

Once finished, your cooling system should be energy–efficient. And, above all, it should meet your family’s comfort needs.

Tip: You can rely on Neal’s Heating and Air. We’ll make absolutely sure that the unit we’re recommending is the right one. And once you decide, our reliable, licensed staff will install it the way it should be. Call us at (706) 764-7185 or contact us online today!



*If the home is well-insulated, the ductwork is leak-free and sized correctly, and the system is correctly sized for the home.