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Sizing Heat Pumps Is Just as Important as Choosing a Model

Posted on: July 19th, 2013 by

Sizing Heat Pumps Is Just as Important as Choosing a ModelHeat pumps provide efficient heating and cooling for warm climates, such as Fort Worth. If you’re shopping for a new heat pump, it’s important that you give as much attention to sizing the unit as you give to selecting an efficient model. After all, an undersized unit won’t keep up when demand increases, but an oversized heat pump consumes more energy, removes less humidity and wears out sooner due to more frequent cycles.

Here’s a look at the process of sizing heat pumps.

  • Determine the required cooling capacity: This process is identical to sizing an air conditioner. The calculation involves climate, square footage, home orientation, window layout and size, occupancy, heat-generating appliances, home tightness, insulation levels and more. Obviously, a home in Fort Worth needs a larger heat pump for air conditioning purposes than a home of the same size in a cooler climate.
  • Determine your home’s heat loss: Heat pumps keep you comfortable in the winter as well. A contractor runs a series of tests to determine how much heat your home loses in the winter through the walls, windows and ceiling. (50,000 BTUs will be used for this example.)
  • Determine the required heating capacity: In warm climates, where cooling is a higher priority than heating, the heating capacity is dependent upon the size you choose for optimal cooling efficiency. For example, if a 4-ton heat pump is ideal for cooling efficiency, then all that’s left is to determine a 4-ton heat pump’s heating capacity based on the average winter temperature in Fort Worth. (40,000 BTUs will be used for this example.)
  • Size the supplemental heating: For a climate such as Fort Worth where the average overnight low is above freezing, you can expect the heat pump to handle most of the heating by itself. However, on the rare occasion that the temperature drops below freezing, supplemental heat takes over and ensures your home stays comfortable. The size of a supplemental heating system is based on the home’s heat loss (or the number of BTUs required for comfort) minus the heating capacity (or number of BTUs produced by the properly sized heat pump). The correct size of supplemental heat in this example is 10,000 BTUs (50,000 BTUs minus 40,000 BTUs).

To learn more about sizing heat pumps for your home, please contact AirRite Air Conditioning today. We have nearly 60 years of experience serving the Fort Worth/Arlington area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about sizing heat pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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