Every now and then when you feel your heating system struggle you might wonder if you have the appropriate furnace for your home. Or maybe you’re shopping for a brand new furnace and are trying to figure out how to pick the right furnace for your needs.
Either way, Big Mountain Heating & Air has your back. There are several factors that go into choosing the best furnace for your home. We want to share our knowledge with you so that you can be 100% satisfied with your heating system.
How Does Climate Affect Your Furnace?
The amount of energy required to heat your home is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). BTU input and output can vary because not every area of the country requires the same heating power for their home.
The climate that you live in is really important because it determines how much heat you’ll need during the coldest winter months. In Minnesota temperatures regularly fall below zero in the winter, whereas in Texas winter months don’t often drop below 32 degrees. Knowing your climate is essential to choosing the appropriate size and type of heating system that won’t be too small or too big for your needs.
Luckily, Big Mountain Air did the research and the climate in California ranges from Mediterranean to Desert. These climates require an average of 35 BTUs of energy per square foot to heat your home in the winter.
What Size Furnace Do You Need?
Now that you know how many BTUs per square foot your home requires, we can calculate the BTU requirement for your entire home. To help get the entire home’s requirements you’ll need the square footage of your home.
Usually you can look up the number in the original paperwork or lease, but if you don’t have access to those you can still get your home’s square footage – you just need a measuring tape! Multiply the length and width of each room in your home that has an air vent, and add it all together to get your total square footage.
Once you have the square feet, multiply it by the 35 BTUs required for your climate. For example, a 1,500 square foot home multiplied by 35 BTUs equals a required 52,500 BTUs to heat the home. This is called the BTU output needed for your new unit.
Is Your Furnace Efficient?
There are a few things you should be aware of that can affect the efficiency of your furnace.
The BTU output that you calculated above is only one half of the equation. Because most furnaces burn fuel, there is some waste of energy during the process. The efficiency ratings of furnaces are how well they burn the fuel and produce heat.
For example, if you need a BTU output of 52,000 for your new furnace, you should look at both the input and output of BTU when shopping. A 55,000 BTU input with an efficiency of 80% will only give you 44,000 BTU output. However, a 65,000 BTU input unit with 80% efficiency will give you 52,000 BTU output.
There are also different types of furnaces that burn different fuel sources. This can affect how efficient your system is depending on the availability of your chosen furnace type and it’s matching fuel source.
- Natural Gas – This fuel source is by far the most common for furnaces in the United States. It is the most inexpensive option for fuel sources for furnaces and can be as efficient as 98%! Unfortunately, it is not available in all areas of the country.
- Electricity – The second most common source, electricity is even higher in efficiency rating – some argue it could be considered 100% efficient. However, the price of electricity is far more than natural gas.
- Fuel Oil – Offered in areas like the NW United States where natural gas is not provided, oil does cost less to operate. However, the efficiency rating tops out at about 86%.
- Propane –Propane is the least used source, but it can be highly efficient.
Need Help Choosing A New Furnace?
If you have questions about the energy efficiency of your furnace or which furnace type you should invest in, feel free to contact our team. Big Mountain Heating & Air will be glad to help you out with whatever you need.