What Size Heat Pump Do I Need for My Home?

Use this guide to determine the size and capacity of the heat pump that is best suited for your home.

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Home Size

In order to find out the size of heat pump you need for your home, you’ll first need to measure the square footage of your home. Once you have that number, you can multiply it by 25 to get the approximate size of heat pump you’ll need in BTUs.

Square footage

A common question we get at Sinton is, “What size heat pump do I need for my home?” The answer to this question is not always straightforward, but we have some tips to help you select the best sized heat pump for your needs.

There are a few factors to consider when determine the square footage you need to heat and cool. The first is the layout of your home. If you have a open floor plan, you will have less walls and internal space to heat and cool, so you will need a smaller unit. If your home has many rooms or is spread out over multiple floors, you will need a larger unit to maintain comfortable temperatures throughout.

Another factor to consider is the climate you live in. If you live in an area with extreme temperatures, you will need a larger unit to compensate for the increased demand. Conversely, if you live in a mild climate, you can get away with a smaller unit.

Once you have considered these factors, use the chart below to find the recommended square footage for your needs.

Climate Zone Recommended Square Footage
Mild 500-1000 sq. ft.
Moderate 1001-2000 sq. ft.
Severe 2001-3000 sq. ft.

Number of rooms

The size of your home will play a big role in determining the size of the heat pump you need. In general, you will need a 1-ton heat pump for every 600 square feet of living space. So, if your home is 2,000 square feet, you will need a 3-ton heat pump.

Of course, this is just a general rule of thumb. There are other factors to consider, such as the number of rooms in your home, the type of insulation you have, the climate you live in, and your personal preferences.

Climate

Figuring out what size heat pump do you need for your home can be tough. There are a lot of factors to consider, such as the climate you live in, the size of your home, and your heating and cooling needs. But with a little research, you can find the perfect size heat pump for your home.

Average temperatures

To find out what size heat pump you need for your home, you’ll need to determine the average temperatures for both winter and summer in your area. Once you have that information, you can consult a chart that will tell you how many British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour your heat pump should be able to generate.

The average low temperature in winter is a good starting point for sizing your heat pump. You’ll also need to consider the average high temperature in summer, as that will tell you how much cooling capacity you’ll need from your heat pump. In general, a heat pump should be able to generate about 35 BTUs per square foot of living space in your home.

If you live in an area with very cold winters and hot summers, you may need a heat pump that can generate more BTUs per hour. For example, if the average low temperature in winter is -15 degrees Fahrenheit (-26 degrees Celsius), you’ll need a heat pump that can generate at least 500 BTUs per square foot of living space.

Temperature extremes

One of the biggest factor in deciding what size heat pump to buy is the climate. If you live in an area with extreme temperatures, you’ll need a heat pump that can handle those conditions.

The first thing to consider is the average high and low temperatures in your area. If you live in an area with very cold winters, you’ll need a heat pump that can operate in those conditions. The same is true for areas with very hot summers. You’ll need a heat pump that can cope with the high temperatures.

Another factor to consider is the number of heating and cooling days in your area. This is the number of days each year when the temperature falls below freezing or rises above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in an area with a lot of heating and cooling days, you’ll need a heat pump that can handle those conditions.

You should also consider the humidity levels in your area. High humidity levels can make it difficult for heat pumps to operate effectively. If you live in an area with high humidity, you’ll need a heat pump that can handle those conditions.

Energy Efficiency

A heat pump that is too large for your home will not operate as efficiently as one that is the right size. An oversized heat pump will cool or heat your home too quickly, resulting in longer “on” cycles. This means your heat pump will run less efficiently and cost you more to operate.

HSPF rating

HSPF, or heating seasonal performance factor, is a measure of a heat pump’s efficiency in converting electricity into heat during the winter. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sets a minimum HSPF rating of 6.8 for new heat pumps installed in the northern United States and 8.2 for those installed in the southern United States. The HSPF rating you see on a unit’s EnergyGuide label is an estimate of how many BTUs of heat the pump will generate for every watt-hour (Wh) of electricity it uses during an average heating season in your climate zone. For example, if a unit has an HSPF rating of 10, it should generate 10,000 BTUs of heat for every 1,000 Wh it uses over the course of a heating season.

SEER rating

The higher the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating, the more energy efficient the heat pump system. A 3-ton, 16 SEER heat pump system costs $1,500 to $2,000 more than a 14 SEER system but will save you $300 to $400 per year in utility bills, resulting in a payback period of five to seven years.

Every 1 SEER you add above 14 will save you approximately 6% in energy costs. So if your home is heated and cooled for an average of 1,500 hours each year and electricity costs $0.15 per kWh, here’s how much you can expect to save with different SEER ratings:

-16 SEER = $237
-17 SEER = $258
-18 SEER = $280
-19 SEER = $302
-20+ SEER = $325+

BTUs

A British Thermal Unit, or BTU, is a unit of measurement of energy. In regards to climate control and heating and cooling systems, a BTU is the amount of energy required to heat or cool one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Because water has a high specific heat compared to other substances, using it to measure energy is considered very accurate. One BTU is equivalent to 0.293 watt-hours or 1,055 joules.

British thermal units are commonly used in the United States in the heating and cooling industry for sizing residential and commercial HVAC systems, such as furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps. When shopping for a new heat pump for your home, you will be asked for the square footage of your home so that the dealer can help you determine how many BTUs per hour your system should be able to generate.

Tonnage

Heating and cooling capacity is measured in British Thermal Units per hour (BTU/h) or in “tons” in the US. A “ton” of refrigeration is equal to 12,000 BTU/h. Heat pumps are available in 1/2, 3/4, 1, 1-1/2, 2, and 2-1/2 ton models. The size you need depends on the square footage of your home, the number of rooms, your climate zone, local utility rates, and your insulation levels. A rule of thumb is that you will need 1 ton of capacity for every 400 to 600 square feet (37 to 56 m2) of living space. But be sure to consult a qualified HVAC contractor to determine the proper size for your home.