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Is a Heater With More Capacity Better?

Happy Family

I understand why the good folks out there looking for the best heating might think a bigger heater means better heating. I often think a bigger chew toy might be more fun, but then I find out I can’t drag around a plastic bone three times larger than my head! Getting a heater that’s got more capacity than your home needs can stick you with some serious problems. I’ll go over these with you below.

The problem in a nutshell

A system with too much capacity delivers less comfort and costs more to operate. That might not sound like it makes sense: If it has more capacity, how can it deliver less comfort than a smaller system? And why would it cost more to run if you can just turn it down?

Here’s the core of the problem: a heating system like a furnace is at its least efficient when it turns on. This is when the furnace draws on the most power to get going and heat the air. If the heating system is over-capacity—too large for the home—it will start running in shorter cycles where it turns on and off more frequently. This means plenty more energy drain during each of those start-up cycles. This is known as short-cycling, and you never want it to happen with your heater.

What about less comfort? If the heater is shutting down early, it won’t have time to spread heat around a house. Cutting in and out all the time never gives the heater the opportunity to finish its job, and the house will end up with cold spots.

Extra wear-and-tear means trouble

Turning on and off like this isn’t good for a heater in another way: it puts much more strain on the system so it wears down faster. What this means for you is a pocketbook that gets hit with more repairs than normal. Eventually, the heater will fail early. Believe me, there’s nothing more expensive than having to put in a new heater years before it’s time.

What is the right capacity for a new heater?

I may be a top-notch HVAC blogger dog, but even I don’t have the magic power to see through your computer screen to learn what type of house you live in and other important factors that go into matching a home with a heating system. The right capacity heater is different for every home, and this is one of the best reasons to call on top professionals in heating in Knoxville, TN when you’re ready for a new heater.

Our team is exceptional at sizing heating systems. When you call our technicians and tell them you need a new heater, they’ll come to your home and do a thorough load calculation. These measurements will find out how much heating your space needs. We’re meticulous about this process—no guesstimates! We use more than just the square footage of the house to make the calculation. We also consider the heat from appliances, the insulation, the number of windows, and the number of people in the house.

If you’re considering getting a new heater at the end of winter because your current one is over-the-hill, schedule an appointment with us.

Stay warm,