Does My Home Need a Bigger Furnace?

Cold weather is beating down on us, and you’re likely glad that the central heating system in your home is working so well. Or are you. Perhaps it seems like it just doesn’t cut it like it used to. Could it be you need a larger furnace or heat pump for your home? Before you get carried away, consider the possibility that it simply needs to be checked out. We here at GAMA Air are big advocates of maintaining your home’s central heating and air conditioning units. They are a big investment, so they deserve to be well cared for. Click here for more information about our System Tune-up and Safety Check. Then give us a call at (310) 651-6936, or use our online form to schedule a visit.

There are other factors to consider. Weather patterns are changing. So it could be that the furnace used to be able to keep up, but now it can’t handle those record breaking low temperatures. Also, as systems age, they become less efficient. Of course a well maintained system will suffer less over time than one that is neglected. All the same, aging & wear and tear will take their toll. It could be that this is the last viable heating season for the system you’ve had for so long. If you’re planning on getting a new central heating system, there’s an important step that cannot be over emphasized. Chance are this step was not done when your unit was installed way back when: Have a Manual J Load Calculation performed. “A what??” you say. Don’t worry. It is much easier than the General Theory of Relativity.

What you need is to determine the correct size of heating and cooling systems for your specific house. That’s what a professional contractor will do to figure out what size system is just right for your house. Unfortunately, many HVAC contractors rely on general rules of thumb to determine what size of cooling and heating units to install. And in the case of a system change out, the easiest and least time-consuming method is replacing what you already have with an exact equivalent in heating and cooling load size. Performing HVAC load calculations require time and attention to detail and most contractors don’t bother. But just like no two thumbs are alike, neither are any two houses exactly the same. Even a house with the same floorplan and window layout as another but rotated 90 degrees could have a difference in its heating and cooling load of 25% or more. Also, your house may have changed in the last 10 or 15 years since your old units where put in.

That is exactly where "Manual J Calc" can help. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) developed a standard protocol called “Manual J” as a way to correctly determine the size of a cooling and heating system. Using these load calculations will correctly determine the actual heating and cooling needs of your unique home.

In the old days complicated calculations were done by engineers with pen, paper and a slide rule, which is why contractors came up with their own rules of thumb; and that’s better than nothing. However, now there are computer programs which can allow us to do the calculations even right in your home. First all relevant data must be collected: the home’s orientation, insulation levels, window types, areas of all the surfaces that gain or lose heat, to mention a few. Then a careful calculation is made to determine the cooling and heating needs of your home in terms of Btu per hour for each room and the house as a whole.

The professionals here at GAMA Air are trained to use the Manual J protocol. We want your new system to be precisely what your house in or around Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino needs, not what Joe Blow across the country needs. We can do more than just suggest high efficient equipment that is adequate for your home. We can also give you a room-by-room load calculation, and even offer suggestions to the duct system for maximum efficiency and comfort of your new system.

If you would like more information on how we can help you with your up-coming project to replace your heating and cooling system, please give us a call at  (310) 651-6936 or use our online form to request a free visit with no obligation.

Need to ask us a quick question? Visit our Ask an Expert page and post your question along with how we can reach you and our resident HVAC expert will reply quickly!

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