Properly sizing a heater is a very important part of installing a new heating system. Though homeowners almost never think about this when shopping for a new system, the size of the heater will drastically affect how well their home is actually heated. You may be tempted to think that the old adage “bigger is better” would apply here, but that is not the case. A heater that is too large can be just as bad for your home as a heater that is too small. Let’s take a look at what can happen if you ignore sizing during your heating installation.
Oversized heaters often waste a great deal of energy by putting out more heat than the home actually needs. This doesn’t seem like that much of a disadvantage, but the picture becomes clear when you consider specific systems like furnaces and boilers. Any combustion based system is equipped with what is called a “limit switch,” which is responsible for monitoring the central heater’s internal temperature. If that internal temperature gets too high, the limit switch activates and shuts down the system as a safety measure.
An oversized heater will naturally provoke the limit switch, due to its heat output being much higher than the limit the system is naturally set for. This causes the limit switch to shut down the system in order to stop what it reads as the heater overheating. Once the heater has cooled off a bit, it will start up again and provoke the limit switch to shut it down again. This endless on/off cycle is called “short-cycling,” and wastes a great deal of heat while shortening your system’s life.
Far from provoking the overheating safety measures, undersized heaters simply lack the ability to heat the entire home to a satisfactory degree. Instead, they will turn on and stay on for longer and longer periods of time, trying to reach the thermostat temperature when it is completely beyond them. This leads to early burnouts and breakdowns for the heater, as well as wasting quite a bit of energy.
If you’d like to know more, call Downtown Air & Heat. We provide heating services in Winter Park.