When Looking for a New HVAC Consider these Standard Sizes
Whether you’re replacing an existing HVAC system or installing a new system, choosing the system that is right for your property is important. With multiple types of HVAC systems on the market, as well as several efficiency ratings to consider, this short guide will provide information about each type and what it covers to help you make an informed decision.
Types of HVAC Systems
HVAC is an acronym meaning “heating, ventilation and air conditioning.” All systems are designed to keep indoor environments comfortable year-round. Systems can run on gas, electric or a furnace. There are four general categories for HVAC systems:
- Cooling only split-system
- Ductless system
- Heat pump
Cooling Only Split-System
Ideal for residential or commercial buildings with minimal square footage, the cooling only split-system works with the use of a condensing unit that uses an outdoor condenser coil and compressor. Indoors, an air handling unit consists of a cooling coil and a supply air fan. Of all of the available HVAC units, the cooling only split-system has a top energy efficient rating (EEC).
Split systems are also available that provide both heating and cooling. On average, the cooling capacity ranges from 2.5kW to 7.1kW and 3.2 to 8.1kW heating capacity, depending on the manufacturer.
Ductless HVAC System Sizes
A mini-split ductless heating and cooling system is one of the easiest to install on either the ceiling or the wall. It is also one of the most reliable systems. The system consists of an indoor unit with a fan and coil, an outdoor compressor and a remote control. A mini-split ductless system provides high energy efficiency and superior heating and cooling comfort for a specific zone in the home using both an indoor and outdoor unit operated by remote control.
A multi-split indoor unit offers the same attributes of easy installation, energy efficiency and comfort. The difference between the two systems is a multi-split indoor ductless system can be expanded to cover up to five specific zones each connected to the one outdoor unit.
There’s also a multi-split outdoor unit that also allows the connection to a maximum of five individual zones to the outdoor unit as well as providing the flexibility of providing individual control of each of the five zones.
Depending on the type of ductless system chosen, cooling BTUH “British Thermal Units per Hour” ranges from 9,000 to 34,6000 with EER ratings of 8.2 to 14.2 and SEER ratings of 16.00 to 22.00.
Heat Pump Sizes
Unlike cool only systems, a heat pump works to provide both cooling and heating. The design of the heat pump allows the system to cool the interior via a special valve that keeps the interior cool during the warm months, and when the valve is reversed, the system warms the indoor air during colder months. The system generates heat and cold by pulling air from the outside or the ground. It is a reliable and energy efficient system.
Heat pumps come in a wide range of sizes. Depending on the manufacturer, for example, systems can range from 1.5 tons up to 5 tons with a cooling capacity (BTHU) from 17,600 to 56,000 BTHU. SEER ratings can range from 14.00 to 20.00 with the highest rating being the best. Another rating to check is the heating efficiency (HSPF) which varies from 8.2 to 10, depending on the manufacturer.
HVAC Packaged-System Sizes
A packaged system is an all-in-one unit providing both heating and cooling. There are four types available – heat pump, gas/electric, dual fuel and air conditioner systems.
The packaged heat pump is a versatile system providing cooling and heating and uses electricity as a backup option for providing heat. These systems range from 13.00 to 16.00 for SEER and 8.00 to 8.5 for HSPF.
The gas/electric system is a quiet and efficient system with all components housed in one cabinet. The gas electric system provides cooling as well as heating, supplied by a gas furnace. The SEER rating ranges from 13.2 to 16.6 and EER ratings of 12.00.
A dual fuel heating and cooling system is an eco-friendly option that consists of a dual-stage furnace and a high-efficiency heat pump contained in one cabinet. It is available in either single or two-stage heating and cooling. Units have a SEER rating of 14.25 to 16.00.
Like split systems, a dual fuel system may quality for a federal tax credit if the system is certified by Energy Star.
Air conditioner packaged systems consist of three parts – heat pump, air conditioner and a gas furnace. SEER ratings range from 13.00 to 15.00, EER ratings from 11.4 to 12, and tonnage from 2 to 5 tons. All of the components are assembled into one durable cabinet. With this type of system, homeowners can expect high-energy efficiency and superior cooling.
The following chart is an estimation for tonnage coverage based on the square footage of your property. You’ll also want to take into consideration the climate where your property is located to ensure you have appropriate tonnage to handle the varying temperatures in your area.
- 1.5 tons – 600 to 1100 square feet
- 2-tons – 901 to 1400 square feet
- 2.5-tons – 1201 to 1650 square feet
- 3 tons – 1501 to 2100 square feet
- 3.5 tons – 1801-2300 square feet
- 4 tons – 2101 to 2700 square feet
- 5 tons – 2401 to 3300 square feet
Before buying, do your research on the best type and size unit for your property. Purchasing a unit that is too large or too small for the square footage of your home or business is not energy efficient, which results in higher utility bills. Check the energy efficiency ratings on the label and whether the product is certified by Energy Star to ensure you buy the system that will work at maximum efficiency, year-round, and save you money throughout the lifespan of the system.