Saturday, February 22, 2014

Calculate A Gas Furnace Size

Calculate a Gas Furnace Size

Finding the appropriate size furnace is important. A furnace that is too small won't be able to heat the area effectively, and a furnace that is too large will short-cycle, causing it to turn off and on more often, which will use unnecessary energy and cost you money. There is a fairly simple way to size a gas furnace. Though it is not 100 percent accurate, it will provide a helpful guide for purchasing one.


1. Determine the amount of output BTU (British Thermal Units) you need to heat the area; output BTU is a measure of the amount of heat the furnace produces. As a general rule, start with about 30 to 35 output BTUs per square foot; however, this can vary depending on climate and how well insulated the area is.

2. Now you need to know find the output BTU of a furnace. Generally, furnaces will have a list of product specifications. The trick is that many will list input BTU instead of output BTU to make it seem like they are better than they really are. Luckily, they are also required to list efficiency. So, if a furnace doesn't list its output BTU, locate its efficiency rating and its input BTU.

3. Multiply the furnace's input BTU by its efficiency. For example, if you were looking at a furnace specification list, and its listed efficiency is 85 percent, and its input BTU is 100,000. You would multiply 100,000 by .85 to get 85,000. This is the amount of output BTU the furnace has.

4. Compare the furnace's output BTU to the amount of BTU you need for the area. It is fine to have a difference of 10 to 15 percent, but any more than that and you will either be getting too large a furnace or too small a furnace.

Tips Warnings

Hiring a contractor will provide the most accurate furnace sizing information. Professional contractors have the tools necessary to take factors like insulation level into account when determining size.

Many furnace specification lists will simply say BTU. Make sure to check which BTU they mean by this as it will almost always be input BTU instead of output.

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