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What Size Heat Pump Do I Need for My Phoenix Home?

2019 Oct 02
Posted in: Air Conditioning

If you're in the market for a new heat pump, the good new is that a contractor will determine the size of heat pump you'll need.

The bad news is that sometimes contractors can get this wrong.

At best, a hasty contractor may mistakenly choose the wrong size because they’re making "short-cuts" in the sizing process. At worst, a contractor might purposely get a size larger than you need in order to get more money out of you. 

Either way, it's very important to get the right size heat pump, otherwise, you’ll end up spending a lot more money for less comfort. 

Below, we’ll look at heat pump sizing in more detail, so you can be sure you’re getting the right size pump for your home. 

We'll look at size factors like:

  • How heat pump size is measured
  • What a technician will assess to find the right-size heat pump
  • Why heat pump size matters

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How heat pumps are sized

Heat pump size is measured by something called “tonnage” (also called tons), which is essentially the amount of heat your pump can move in an hour. 

A heat pump works like a sponge. It uses a special substance called refrigerant to soak up heat from one area and then dump that heat into another area. For example, in the summer, refrigerant in your heat pump system absorbs heat from inside your home and dumps it outside. In the winter, refrigerant absorbs heat from the outside air then dumps that heat into your home to keep you warm.

On average, residential heat pumps range from 1-5 tons.

How to determine what size heat pump you need 

As we mentioned above, the only way to accurately determine what size heat pump you need for your home is to have a professional perform a load calculation.

A load calculation is essentially an assessment of how much heat your home loses in an hour, which determines how much tonnage is needed to properly heat your space.

During a load calculation, a technician will look at:

  • Number of windows
  • Climate
  • Number of people living in your home
  • Amount/quality of insulation
  • Size of your home
  • And more

Before installing a heat pump, you should ensure that the technician you’ve hired will perform a load calculation, so you know that you’re not investing money in a system that will break down or need to be replaced because it’s the wrong size.

Why heat pump size matters

Now that we’ve looked at how heat pumps are sized, let’s look at why it matters in the first place. 

Buying the “right-size” heat pump might not seem like a big deal, but it’s is extremely important if you want to:

  • Extend the lifespan of your heat pump
  • Prevent high energy bills
  • Prevent costly repairs or replacements

If your heat pump is too small…it will constantly struggle to heat your home. Because it will be overworked, an undersized system will likely result in:

  • Shortened system lifespan
  • Expensive repairs
  • Increased heating/cooling bills

If your heat pump is too big...it will heat your home quickly and then shut off, which is called short cycling. While this might seem like a positive thing, it can actually cause the same issues that a small heat pump can:

  • Shortened system lifespan
  • Increased energy bills
  • Expensive repairs

In addition, a heat pump that shuts off frequently won’t give warm air time to circulate properly, which can cause hot and cold spots around your home. 

Because heat pumps are a big financial investment and last a long time (10-15 years), it’s worth ensuring that you are installing a heat pump that’s sized to properly heat your home.

Ready to install a heat pump? Hire Phoenix’s best

You don't want to install a heat pump without an expert’s recommendation. That’s exactly what we’re here for. With years of experience serving Phoenix homeowners, you can trust us to accurately estimate what size heat pump is best for your home.

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