When it comes to Furnaces: Bigger isn’t always Better

Over time furnaces age, they begin to break down, and eventually they fail and need replacing. When that day comes for you, you might be tempted to look for a more powerful furnace thinking that it will heat your home more efficiently, or warm up your house more quickly. That’s normally not the case though. Unless your previous furnace was undersized for your home, getting a bigger and more powerful unit will likely cause more problems than it will help improve the comfort of your home. Below we explain the common issues an oversized furnace will cause, and why getting one is a bad idea.

Heat Distribution is More Uneven

Many people complain about one area of their home heating up more quickly than others, and sections of the house that are hotter than others. It’s a common issue that even people with well-balanced furnaces face. The issue becomes more dramatic with an oversized furnace though. Those slightly warm rooms will become uncomfortably warm. It’s also possible that rooms of your home will remain cold if your thermostat is located in a spot that heats up first.

It’s Less Efficient

Believe it or not, an oversized furnace will heat your home less efficiently than a perfectly sized unit would. That’s because a furnace doesn’t reach its peak efficiency levels until after it’s gone through the warmup phase. Unfortunately, a too-powerful furnace will very quickly push the temperature of the home to levels that satisfy your thermostat, and then shut off. When the temperature drops down again in your home, the furnace will kick on, heat up your space and shut off again. It doesn’t spend much time operating at peak efficiency, because it’s always in the warmup phase.

It Has a Shorter Lifespan

It’s not healthy for a furnace to cycle off and on too much. An oversized furnace does this much more frequently than the perfect sized unit. That often means that it will fail sooner than the right sized unit will. At the very least you will strain the unit’s heat exchanger and push it to the point where it needs repair or replacement. Not only that, but an oversized furnace will likely overheat as well which can damage important components.

Short Cycling is a Major Issue

Oversized furnaces are known for a problem called short cycling. This is when the furnace turns off too quickly for the house to even reach its proper temperature. This happens because the furnace is overheating. Since it’s too large for your home, it generates more heat than can be used up and that heat builds up during operation. Eventually, there is just too much heat, the unit reaches dangerous temperatures and its safety sensors shut it off to protect the components. You end up with a home that isn’t warming up properly for this reason, and your furnace can get damaged in the process as well. 

All of these reasons are exactly why it’s so important to work with an HVAC professional to help you find the perfect furnace size for your home. Spend the time to track down a quality unit that will work perfectly for your needs and you’ll enjoy a more comfortable space, lower heating bills and more reliable heating unit.

Looking for heating repair, service, or install near you?  Polar Bear Heating & Air has two convenient locations to bettter serve you.