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Touchstone Heating & Air Inc. Blog

Yes, Your Heating System Can Be TOO Powerful!


This HVAC fact often comes as a surprise to people. After all, what’s wrong with having a heating system in your home that’s more powerful than necessary? True, it costs more to buy a more powerful system, but it means you can always have the extra heat boost when you need it, and when you don’t need it, you can just turn it down.

None of this actually works out, because furnaces and heat pumps don’t operate with a throttle where you ramp up and down how much thermal power the heater puts out. Aside from wasting money on getting a heater that’s too powerful for your house, an oversized heater will create other problems that will cost you in both money and comfort. 

Let’s take a closer look at why an oversized heating system is bad news for your home.

What “Oversized” Means

You might notice that we’ve used the term oversized to refer to a heater that’s too powerful. This isn’t because these heaters are physically too large, but because their heating capacity (which is measured in units called tons) is too large for the house. The average home will use a heater with between 2 to 10 tons of heating capacity, and if the heater’s tonnage is more than necessary, the heater is oversized. 

Why an Oversized Heater Is Trouble

When you turn on your heating system through the thermostat, you’re sending instructions for the heater to turn on and run until it reaches the set temperature. Changing the thermostat’s setting doesn’t make the heater work harder to push out more heat or push it out faster. What it does is change how long the heater runs. This is why you can’t choose to run an oversized heater at “lower” power—it runs at the same capacity no matter what you do to the thermostat

If a heater is oversized, it will raise the temperature at the center of the house so fast that the thermostat will register that the heating cycle is over, even though it’s only partially done. The thermostat shuts off the heater, and the house will quickly cool down, causing the thermostat to turn the heater back on a short time later. This is a situation called short-cycling, and it places enormous strain on the heating system. This extra stress will lead to early repairs and an early system failure. 

There are two other problems with short-cycling. First, because a heating system uses the most power at start-up, the rapid cycles will drain power and raise heating bills much higher. Second, the heater won’t run for long enough to heat up the whole house, leaving many rooms too cold.

Avoiding an Oversized Heater

The best way to get the right home heating in Wellborn, FL is to always work with experienced professionals like us. We take special care to measure the heat load of the house—how much heat it needs for ideal comfort—and then find a heating system with the appropriate tonnage to match. Getting your new heating system perfectly sized is an important part of our job!

Call Touchstone Heating and Air 24/7 for exceptional customer service! Serving the communities of North Central Florida since 1998.

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