October 18, 2022
Ductless mini-split in Hanover, MD

Indoor comfort should be a priority for every property, no matter how large or small it is. While there are certainly plenty of options for keeping large homes and commercial buildings comfortable, the options for smaller buildings can look quite different. It’s important to understand these options when you’re planning to upgrade so that you find the option that’s most efficient and provides the most consistent comfort. Whether you’re just curious or you’re getting serious about upgrading your property’s HVAC system, here are some options that Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating likes to recommend.

Importance of Proper Sizing

Proper sizing of HVAC systems for the properties where they will be installed is of utmost importance. If a system is too large for a building, it will heat or cool it too quickly. This will result in short operation cycles, a condition that can cause excess wear and tear on the equipment. If a system is too small, it will have to work too hard to make a building comfortable. In most cases, this means that the system will have to run nearly nonstop just to maintain comfort. Both scenarios waste energy and put unnecessary strain on the equipment.

How a System Is Sized

To properly size an HVAC system for a particular building, a technician from Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating will take into account the cubic volume of the building. This means that the technician must take measurements of the length, width, and height of each room and combine these measurements to determine the type of equipment that would work best in a building. Then, a system is chosen based on standard industry measurements. An air conditioner is chosen based on its tonnage. This measures how much warm air a system can remove from a building in an hour. A furnace’s output is measured in British thermal units (BTU), with lower outputs more appropriate for smaller buildings.

Smaller Central Systems

One option for a smaller building is a smaller central system. These systems operate the same way that a larger central HVAC system does. The only difference is that the sizes of the furnace and air conditioner are smaller. For a house that’s 1,000 sq. ft., for example, an air conditioner that’s 1.5 tons is generally considered a good starting place. On the furnace side, Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating generally recommends about 45,000 BTU furnace for a 1,000 sq. ft. home. Of course, if a particular building has exceptionally tall ceilings, these recommendations can change to ensure the entire space is properly heated and cooled.

Ductless Mini-Split Systems

Another outstanding option for smaller areas is ductless mini-split systems. These are especially useful if the building doesn’t have existing ductwork or has multiple separate rooms that need to be at different temperatures. The indoor unit for a ductless mini-split system mounts on the wall in the room that needs to be heated and cooled. The other unit goes outside as it does in a central system. When the system is operating, a mini-split system sends conditioned air directly into the room. This results in exceptionally efficient heating and cooling. Another characteristic of these systems that contributes to efficiency is that these systems are small air-source heat pumps. Therefore, during the winter, you will notice low utility bills due to the way the system brings heat into your home.

Supplemental Systems

If you have an exceptionally small building to heat and cool, a supplemental system may help keep the building comfortable at a fraction of the cost. For example, a small space heater can provide temporary heating to a room that’s unusually cold. Window-unit or portable air conditioners can provide good cooling during the summer if you have a central HVAC system and don’t want to cool the entire building. It’s important to know that in small buildings, these supplemental systems will likely have a big impact on the temperature of the building as a whole. Therefore, Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating recommends considering a more permanent solution if you’re having to frequently rely on these supplemental options.

A Note About Ceiling Fans

Another consideration when adding a new HVAC system to a smaller space is the effect that ceiling fans can have on your home’s comfort. In larger properties, ceiling fans can change the perceived temperature somewhat, but not to a major degree. In smaller homes and businesses, though, a ceiling fan can, on some days, take the place of an HVAC system. Even in the winter, a fan can work in reverse to circulate warm air throughout a room. Given this temperature-changing potential, you may want to think about utilizing mini-split units in a smaller home and letting the ceiling fans do the rest of the work instead of opting for a central HVAC system.

Choosing the Best System for Your Property

Something else to think about as you choose a new HVAC system is the efficiency rating of the system. HVAC systems of the same size can have different efficiency ratings depending on how the system is made. Systems on the higher end of the efficiency spectrum can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the system compared to less efficient models. However, if you are in a small home with plans to upgrade or a small business space with plans to grow, investing in a highly efficient HVAC system may not be worth the cost. Systems with high-efficiency ratings tend to be far more expensive, meaning it takes many years to recoup the costs. That’s why Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating recommends taking an honest assessment of your future plans and factoring that in as you choose your new HVAC system.

Maintaining Whole-Building Comfort

In some cases, keeping a small building comfortable can be trickier than keeping a large building comfortable. In a large building, you may be able to utilize a multi-zone system to achieve the perfect temperature in every room. However, in a small building, this type of setup doesn’t usually make sense. To be sure, you can opt for multiple mini-split units so that each room has individual comfort control. However, if you don’t want to go to these lengths, there are a few other things you can do. First, consider installing a smart thermostat that has the option to add multiple remote temperature sensors. These sensors help the thermostat detect the temperature throughout the building so that the thermostat can optimize comfort levels at all times. Also, make sure to keep blinds closed in rooms that are directly exposed to the sun since a small building can warm up quickly and cause the HVAC system to work harder than it needs to.

Serving Properties of All Sizes

Whether your building is big or small, the pros at Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating can handle it all. We proudly install air conditioners, repair furnaces, and maintain heat pumps. We also offer duct cleaning, custom ductwork design, air purification equipment installation, and commercial HVAC services. Since our founding, we have been working hard to serve every customer with integrity and professionalism. This is why we’re able to maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. It’s also why our customers consistently leave us five-star reviews. To learn more about upgrading your HVAC system, contact us at Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating today.

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