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

December 04, 2019

We wish we could tell you that the answer to this question is as simple as knowing the square footage of your home, but it’s not.

The only way to determine the size heat pump you need is to have a professional conduct a "load calculation.”

A load calculation is an assessment of your home, which determines how much heat a heat pump needs to transfer in or out of your home to properly heat or cool it.

But, just because you need a professional to perform a load calculation doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t know how heat pumps are sized and what a technician should be assessing when they come to your home to perform a load calculation.

So below, we’ll look at what a load calculation means in more detail as well as:

  • How heat pumps are sized in the first place
  • Why size matters (a lot)

Rather skip straight to having a professional assess your home and determine what size heat pump you need? Learn more about the heat pump installation services we offer or...

How heat pumps are sized

Heat pumps are measured in “tons”.

The higher the number of tons (tonnage) a heat pump has, the more heated or cool air it can produce.

So the tonnage of a heat pump measures the amount of heat a heat pump can transfer into your home (in heating mode) or the amount of heat it removes from your home (in cooling mode).

Typically, residential heat pump size ranges anywhere from 1 ton to 5 tons.

However, as we mentioned above, the size of heat pump you need for your home will need to be determined by a professional through an assessment called a load calculation, which we’ll look into in more detail, below.

What is a load calculation?

As we mentioned above, there are a lot of factors that go into determining what size heat pump you need...this is called a load calculation.

When performing a load calculation, a technician will look at:

  • The size (square footage) of your home
  • Climate your home is in
  • The orientation of your home (north-facing, east-facing, etc.)
  • Number of people living in your home
  • Quality and quantity of insulation
  • Number and type of doors
  • Number of windows
  • Type of construction
  • And more…

All of these factors determine the amount of heat a heat pump will need to produce to adequately heat or cool your home.

Why size matters

If you install a heat pump that’s undersized, it will run non-stop and still struggle to heat/cool your home, resulting in:

  • Shortened system lifespan
  • Increased energy bills
  • Discomfort in your home
  • More frequent repairs/breakdowns

On the other hand, if you install a heat pump that is too large for your home, it will turn on, heat/cool your home quickly and then shut off.

This rapid on/off pattern is called “short cycling,” and also causes issues like:

  • Increased energy bills
  • Shortened system lifespan
  • More frequent repairs/replacements
  • Discomfort in your home (air doesn’t have time to circulate before the system turns off)

Need a heat pump that’s sized precisely for your home? Hire the best in Phoenix: Patrick Riley

Whether you have already had a professional conduct a load calculation or you still need an accurate estimate from a technician, we are here to help. We have years of experience helping Phoenix homeowners find heating/cooling solutions that work for them, and we’d love to help you too!

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By Ty Lindsay

Ty Lindsay is the Director of Field Operations at Patrick Riley | Isley’s and a 15-year veteran of the plumbing and HVAC trades. In 2010, Ty earned his Journeyman’s plumbing license. He became a Master Plumber five years later and earned his Journeyman HVAC technician’s license that same year. Ty’s breadth of knowledge in plumbing and HVAC includes both residential and commercial work. He’s been a loyal member of the Patrick Riley | Isley’s team since 2016.