One of the great ways to efficiently heat and cool your home is by owning a heat pump. Not only is a heat pump able to use energy to properly heat your home, but it can also use that same energy during the summertime to cool your home and use less energy than traditional HVAC systems.

Although heat pumps provide a great source of energy for heating and cooling your home, it’s important to pick out the right size unit. You want to make sure the unit you buy isn’t too small to do its job but also isn’t so big that you end up losing money in the investment. Before we delve into how you can figure out the type of unit you need, let’s go over how a heat pump works.How Many BTUs Do I Need to Run a Heat Pump?

Heat pumps don’t actually create hot air or cold air. Heat is always present, even in colder-feeling air. Heat pumps extract heat from the air and transfer that heat to another area. In hot temperatures, a heat pump will extra heat from indoors and push it out. Hot air is sucked into the ductwork with a fan and a compressor moves the refrigerant between the indoor evaporator and outdoor condensing unit. The hot or warm air is moved through an air handler with the refrigerant moving from the exterior condenser coil to the interior evaporator coil. The heat that is absorbed by the refrigerant causes the air to cool and flow through the ductwork of your home.

In cooler temperatures, the opposite occurs. The heat pump works in reverse using the outside coil as an evaporator and the indoor coil as a condenser. It extracts heat from the outside and transfers it inside. The refrigerant travels through a closed system and the heat pump produces heat using its furnace to push warm air through the ductwork.

Now that we’re familiar with the basic concept of a heat pump, let’s discuss a method you can use to figure out what size unit you need. It really comes down to the square footage of the home. The bigger your home, the more energy you will need to heat or cool it. This energy is measured in BTUs or British Thermal Units. The following chart lays out a solid mathematical method for figuring out what you need:


House Square Footage BTUs Needed
100 – 150 5,000
150 – 250 6,000
250 – 300 7,000
300 – 350 8,000
350 – 400 9,000
400 – 450 10,000
450 – 500 12,000
500 – 700 14,000
700 – 1,000 18,000
1,000 – 1,200 21,000
1,200 – 1,400 23,000
1,400 – 1,500 24,000
1,500 – 2,000 30,000
2,000 – 2,500 34,000

Ready to move up to a heat pump? Give us a call! We are your heat pump specialist in the Portland area.

Need to Know More?


Contact Us Today:

Chart by