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Residential Heating and Air Conditioning Blog

What Does CFM Mean?

blue-question-markToday, we’re going to slow things down and get a little more technical. We pride ourselves on being the professionals that you can talk to. We make sure that all our technicians are not only knowledgeable but approachable. If you have a question, we want you to be able to ask anyone on our team about it and not feel confident that you’ll get a great answer. We’re the Bloomington HVAC contractor that you can rely on.

That’s why we’re talking things slower and making sure that we address some more technical terms today. There are a lot of terms thrown around in the industry that you might not understand. We get what it’s like to hear a term thrown around so many times with the assumption that you know what it is that you’re afraid to ask. This is why we’re going to define a common term today—CFM.

Why Is CFM Important?

CFM stands for Cubic Feet Per Minute. It’s a term that you’ll hear thrown around when someone is discussing airflow. It’s used to measure the volume of your airflow. This means the CFM itself is determined by how many cubic feet of air pass by a stationary point in one minute. You’ll notice that smaller homes have a lower CFM. This is because the space is smaller meaning that it circulates less air and has a lower CFM as a result.

How Is HVAC CFM Calculated?

So maybe you’re wondering why the CFM of a home needs to be calculated at all. Having an accurate estimate of your home’s CFM is integral when you’re trying to choose an HVAC system with the right capacity for your space. 

Why is capacity such a big issue? Too little or too much airflow is going to be an issue. Let’s say that you get an HVAC system with too little capacity, you’re going to have trouble ever getting your system to heat or cool your space properly. On the other hand, you might always think bigger is better, but having a system with an overflow of capacity can cause efficiency issues. You’re likely to run into issues with short cycling and short cycling has disastrous effects. You’ll wind up with a system that costs you more to perform poorly. You’re also going to decrease the lifespan of your system if you allow this to happen over time. 

How Many CFM Do I Need Per BTU?

Now let’s get down to calculations. How many CFM do you need per BTU?

The CFM you need per BTU depends on the type of unit we’re talking about (i.e. a furnace versus a central air conditioner) and the size of the space you want to temperature control. This is something that one of our team members would help you determine during a load calculation. It’s why we encourage our homeowners to get a professional involved even during the buying period when they’re looking for a new unit. If you’d like to calculate your home’s specific CFM needs, you can get in touch with one of our professionals today. 

Contact Residential Heating and Air Conditioning when you’re looking for high quality heating care in our area. Serving The Twin Cities Since 1991. 

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