When HVAC contractors talk about load calculations, they’re referring to the way that HVAC systems are sized to fit the home. The exercise takes into account many aspects of your home that affect its energy efficiency.
They use Manual J software to complete the load calculation that requires details about:
- The home’s cubic footage
- Insulation levels in attic and walls
- Floorplan layout
- Number of windows, their size, position and energy efficiency
- Rate of air infiltration through the exterior
- Number of heat-producing appliances indoors
- Lighting styles
- Preferred temperatures
- Family size and ages
Once these measurements have been taken, the technician enters them into the software. The results provide the best size system for your home.
Why It’s Done
A system that’s too large or small will use more energy and won’t provide the same level of comfort. Those that are too small may have trouble keeping up with excessively hot or cold weather, especially in rooms further from the air handler.
A system that’s too large runs in short cycles. It turns on and off frequently, which drives up energy costs and stresses the equipment. In the summer, the system won’t run long enough to remove the excessive humidity, leaving you less comfortable. Oversized systems also break down more often and wear out faster.
Important Side Benefits
When the technician assesses your HVAC needs, you’ll learn exactly where its weaknesses are with regard to insulation, air leaks and windows. You can use that information to discover where to make improvements to attic insulation and seal air leaks around windows and exterior doors.
Both are inexpensive and durable improvements that could decrease your upfront costs and ongoing energy bills. If window replacements aren’t in the budget, you can use solar shades on south- and west-facing windows or install thermal drapes.
A load calculation is a valuable exercise to determine your HVAC needs and it’s the most important aspect of selecting a new system. For more information, contact CCAC, Inc., providing trusted HVAC services for Coastal Bend homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about your HVAC system, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 361-678-2495.
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