When it comes to purchasing a new HVAC system, you want to make sure you’re investing in the right size. The first step to determine the correct size is a proper HVAC load calculation. Discover what HVAC load calculations are and why they’re so important for your heating and air conditioning systems in Adel, GA.
What’s an HVAC Load Calculation?
Math is an essential part of how an HVAC system works, and a load calculation is simply a mathematical equation. This particular equation calculates how a home gains and loses heat aside from the HVAC system itself.
The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) created a standard calculation for HVAC system loads known as the Manual J calculation. This accounts for the home’s size, how it sits compared to the sun, its insulation and its air-tightness. The equation also considers the number of occupants, appliances and other heat sources.
Does a Load Calculation Tell Your HVAC Size?
An HVAC load calculation doesn’t tell you what size system you need, or at least not directly. Rather, it tells you how well your home transfers heat between the air outside and the air inside.
The more heat your home transfers, the more heating and cooling capacity you’ll need. Newer homes generally transfer less heat than older homes, meaning they typically require less capacity than similarly sized older homes.
How Your Home Loses Energy
There are three primary ways your home loses energy, and those are via conduction, convection and radiance. Conduction is the transfer of heat between heat and cold through a barrier. For instance, a warm house on a hot day transfers heat through a wall.
Convection transfers heat through the use of air. When your home allows air in from outside, it’ll either bring heat in with it, or it will take heat out. This is why how it’s important to seal your house to the best of your ability.
Radiance is the third way you lose energy, which is how much heat the sun transfers into your home. The amount of direct sunlight your home gets will affect how much radiant heat it absorbs.
Why Does Any of This Matter?
As mentioned previously, understanding how your home transfers heat helps you determine what kind of system you need. Having the right size system for your home ensures you’ll maintain the proper temperature while reducing what you pay.
Larger systems cost more to install than smaller ones, so installing an oversized system costs more up front. Further, whether it’s an oversized AC system or heater, it’ll shut down prematurely, leaving your home uncomfortable. It’ll go through constant short cycles, driving up your energy consumption and increasing heating and AC repairs.
An undersized system will likewise leave your home uncomfortable. It’ll also cost more to run, but this time because it’ll run longer cycles. In either case, you’re paying more for less comfort, which is simply a losing proposition.
Getting A New HVAC System
A furnace should last 15-20 years and a central air conditioner roughly 10-15 years, both with proper maintenance. That means that eventually you’ll need to replace your system to reliably heat and cool your home. One option some people use is simply replacing what they have, assuming it was the right size for your home.
However, there’s a lot that can happen over those years that may affect the load calculation. You may add space onto your home or change the landscaping and the shade it receives. You may add or lose occupants in your home.
Regardless of what factors change, you need to account for them to ensure you’re getting the right size. This is why it’s important to work with an HVAC installer who appreciates the value that a proper load calculation offers.
Make sure you’re getting advice from a team that understands the full science required to get the proper HVAC system. Call to schedule your heating or AC installation consultation with the experts at Waller Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ll perform the proper HVAC load calculations to ensure your system is the right size for your home and comfort needs.
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