When choosing appliances for your home, you know that precise measurements matter. Your cooking range sits snuggly between the countertops; your refrigerator is just the right height; and your dishwasher fits firmly out of sight. However, when it comes to your HVAC system, the same assumption cannot be made.
Load calculation: What is it and why does it matter?
HVAC load calculation determines the exact number of BTUs a space requires for sufficient heating and cooling. (BTUs stands for British Thermal Unit – a form of measurement that measures energy.) Basically, load calculation identifies the square footage of the room to determine the capacity—BTUs per hour—needed to reach the desired indoor temperature.
Because HVAC load calculations require time, effort and expertise, many HVAC contractors use ‘best guess’ estimates based on square footage of conditioned floor area. They use these estimates to determine what size of HVAC unit to install. While this sounds reliable enough, even houses of similar size can have vastly different heating and cooling needs.
Typically, contractors opt for a larger unit to compensate for the unknown. While bigger sounds better, this is ultimately more costly to install. And, because your system is not optimized for its surroundings, it turns on and off frequently (also called short cycling), resulting in a shorter lifespan of your equipment and less efficient energy use over time. Size also matters when it comes to tax credits and efficiency certifications. For example, the ENERGY STAR new homes program requires no more than 15% oversizing of cooling systems.
Precisely Front Range
At Front Range HVAC, we follow precise load calculation guidelines as defined by Manual J, a protocol developed by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). Manual J HVAC load calculations determine how much heating and cooling a house actually needs. We accurately enter all the relevant data, including the home’s orientation, insulation levels, window types, surface areas that gain or lose heat, and more. The resulting calculation determines how much cooling and heating the house needs at peak conditions for each room, each zone and the whole house.
Using the results from our room-by-room load calculation, we can then assess and select the best equipment, designing a system that performs at the maximum efficiency – saving you time and money in the short and long term.
Contact us today to schedule an HVAC load calculation for your home or office.