What Are HVAC Loads and Why Are They Important in St. Petersburg, FL?

When it comes to operating your HVAC system efficiently, it’s critical to have the right-sized system. Determining the proper size HVAC system for your St. Petersburg, FL home starts with an accurate HVAC load calculation. Discover what load calculations are, and why they’re so important before buying your system.

What Is an HVAC Load Calculation?

Before delving into what an HVAC load calculation is, let’s discuss what it’s not. A load calculation does not give you the size system you need for your home.

Rather, an HVAC load calculation is a mathematical exercise to understand how a home transfers heat. This looks at both how heat enters and escapes from your home. It also evaluates sources of heat from within your home, which affects how an HVAC system conditions your air.

Looking at all the variables that can impact heating and cooling, it would be easy for technicians to calculate load differently. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America, or ACCA, have developed the current standard calculation. Professionals know this as the Manual J calculation and have tools to help make it easier to crunch the numbers.

How Do You Calculate HVAC Loads?

The first thing the Manual J calculation considers is the size of the space you’re conditioning. You start with the square footage of your home, then multiply that by the ceiling height. This gives you the cubic footage you’re conditioning.

Next, the technician will evaluate your home’s insulation to make sure it’s up to par. Poor insulation, including any that’s damaged from a water leak, will allow more heat transfer.

The next thing technicians look at is the construction of your home. Specifically, they’ll look at the number of windows and exterior doors.

Finally, they’ll look at how you use your home. This includes how many people live there, plus any heat-generating appliances. Once they have all this information, they’ll plug the variables into the equation.

What to Do With a Load Calculation

Once you have the load calculation, your installer will have the information needed to help you find the best system. This will help you arrive at the right-size system you need to efficiently heat and cool your home.

However, it’ll help determine the best type of HVAC system for your home. In some homes, a ductless system may offer better efficiency than a central system. Each home is unique in the variables, so there’s never a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone.

Why Should You Bother Calculating Your System’s Load?

Without properly calculating your HVAC load, you’re only guessing at the size and style system you need. Determining the right system to install is how you keep your utility costs low and reduce the number of AC and heating repairs needed.

Getting an oversized system will raise your costs substantially. First, they cost more to install, so that’s an increased cost up front. However, they also cost more to run due to their size and tendency to short cycle.

Likewise, an undersized system leaves you uncomfortable in your home. It also causes long heating and cooling cycles, driving up your utility costs and shortening the system’s service life.

Is It Expensive to Calculate Your HVAC Load?

Your technician calculates the HVAC load, by gathering the right information. In fact, most companies include it as part of their evaluation to recommend the best system for your home. You benefit from the training and expertise of experienced professionals without having to pay for an extra service.

Before you invest in your next air conditioner or heater, make sure you get a proper load calculation. Call to schedule your new heating or air conditioning installation consultation with our experts at Pinellas Comfort Systems today. We offer professional heating and cooling services to the residents of St. Petersburg, FL.

Image provided by iStock

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