Your Guide to Load Calculations: What Size HVAC System Do You Need?

The Secret to Picking an HVAC System

How much capacity does your heating and cooling system require to keep you comfy year round? Individual preferences aside, you don’t need to have an advanced degree to understand why your installer recommended one kind of heating system or central AC unit instead of another option. Here are a few simple load calculation tips that you might find useful.

What Are Load Calculations?

In the world of heating and cooling, a load is the amount of energy that you need to expend to get a given space or room to a specific comfort level. Load calculations take various factors into account to determine the necessary requirements.

Imagine that you’re installing an air conditioning unit for a bedroom. A smaller space will probably require less cooling than a larger one. Rooms that have outside-facing walls or windows that permit the passage of hot summer air might need more powerful cooling.

Other considerations also figure into your typical demand. It’s important to consider your usage habits, how well your building is sealed, the material condition of components like insulation and even local weather patterns.

Getting a Basic Feel for Your HVAC System Needs

Due to the massive number of variables involved in heating and cooling individual properties, there’s no simple formula for estimating demand. Instead, HVAC professionals perform room-by-room calculations to derive a more accurate understanding of what your property will need.

In addition to the previous factors, experts usually measure the physical sizes of individual rooms to determine how much air each space needs. They also look at seasonal differences on a room-by-room basis since areas that run too hot and demand constant AC in the summer may not need as much heating in the winter. With this information in mind, experts can design an appropriate duct system that will deliver the right volume of temperate air to specific zones and maintain stable, comfortable conditions.

The Importance of Accurate Calculations

Why not just overestimate by purchasing the biggest system that you can so that you’re always at the perfect temperature? On top of the fact that you’ll pay more for the equipment, this strategy will cost you extra money in the long run.

As the U.S. Department of Energy points out, oversized air conditioning units operate at subpar efficiency. Each climate control setup is optimally effective under precise conditions, so trying to use it for undersized spaces means that it will turn on and off in short bursts. This kind of cycling is extremely wasteful, and it can also cause undue wear and tear that leads to premature component failure.

Although the math can get a bit hairy at times, knowing what goes into choosing the right central AC unit makes you a far smarter consumer. To start applying your newfound knowledge, talk to an expert at AirNow Cooling & Heating.